This Saturday, May 3 is National Free Comic Book Day, according to the San Francisco News report on May 1, and it looks like there’s going to be a party and free comics! You’re invited to join the guest list that includes: Spongebob Squarepants, The Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, and Archie, the Guardians of the Galaxy, just to name a few.
Joe Field, a California book retailer, said one day he had an “epiphany” after witnessing the long line at Baskin-Robins ice cream parlor, as patrons waited for their free scoop of ice cream. Free books, Field thought, “This could easily be adapted to comics.” In 2001 he published his idea in Comics & Games Retailer magazine, and the next year the first annual Free Comic Book Day event was held and spread throughout the country. Field estimates that this event reaches shops in at least 65 countries.
The history of the first comic book, according to the most avid collectors, began when FUNNIES ON PARADE, published in 1933, ran a collection of newspaper strip reprints, featuring old time favorites as Mutt & Jeff, Joe Palooka, and Hairbreadth Harry. But the comic book craze really started to take off with the publication of ACTION COMICS #1 in June 1938, when The Man of Steel, Superman, made his appearance.
Thanks to the popularity of the radio from 1942 through 1947, and their evening stories, including “Dragnet,” “Crime Classics,” and “The Shadow,” came the next wave of comics; fueling the newsstands with continuing stories with the hot new trend of crime and gangsters, following in the late 40’s and 50’s with the horror film craze, and rounding it out during the late 50’s and the early 60’s with the reintroduction of the updated and modern version of the ‘superheroes of yesteryear’ beginning with The Flash.
Many comic book shops around the country will be featuring special events, and the rumor is that a superhero or two just may make an appearance!
The Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, will be celebrating this year with what promises to be the most ‘diverse slate of free comics it has ever offered.’ They will have over 50 different free comic books available for every age, taste and reading level, co-owner of Green Brain Comics, Dan Merritt said.