For comic book readers, one of the most anticipated times of the year is the first weekend of May. Not only does a big budget superhero film usually come out that weekend, that Saturday is also the annual Free Comic Book Day, falling on May 6 this year.
Many local retailers will have special guests and additional sales on Free Comic Book Day, which began in 2002 with the release of the original “Spider-Man” movie.
“We’ve been doing it since it began,” said Emil Novak, owner of Queen City Bookstore (3184 Main St.). “It’s come a long way. The first year I barely thought it was going to be anything special. We’d maybe be 10 percent busier, but little by little it got bigger. The movies have come together a lot since that time, and so has the industry.”
This year 50 different free titles are available on Free Comic Book Day. Some of the highlights include a special edition of “Wonder Woman” that retells her origin, a “Doctor Who” comic that brings together the four modern Doctors, and Scottie Young’s “I Hate Image” that parodies the independent comics line. The full lineup of comics and list of participating retailers are available on freecomicbookday.com.
Some stores are having additional promotions along with the free books. Queen City is extending Free Comic Book Day through May 7, along with additional free back stock and sales. Dave and Adam’s Williamsville store (8075 Sheridan Drive) will feature appearances by the Superhero Alliance and North Ridge groups, sketches by local artists and Lloyd Tacos. Gutter Pop Comics (1028 Elmwood Ave.) will have sales on regular books and local artists as well. Kenmore’s Collector’s Inn (3107 Delaware Ave.) will feature games, contests and sales.
We asked retailers which book they were most looking forward to on Free Comic Book Day.
“Secret Empire” #1, Marvel: “It started off originally when they revealed Cap was a member of Hydra, and that threw everybody off. Cap fought for World War II, and that was the last time we had a true villain. We had ‘Rat-zis’ all over the place, and now that you’ve made Cap become one of them, that was a little harsh for people. But if you think back to the 70s and the 80s, he was always dealing with wild stories.” – Emil Novak, Queen City Bookstore
Guy Delisle’s “Hostage,” Drawn & Quarterly: “(He’s) a French cartoonist. I’m especially excited about that. He’s normally an autobiographical travelogue artist. He writes about his experiences abroad, but (‘Hostage’) is his first book that’s not about him. It’s about this journalist held hostage so this is his first time doing comics journalism. The Free Comic Book Day tie-in is an excerpt from the novel.” – Stephen Floyd, owner of Gutter Pop Fanzine, Buffalo
“DC Super Hero Girls: Summer Olympus” preview, DC: “As crazy as it might sound, I’m most looking forward to this. There’s been a pretty big increase in female readership in comics. It’s one of all-ages comics, so you can be a little girl reading this and still be safe. It’s got quite a bit of popularity because of the show and the toys. For me personally, because I’m one of the only females in the comic book business in this area, I take a great deal of pride in being able to offer a book that’s targeted toward little girls. Maybe there’s a little girl who’s going to come in and get her very first of many comic books in her future.” – Virginia Carrigan, comic book and toy specialist for Dave and Adam’s
“Rick and Morty,” Oni Press: “It’s basically a modern, twisted ‘Back to the Future.’ The comic sells out for us every month, so this one is sure to go.” – Jay Berent, owner of Pulp 716 (45 East Ave., Lockport)