Attendees pose in their costumes at the 2012 Halloween ComicFest. Credit: Courtesy of Deborah Moreland

Attendees pose in their costumes at the 2012 Halloween ComicFest.
Credit: Courtesy of Deborah Moreland

No need to dress as a comic book hero to have your own epic adventure this Halloween.

Five Columbus comic shops are set to participate in this year’s Halloween ComicFest, a Halloween-themed comic book giveaway.

“It’s a celebration of comics and Halloween combined,” said Deborah Moreland, public relations and marketing associate for Diamond Comic Distributors, a coordinator for the second annual Halloween ComicFest.

Halloween ComicFest is an event at which participating comic book specialty shops across North America celebrate the Halloween season by giving away comic books free to anyone who comes into their shops, according to a press release.

The local comic book shops participating in the Halloween ComicFest giveaway are Comic Town, located at 1249 Morse Road, World’s Greatest Comics, 5858 Westerville Road in Westerville, Packrat Comics, 3864 Lattimer St. in Hilliard, Laughing Ogre Comics, 4258 N. High St. and Moore Comics, 5505 Westerville Road in Westerville.

The giveaway features 22 Halloween-themed comic books, including new stories and reprints of older comics from publishers like DC Comics and Marvel Comics.

“The DC one I find most interesting is issue one of ‘Batman: The Long Halloween,’” said Ryan Seymore, owner and general manager of Comic Town. “It’s a murder mystery that has kind of a horror theme.”

Seymore said some of his favorites among the original stories include “Disenchanted,” which tells the story of an evil fairy kingdom, and “Vamplets,” which Seymore described as a horror-themed “My Little Pony.”

While Halloween ComicFest is scheduled from Saturday through Sunday nationwide, some of the Columbus comic book stores are celebrating on different days and having their own promotions to go along with the giveaway.

Comic Town is having its promotion Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and intends to pass out candy as well as the comic books. The store is also set to hold a costume contest, Seymore said, and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the store.

Laughing Ogre Comics plans to celebrate Halloween ComicFest Nov. 2. They plan to have a canned food drive along with appearances from the Heroes Alliance, a non-profit organization consisting of people who dress up as Comic book heroes for children-oriented charities, and a performance by local kids band, Shazzbots.

“It’s looking like almost a second Free Comic Book Day,” Jeff Stang, store manager for Laughing Ogre Comics, said, comparing Halloween ComicFest to the first Saturday in May, where comic book shops give away free comic books.

Packrat Comics is doing the promotion on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and it will have a haunted house, activities, such as pumpkin carvings, and its own costume contest. Packrat comics will also have “The Great Pumpkin” pumpkin patch, based off of the Peanuts’ “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” in which families can take pictures with the Peanuts gang according to the store’s owner, Jamie Colegrove.

Besides the comic book giveaway, Moreland said Halloween ComicFest is running an online costume contest. At participating comic book shops, contestants can get an Itty Bitty Hellboy button. They can then put the pin on their costume, take a picture of themselves wearing it and submit it online. Two winners will receive a $500 shopping spree to the comic book store of their choice and 10 more randomly selected winner will receive $100 shopping sprees.

According to Moreland, more than 1 million Halloween comics have been distributed to stores as part of the giveaway, which will occur in more than 1,400 stores across the United States and Canada.