Monday, April 30, 2012

Comic book lovers to enjoy Free Comic Book Day this Saturday

By Nick Williams

Saturday will mark the 11th edition of Free Comic Book Day, an international event in which comic stores around the globe give away selected publications for free.

Since its creation, Free Comic Book Day has been held on the first Saturday of May each year.

The Manatee County Public Library system will distribute 1,500 comic books on Saturday at four locations between 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Young children and teenagers are allowed one comic each at any of four libraries, which are the Braden River Branch located at 4915 53rd Ave. in Bradenton, the Rocky Bluff Library located at 6750 U.S. Highway 301 North in Ellenton, the South Manatee Branch Library at 6081 26th St. West in Bradenton and the Central Library located at 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. in Bradenton.

Last year, The Comic Shack in Bradenton welcomed 400 visitors to its store located at 5602 14th Street West and a similar turnout is expected on Saturday.

"Its the biggest PR day of the year for comics," said Mark Wolfking, senior partner of The Comic Shack.

Between 30 and 40 titles will be available for free, Wolfking said.

"It's about people that love comics and maybe didn't know about the store," he said. "It's our way to say thank you to our customers."

Eleven years later, the event's founder, Joe Field (photo), is amazed by the global appeal.

 “There are almost 50 countries involved,” said Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Ca. “This is almost a worldwide event.”

Field brainstormed the idea to inspire new readers, reconnect former readers and reward all comic readers.

“The words tell a part of the story, the pictures tell another and the reader fills the blanks in the panels,” he said. “It’s an intimate experience.”

Last year, the day attracted 1 million visitors to comic stores around the world and roughly 30 million comic books have been given away since its inception, Field said. This year, 3.5 million comic books have been pre-ordered for the event.

“To a lot of people, it has a holiday feel to it,” Field said.
Field is expecting hundreds at his store on Saturday, which will include authors and illustrators Zach Weiner, Eric Jones, Landry Walker and Georges Jeanty.
"It keeps growing every year," he said.
For more information on Free Comic Book Day and to locate comic shops in the area that will be participating, visit or For more information about the county library system, visit

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