Courtesy of MCT
As more and more superheroes find their way to the big screen, it seems the comic books of their origin are losing popularity. For those who remain die-hard fans of the medium, there is still one day a year dedicated to the pastime they love.
Free Comic Book Day comes around every year on the first Saturday of May. Comic book stores across the country celebrate the occasion by handing out free comics to all who come through their doors.
This Saturday, local comic book store The Laughing Ogre, located at 4258 N. High St. in Clintonville, will be joining in on the celebration.
Jeff Stang, store manager of The Laughing Ogre, said that the store has been involved in Free Comic Book Day since its beginning in 2002. In the past the store tried to make it a special event that can draw people in even if they aren’t normally comic book fans.
“We have face painters here,” Stang said. “In years past we’ve had people dress up in superhero costumes and stuff.”
Free Comic Book Day doesn’t mean customers simply come in and grab any comic book they like. Stang said publishers tend to release comic books every year specially made for distribution on Free Comic Book Day. This year, fans can receive comics featuring characters including Spider-Man, Thor and The Green Lantern.
Joe Field, president of the Comics Professional Retail Organization, is the founder of Free Comic Book Day. He first came up with the idea in a column he wrote in 2001.
Field said in an email that while he runs national operations for Free Comic Book Day, actual activities are up to the individual retailers.
“Every retailer customizes their own FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) event to the amount of effort and care they put into it,” he said. “Some prefer to simply give out the free comics, while others make a stronger effort to make FCBD something spectacular.”
Field said Free Comic Book Day is intended to thank loyal comic book readers for their support as well as introduce people to comic books who may not be familiar with them.
“I’ve been a regular reader of comics since 1967,” he said in an email. “In those 44 years since, comics have entertained me, educated me and enthralled me.”
Field said he believes comic books can create something special with the right mixture of elements.
“The best comics deftly combine amazing art and prose to make a very singular and unique reading experience,” he said.
Stang said many comic book readers stay attached because it’s something they’ve been involved with since childhood.
“For the older ones, it’s stuff that they’ve grown up reading,” Stang said. “It’s been part of their lives since they can remember. It’s something that they always seem to look forward to.”
Rahul Krishnan, a first-year in philosophy at Ohio State, said he’s only read a comic book once or twice. While he isn’t a very big fan, he knows a few people that are.
“I would certainly pass the word (of the event) on to my roommates,” he said. “Some of them are into that.”
Krishnan also said to comic book fans, reading comics can be as involving as any other entertainment.
“It has a lot of the same aspects as movies and stories,” he said. “It’s a type of escape.”