DeKALB – Comic-book enthusiasts love the first Saturday in May.
Since 2002, that day – this year its May 4 – has been designated as Free Comic Book Day. It's perhaps the most important day of the year for comic book stores, said Charles Fischer, manager of Graham Crackers Comics at 901C Lucinda Ave. in DeKalb.
"It's like a federal holiday for comic book stores," Fischer said. "It's our biggest day of the year and it's a wonderful way for us to reach out to the community."
NIU senior and fellow comic book aficionado Vince Vacco said he wants to see "all the new stuff."
"I went last year and got the Disney Channel's 'Top 10 Deadliest Sharks,' " he said.
Besides free books, store employee Nick Bade said it's a chance for comic book lovers to get together to share their interests.
During the event, Fischer said customers can choose three books from among 30 titles marked "Free Comic Book Day" and kept behind the front counter. They can select three more from overstocked collections near the back of the store, for a total of six free comics for each customer.
"We may run out of titles, but not books," Fischer said, adding that those wanting popular titles should get to the store as early as possible. "I can't guarantee that we'll still have Spiderman or Superman or Batman by closing."
Since 2002, more than 27 million comic books have been given away to nearly 8 million people worldwide on Free Comic Book Day. The event is sponsored by a panel representing all parts of the comic book industry.
"The goal of Free Comic Book Day is to promote the comic-book medium to new customers young and old and celebrate independent comic-book retailers and their stores," Jason Blanchard, Diamond Comic Distributors marketing director, said. "Comics are exciting and a great tool for introducing young children to the world of reading."
Fischer said Free Comic Book Day will bring hundreds of customers of all ages to his store.
Some will spend the day going from one participating store to another to add to their collections. Many of the curious, he said, will become regular costumers.
"Comics aren't just for kids," Fischer said. "This day is tons of fun."