Today we bring you a post written by one of FFC’s dads-Amy Q’s husband, Rodney. Rodney grew up reading comic books and took a moment to share how important they were to his childhood, how they created a lifelong love of reading, and what Free Comic Book day means to his family now that he’s a “grown up” with kids of his own.
When it comes to family friendly entertainment, I feel like comics really do deserve a little more credit than they get. Sure, comic book heroes like Batman and Iron Man are big business at the box office these days, but the books themselves are a wonderful way to get kids hooked on reading. The fantastic characters in them ignite creativity and imagination, and many comics feature meaningful plots and characters that are more than just two-dimensional caricatures (ironically enough). Depending on the title, they may even teach kids a few moral lessons (hey – they aren’t called super heroes for nothing, right?). The level of quality and respect for children’s intelligence is refreshing compared to some of the insipid offerings for kids in other media, and kids really do recognize and appreciate that comics do not talk down to them.
One of my most vivid memories of childhood is sitting outside on our porch, mesmerized by a milk crate full of old Marvel comics that my mother had bought for me at a yard sale. From the vivid colors to the larger than life heroes, I loved everything about those books, and they definitely were the spark that ignited the love for reading that I still harbor today.
Now that I’m a parent, it has been a real joy for me to pass along my love of comics to our boys, and I’ve found that the very best day to do that is on Free Comic Book Day!
Since its inception in 2002, Free Comic Book Day has been nationally celebrated on the first Saturday in May (May 4th this year) and has been the highlight of every year for comic fan and retailer alike. Just like the name would imply, this is an event where comic book shops across the country will be giving away a multitude of comics 100% free of charge!
So here’s how it works: all of the major comic publishers commission special edition issues of some of their most popular titles and provide them in bulk to comic stores to distribute freely. The idea is that this gesture will spark new interest in old readers, usher in new readers, and give something back to those who already are comic book loyalists. It makes sense for everyone involved and really is a grand celebration of comics (and reading, really) as an entertainment medium.
If you’d like to see what’s being offered this year, you can find a full list on the Free Comic Book Day website (www.freecomicbookday.com). Just as in years past, there is an enormous variety of titles to choose from, from Sesame Street to the Walking Dead. Over 50 unique issues are being given away this year, with some of hottest for kids including Star Wars, Superman (just in time before Man of Steel hits theaters, I might add!), and Disney Fairies. Note that most of the selections are kid friendly, but you may also come across a few that are geared toward adult audiences like the aforementioned Walking Dead, so be sure to keep that in mind while making selections with your children. If you’re not sure which ones are questionable, it should be fairly easy to find a knowledgeable clerk (or even a nearby comic geek) who can provide some guidance.
Not every comic book store recognizes Free Comic Book Day, but since it is the most high profile comic event of the year, most of them do, and do it right. Many of them take the opportunity to hold blow-out sales on all of their back issue comics and even some of their other products to capitalize on the surge of enthusiastic new customers. If the past is any indication, it is very feasible to expect a variety of top notch titles like Spider-Man and X-Men going for a dollar or less per issue! Additionally, in the past we’ve seen comic shops take it up a notch in other ways, such as having costumed characters onsite for photo opportunities or even inviting some local comic book writers and artists to make an appearance for autograph signings.
If you’d like to know where you can find a participating outlet, the Free Comic Book Day website features a very handy search tool to locate the nearest location (http://www.freecomicbookday.com/StoreLocator), but I highly recommend also checking with shops directly by phone or website to compare what special events they have planned. I would also mention that some venues may enforce a limit as to the number of comics each person can take, so you may want to take that into account if you plan on picking up a good portion of them.
Our family has loved Free Comic Book Day for years, and we’ve developed a family tradition of going to our local comic shop early on Free Comic Book Day, picking up a fat stack of books, and enjoying a lunch out while flipping through pages and sharing the coolest scenes from our comic book spoils. For cheap family entertainment, it really doesn’t get any better than this, and who knows – you might end up hooked on a comic series yourself!
To get in on the Free Comic Book fun check out the following local comic book stores and pick up a comic or two with your kids on May 4!
7130 Turfway Road
Florence, KY, 41042
627 Monmouth Street
Newport, KY, 41071
4016 Harrison Ave
Cincinnati, OH, 45211
2105 Beechmont Ave.
Cincinnati, OH, 45230
5000 Glenway Ave
Cincinnati, OH, 45238