Comic book lovers — and those who think they might be — can look forward to a big giveaway Saturday. In fact, it’s the biggest giveaway in the business.
Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 when comic book store owner Joe Fields noticed ice cream shop Baskin-Robbins had a Free Scoop Day to generate interest in the product and introduce the product to those who hadn’t tried it.
“He decided to figure out a way to translate that to his store,” Kathleen Miller, owner of Comic World in Huntington. “He got to talking with other store owners close to him and they started it.”
Since 2002, Miller’s store, at 1204 Fourth Ave., has particpated in every Free Comic Book Day. She said Diamond Comic Distributors sells the free comics to retailers.
“That’s why you’re limited to one or two free comics,” Miller said.
She said very specific comics are printed to be distributed free each year and particpating stores are required to be a certain number and type of books; Comic World typically purchases more than the requirement and if not all are distributed, the remainder is eventually given to schools to give away as prizes in festivals and competitions.
In Ashland, The Treasure Chest at the Kyova Mall sells comic books, but owner Carl Felty said his store does not participate in Free Comic Book Day. He said his store, which focuses more on toys, does not have a deal with Diamond.
“Last year, we gave away 700 or 800 comics,” Miller said.
She said she chose to have her store participate for several reasons.
“It’s a great way for kids and people who have never read a comic to come and get one for free and sample it and not have to feel pressure,” she said. “A lot of kids haven’t seen comics before and it’s exciting for them.”
The free comics will be geared toward a variety of ages: some will be for children, like Hello Kitty and Spongebob Square Pants; some will be for older children, like New 52 Future’s End and Avatar; some will be more adult in theme.
She said Marvel’s contribution will tie in with an upcoming movie.
In addition to giving away comic books on Saturday, Comic World also will have a costume contest and have back issues on sale. The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Miller said, noting some people even like to collect the comics that are given away free and have collections that date to 2002.
“So many people these days see the movies but don’t even think about the comics,” Miller said.
“Plus, it’s another great way to get kids to read.”
Since Free Comic Book Day began, more than 27 million comics have been distributed to nearly 8 million readers and this year, participants expect to give away 4.6 million comics.
To see all 60 free Comic Book Day comics or a list of participating shops, visit freecomicbookday.com.
LEE WARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2661.