More than 2,300 comic book shops – including five in the Valley – will participate in the 2016 Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 7, giving out more than 6 million comic books as part of the annual event.
Free Comic Book Day is good time for newcomers and comic book fans to discover new titles that debut.
Dave Allread, owner of Heroes Comics at 110 E. Shaw Ave. in Fresno, has 900 more comic books to hand out this year than last year, bringing his overall total to 3,400 free comics.
“This year they did a free comic for ‘Civil War,’ ‘Captain America’ and ‘Suicide Squad,’ so we went really heavy with those,” Allread says. He was also impressed with the comics aimed at young readers, including “Pink Panther” and the “DC Super Hero Girls.”
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The shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 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 36 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.
Joining the excitement this year is Fresno’s newest local comic book shop, Legends Comics and Games at 639 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 173, in the outdoor courtyard at Fashion Fair Mall. Store owner Darrick Oyama promises a big event that includes small prizes and raffles throughout the day. With a total of 900 comic books to hand out, customers will be limited to two free comics.
The stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oyama suggests those looking for comics should arrive early. He was unaware of the mall’s policy for standing in line. Fashion Fair could not be reached to comment.
Free Comic Book Day was started as a way to promote the medium to new customers and to celebrate independent comic book retailers and their stores. It’s one of the largest contributing factors to the sales of print comic books over the past five years.
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 potential 50 free selections this year will be “Archie,” “Bongo,” “Civil War II,” “Doctor Who,” “ Rom,” “Suicide Squad,” “DC Super Hero Girls,” “Captain America” and “Serenity.” Remember, you may have to make several stops as stores will carry different titles.
You can find a list of the Free Comic Book Day comics and find participating comic shops at www.freecomicbookday.com.
For 12 of the previous 14 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 “Captain America: Civil War.” Previous events have been on the same weekend as the openings of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2, “ “X2, “ “Iron Man” and “Thor.”
This is a big summer for comic book movies with “Suicide Squad” and “X-Men Apocalypse” also set to open.
Free comics are available while supplies last.
Participating shops outside Fresno
▪ Collectors Choice (1500 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia): Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Raffles and grab bags planned.
▪ DJ’s Collectible Shoppe (214 N. Irwin St., Hanford): Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Featuring appearances by the Star Wars 501st group, artists, writers plus special sales on comics.
▪ Red Sky Comics (617 W. Main St. in Merced): Open noon-6 p.m. Planning special events.