“Free Comic Book Day” sounds self-explanatory, but the name doesn’t even hint at the range of events happening this Saturday.
Expect a carnival atmosphere, said Jamie Newbold, whose Southern California Comics in Kearny Mesa will host more than a dozen artists, writers and actors.
“I had to turn away a hot dog cart and a bouncy house,” said Newbold, who will start handing out thousands of free volumes at 10 a.m. “We have people lining up as early as 8:30 or 9, like this is Disneyland.”
Held annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is organized by Diamond Comic Distributors. Dealers across the nation — including at least a dozen in San Diego County — buy specially-produced issues to give away. At many shops, these new titles are augmented with selected copies of older comics that are donated to the cause.
Many of the titles, like this year’s “DC Super Hero Girls” and “Angel’s Street Dog,” are aimed at introducing young readers, hoping they’ll develop the comic book habit. Vendors like Oceanside’s Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar also hope the event will attract adults who haven’t picked up a copy of “Batman” or “Archie” in decades.
“We’ll have huge discounts on a lot of our trade paperbacks, graphic novels and comics,” said co-owner Aris Lavranos. “And we have a list of 20 free titles.”
Panels is partnering with one of its Mission Avenue neighbors: the Oceanside Public Library, which will host separate competitions for costumes and storyboarding, the use of sequential sketches to tell a tale.
Comickaze’s Liberty Station branch will host a demonstration of an online game, “Reign of Cthulu,” inspired by the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
The 17th annual Free Comics Day, it may be the busiest.
“We’ll have about 2,000 people,” said Newbold. “We have boxes and boxes of stuff. We’ll have a lot of artists out here to talk to people.”
They’ll be there, rain or shine. While sunshine is preferred, May showers fell on San Diego’s last two Free Comic Book Days.
“We’ll have a shave ice truck,” Newbold said, “so I’m hoping it will be a hot day.”
Participating stores can be found at www.comicshoplocator.com/StoreLocator.