CLEARWATER — Comic books have been a big part of American pop culture for the better part of 100 years, but perhaps never more so than in the past decade, when a number of films based on iconic comics have dominated the summer blockbuster movie seasons.
This Saturday, the comic book industry shows its appreciation for its products and those who love them during the annual Free Comic Book Day. The nationwide event is designed to introduce people of all ages and interests to the colorful world of comic books.
In the Clearwater area, a number of shops will participate in the event, including Emerald City Comics, which recently expanded and relocated to 4902 113th Ave. N.
Store marketing director Darrell Blaker said Emerald City Comics has participated in the event for all 13 years of its existence.
“Free Comic Book Day is a great way to not only cultivate new fans of comic books but to reward their existing customers for all their support over the years,” Blaker said.
“It is also our largest sales day. The trickle-down effect is tremendous. It brings new titles, writers, artists, themes and publishers to our existing guests that they might not know about otherwise; it helps our guests that are new to us see more of what we have to offer from a diversity standpoint; and it gets a lot of attention through news outlets such as yours.”
In addition to the free comics, Emerald City has other observances planned. On Saturday, the store will take 25 percent off the price of all trade paperbacks, and Spider-Man will appear from noon to 2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. to pose for pictures with guests. On Sunday, the store will offer 25 percent off non-vintage, back-issue comics and 10 percent off toys and games, excluding current sale items.
“These added specials are being offered to thank our guests for being such loyal and consistent supporters of our store,” Blaker said. “The free comics are fantastic, but we wanted to do something extra to reward our guests, many of whom are weekly visitors, sometimes more, and are part of our store’s community.
“Our goal is to really engage with our guests and help them connect with the stories and characters they love.”
But you don’t have to be a fan of the X-Men, the Avengers, Superman or Batman to love comic books. The colorful, soft-copy books and their graphic novel cousins also have inspired everything from the “Walking Dead” TV show to English author Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” series.
For more information on Free Comic Book Day, visit the event’s website at www.freecomicbookday.com.