KINGSPORT — Free Comic Book Day is Saturday. It’s an event I look forward to every year, and it’s something I always enjoy.
After all, it’s the one day of the year you can walk into a comic book shop and leave with a handful of free books.
If you want to enjoy Free Comic Book Day, here are a few things you have to know.
First, find a shop that’s participating. Locally, there are four stores to choose from:
— Dewayne’s World of Comics and Games in downtown Kingsport.
— Mountain Empire Comics in Bristol and Johnson City.
— Cavalier Comics in Wise.
Then, you’ll need to browse the selection of books that’s going to be available at www.freecomicbookday.com. Some of this year's titles include The Avengers, Spider-man, Riverdale, Stranger Things, Spawn, Pokemon, Dr. Who, Bob’s Burgers and Deadly Class.
Last — and most important — have fun on Saturday.
WHATEVER IT TAKES
Dewayne Chase, owner of Dewayne’s World, told me this past week he’ll have 35 Free Comic Book Day titles available on Saturday, approximately 100 to 150 copies of each. The superhero titles from Marvel and DC are the most popular, so expect to see more copies of these.
Independent titles and non-superhero books will be fewer and far between, so you might want to get there early to snag a copy of those. The store will open at 11 a.m., and if the past is any indication, folks will be lined up down the block waiting to get in.
The crowd usually dies down around 2 p.m. and Free Comic Book Day titles will be available all day long, or until they run out. If that’s the case, some leftover titles from last year might be available as well.
Don’t worry. You won’t leave empty-handed on Saturday.
“It’s the biggest day of the year for us,” Chase said. “It’s our Black Friday, so it should be huge.”
HISTORY BEHIND THE EVENT
Free Comic Book Day promotes the hobby of comics, reinforces the need to support local businesses, and gets kids to actually look at something other than their phone.
It began in 2002 and today is held worldwide on the first Saturday in May. The annual event was born out of an idea from Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California. Field proposed the idea in a column and believed such an event would help bring people into comic book stores and revitalize the struggling comic book industry.
Historically, Marvel and DC have been bitter rivals, but in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the mood of the country was decisively different. The Big Two companies, along with Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors all came together and agreed to try Field’s idea.
Free Comic Book Day often piggybacks on the release of a major motion picture, such as one of the Avengers, X-men or DC Comics movies. This year, the event takes place on May 4, a week after the release of the blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame.”
Each year 2,300 to 2,500 stores around the world participate in the event, with the highest number being in the United States. In a typical year, roughly 6 million free comics will be distributed to 2,600 stores, which reported 1.5 million people coming through their doors.
For more information, visit www.freecomicbookday.com.