Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away from a selection of free comic books absolutely free to everyone who comes into their stores.
Big B Comics describes the day as "The Christmas in May for comic book fans." They held a great celebration, including BBQ, costumed heroes (Flash and Superman were there), an artist, along with their usual helpful and friendly staff and a fantastic selection of comics, graphic novels, toys and comic related merchandise.
Alexander selected the free Toy Story comic book and I read it to him last night at bed time. It features a continuing storyline and both of us are eager to get the next issue and read it. That was for me, one of the great thrills of reading comics -- reading a serialized story and eagerly anticipating next month's issue to find out what happens next.
While we were there, I picked out one of the latest issues of Amazing Spider-Man featuring the Black Cat -- yes, it's been three decades and I still have a crush on Felicia Hardy.
At the back of the store there were classic plastic-covered volumes on the wall. I lifted Alexander up and showed him some of the old Spider-Man comics. When pointing out that Dad has this one, and that one, and, oh look, this other one, I noticed that they were worth prices like $60, $150 and $300 each. Francine muttered something about being able to pay off our mortgage with the thousands of comics I have. I just grinned and whispered to Alexander that some day they would be his.
In the hand-out Big B Comics provided, they say:
"All we ask is that you read the comics you picked up on Free Comic Book Day. Take them home, take them to work, or take them to school. Take them wherever you go and once you're done with them, pass them around to anyone else you think might enjoy them. This is an event about celebrating all that comic books have to offer."
And comic books have a great deal to offer.
I started reading them when my mom worked at the Mini-Mart in Levack. Each week she would come home with a few copies of the Gold Key comics of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Huey, Duey and Louie. Then it was Richie Rich and Archie comics. Then Spider-Man. Each week I read them, then read them again. And as I got older, I got hooked on Spider-Man and rushed downtown myself each week to make sure I got the lastest issues of the various titles Spider-Man appeared in.
My love of reading stems directly from my love of comic books. I am a voracious reader today because of comic books. And today, I still love comic books, still love reading -- in fact, if anyone reading this hasn't already figured it out, I'm a gigantic lover of books and of reading. I credit my career choice as a bookseller with this love of reading. I'm also a writer because since the first day that I enjoyed a comic book, I wanted to be able to tell interesting and fantastic stories to be able to move people the same way that these stories moved me.
When Stan Lee moved this little boy's heart with the words "With great power comes great responsibility" I knew that comics were more than just illustrated stories. They were powerful tales of real characters facing real moral issues. And they were the genesis for me becoming an avid reader and a writer.
That's why I'm glad that Comic Book Day exists -- and delighted to be able to share that fun and excitement about comics with my son.