As movies like Batman vs. Superman break box-office records and events like Comic-Con bring A-list celebrities to the stage, the comic industry of today seems far removed from the pages of thin, colorful books. Still, the comic book remains an iconic commodity, and the indie stores that sell them are the gathering places of a vibrant culture. On Saturday, May 6, Free Comic Book Day will celebrate these specialty shops and the customers that keep them going strong.
Each year, the first Saturday of May is recognized as Free Comic Book Day. The event has been held since 2002, and over the years, thousands of locally owned, independent specialty shops have given out millions of comic books to their readers. The celebration even stretches to Canada and other countries around the world.
On Free Comic Book Day, shoppers can visit participating shops to receive at least one free comic. Some stores, like Comic Kings in Virginia Beach, Virginia, will also host celebratory sales and promotions in honor of the occasion. Others, like Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, will host meet-and-greets with professionals in the sci-fi entertainment industry. The organizers of Free Comic Book Day have a directory of all participating stores on their website.
Whether it’s thanks to blockbuster movies or campaigns like Free Comic Book Day, the comic book industry has experienced resurgence in recent years. In fact, The Washington Post reported last year that the industry had its best month, by sales, since 1997 in June of 2016. As the comic book industry bounces back, the opportunity for specialty retailers also grows.
That’s not just good news for comic fans – it’s good news for local economies everywhere. Locally owned, independent businesses – such as indie comic shops – create more net jobs and return more money to their local economies per dollar of sales than their national chain competitors. Plus, they often host unique events and participate in indie campaigns, like Free Comic Book Day. As a result, these small businesses become epicenters of creative discussion and social togetherness.
Whether you take the side of the superhero or the villain, what matters in May is that you take the side of small business. As specialty comic book stores around the country prepare for Free Comic Book Day, the opportunity for shops and shoppers to connect with their communities may be bigger than ever this year thanks to a rebounding industry. For more information on Free Comic Book Day, visit www.freecomicbookday.com.