Avengers. Doctor Who. Star Wars Adventures. The Tick. The Amazing Spider-Man. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Those are just some of the high-profile comics that local stores are giving out Saturday for Free Comic Book Day. And just as the name says, they’re all 100-percent free.
“There are 50 titles available for fans to pick from,” says Dan Manser, marketing director for Diamond Comic Distributors and spokesman for Free Comic Book Day. “By the time the event is all said and done, about 5 million comic books will have been given away.”
The national event shows that comics books are as popular as ever. Especially in Southwest Florida, where the booming comic culture has led to two new annual pop-culture events: SWFL SpaceCon and SW-FloridaCon.
“Comic books and graphic novels are considered hip, hot and smart,” says Brian Chandler, owner of Fort Myers comic shop Comics Cards And Stuff, in a press release announcing his Free Comic Book Day event. “The wide array of comic books being published today ensures that readers of all ages — children, teens, and adults – can find something appropriate that will stir their imaginations.”
Of course, the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — including its record-breaking new movie, “Avengers: Infinity War” — has made superheroes cool all across the world.
“It certainly helps with the recognition of the characters,” Manser says. “Anytime someone comes into a comic book shop, they’re always amazed by the number of stories being told about the characters they discovered only through the movies.
“I guess it’s OK to show your passion more now than ever. It’s OK to be a geek and show off what you love.”
More than 2,300 comic-book shops across North America are taking part in the 17th-annual event.
The Marvel comics, of course, are some of the most highly anticipated titles, Manser says. “Avengers, Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man all feature new writers and new storylines as a part of their fresh-start initiative. So there’s a lot of excitement there!”
MORE: Star Wars Day events in Southwest Florida this Friday
MORE: SpaceCon gets new Star Trek star, plus actors from Walking Dead, Daredevil
MORE: Fort Myers comic con to feature The Hulk, Walking Dead’s Father Gabriel
Another hot title: The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Special. “This comic ties in to the massive, ongoing and wildly popular Shattered Grid series,” Manser says. “And it serves as a jumping-on point for readers that may have missed the first few issues in the story arc.”
The free comics are only available while supplies last. Learn more about Free Comic Book Day at freecomicbookday.com.
Here are the official events happening Saturday in Southwest Florida:
Comics Cards and Stuff: The Fort Myers shop plans a large sale, raffles, charity auctions, giveaways, cosplayers dressed as superheroes and Stormtroopers, and appearances by Richard Rivera (writer/creator of the hot new “Stabbity Bunny” comic) and James Haick (writer and creator of the “Solar Flare” series and the new series “The Mall”). 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Comics Cards and Stuff in the Edison Park 8 plaza, 2215-J Winkler Ave., Fort Myers. 939-0878 or facebook.com/fortmyerscomics
Cool Comics and Games: This event will feature cosplayers, comic-book artist Lee Ferguson (who will be signing issue 4 of the Marvel comic “Legion,” which he penciled), game demos, Pokemon League gaming and more. Costumes are encouraged. Noon to 3 p.m. Free. Cool Comics and Games, 311 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral. 573-7468 or facebook.com/coolcomicsandgames
Hero Trader: This event includes a store-wide sale and meet-and-greet with renowned Marvel Comics artist Bob Layton of “Iron Man” fame. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. Hero Trader, 13251 McGregor Blvd., Unit 106, south Fort Myers. 219-6724 or herotrader.com
PopnComics: Expect free comics, a store-wide sale and a giveaway of tickets to SWFL SpaceCon. Noon to 8 p.m. Free. PopnComics, 1109 Tamiami Trail, Unit 4, Port Charlotte. 941-979-9143 or facebook.com/popncomics
House of Heroes Comics & Games: This event includes free comics and a store-wide sale. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free. House of Heroes Comics & Games, 2395 Tamiami Trail E., Naples. 285-1342 or facebook.com/HeroesLeagueNaples
Books-A-Million in Fort Myers: The Edison Mall store plans to give away free comics, but no other special activities are planned. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free. Books-A-Million in Edison Mall, 4125 Cleveland Ave., Suite 1200, Fort Myers. 931-1012
Books-A-Million in Port Charlotte: The store plans to give away free comics, but no other special activities are planned. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free. Books-A-Million, 1825 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. 941-629-0340
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