Back in the Golden Age of comic books (around 1940 to the mid ‘50s), comic books were mainly geared toward children. Little boys would save up their rainy day pennies and forgo an ice cream pop or new toy just to read Superman’s latest exploits. Thanks to more mature storylines and the rise of superhero movies, the comic book market eventually crossed age and gender lines.
Though even football jocks and high-powered CEOs lined up for the premieres of the circa-1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films and the Batman franchise starring Michael Keaton, comic books still weren’t reaching broad audiences.
In 2002, a California comic book retailer had the brilliant idea of hosting a Free Comic Book Day to coordinate with the opening of the latest Spider-Man flick and draw moviegoers into reading comics. The event took off – after all, who doesn’t appreciate freebies? – and by 2015 more than 2,400 shops nationwide were participating in the giveaway.
This year’s Free Comic Book Day will be held Saturday, May 7, with Tempe’s Ash Avenue Comics and Drawn to Comics in Glendale among participating Valley retailers. Shops don’t actually get the comics free; they have to pay a small fee per book ordered. The books are then given away gratis to in-store visitors, with individual stores deciding which featured comics to offer. This year’s Gold and Silver lineup includes a few expected titles, like an Attack on Titan anthology and DC’s Suicide Squad #1 (just in time for the upcoming film), plus updated takes on Archie, The Tick and The Pink Panther. There’s even a Bob’s Burgers comic for fans of the Fox TV animated series.
Want to up your “geek cred” or revisit a childhood hobby? Visit one of these Valley locations for discounted merchandise specials and superhero themed events on Free Comic Book Day (May 7).
At Drawn to Comics in Glendale, specials include 50-cent comics and 25 percent off regular comics at the main location.
All About Books and Comics in Phoenix is offering one free comic to every visitor, or 5 free comics with a $5 purchase or donation to Hospice of the Valley.
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