The annual Free Comic Book Day has always been hectic for Dave Allread, owner of Fresno’s Heroes Comics. This year promises to be even more of a crush for the event, which is Saturday, May 2.
If you are looking to pick up a free copy of comics like “Bob’s Burger,” “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” and “Savage Dragon,” Heroes, at 110 E. Shaw Ave., will be the only place in Fresno to go. Other shops have either elected not to participate or have gone out of business since last year’s event.
“We will start at 10 a.m. but I expect all the comics to be gone by 1 p.m.,” Allread says.
The shop will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with special events planned such as an appearance by local comic artist Derek Fridolfs.
Since the inception of Free Comic Book Day in 2002, more than 31 million comic books have been given away. There are 50 titles this year and while shops will carry multiple titles, not all will be available.
Free Comic Book Day was started as a way to promote the medium to new customers — young and old — and celebrate independent comic book retailers and their stores.
Free Comic Book Day is one of the largest contributing factors to the sales of print comic books over the past five years. Sales of print comics were up at least 4% across the country in 2014.
“We are extremely excited about the quality and diversity of all 50 free comics that will provide comic book fans a great opportunity to discover original and revamped stories for free, which can open up a diverse world of comics to them as they enjoy these stories for the first time,” says Deborah Moreland, Free Comic Book Day spokeswoman.
The term “free” doesn’t mean every comic book in the shop is up for grabs. The books given away are special printings that feature a wide range of subjects.
Among the free selections this year will be books based on Marvel’s Secret Wars, Fight Club, Doctor Who, SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Tick, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog and Rabbids.
You can find a list of the Free Comic Book Day comics and find participating comic shops near you at www.freecomicbookday.com .
For 11 of the previous 13 Free Comic Book Days, the event has coincided with the launch of the summer movie season featuring a comic-book-inspired film. That trend continues this year with “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Previous events have been on the same weekend for the opening of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “X2, “ “Iron Man” and “Thor.”
This is a big summer for comic book movies with “Ant-Man” and “The Fantastic Four” also set to open.
As to participating shops outside Fresno:
• Collectors Choice,1500 S. Mooney Blvd.
in Visalia,, will give away the free comics from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•D J’s Collectible Shoppe
,209 N. Douty St. in Hanford
opens at 9:30 a.m. and will feature an appearance by the Star Wars 501st group plus special sales on comics.
•Red Sky Comics
,617 W. Main St.
in Merced, will have comics and special events. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Free comics are available while supplies last.