by Daniel Wolf
And there came a day unlike any other, when publishers and comic book shops were united to give out free comic books. On this day Free Comic Book Day was born.
Founded by Joe Field in 2001, Free Comic Book Day is Saturday May 3 this year and has become a holiday for publishers, comic book stores and fans. In the Greater Cleveland Area, it has become even bigger than the founder could have possibly imagined.
Each year, for Free Comic Book Day, Carol & John's Comic Shop at Kamm's Plaza on Cleveland's westside hosts one of the area's biggest Free Comic Book Day events. It is so big this year the shop is taking over an empty retail location in the plaza to help hold many of the events they will have for their hugely popular midnight sale.
However, Free Comic Book Day events do not stop at Carol & John's Comic Shop or other local stores. Co-owner John Dudas is supporting every Cuyahoga County Public Library branch. For those counting, that's 28 libraries.
“We have supported the county branches for three years now and we provide the branches with 100 copies of one comic book,” Dudas said. “My shop resonates well with libraries because we are both living off of print media.”
At first, not all the county libraries were on board. Dudas said word-of-mouth spread after the first year and his shop supported 17 branches. With all of the Cuyahoga County Public Library branches on board this year, Dudas stated how some branches have their own Free Comic Book Day events now.
“Some branches just hand out the comic books, but if you log on to the Cuyahoga County Public Library website and do an event search for Free Comic Book Day, you can see how each branch might have its own event for the day,” Dudas said.
One branch in particular, the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Brooklyn, was specifically mentioned by Dudas mainly due to its librarian, Mike Pawuk, who has been a huge fan and supporter of comic books being integrated into the library system.
“At my branch, I wanted to create a collection of titles and graphic novels for people to come back to and be a leading factor for helping people read all sorts of comics, since they are a form of reading,” Pawuk said. “This is my way of saying thank you to the librarian from my own childhood who took the risk of stocking a few graphic novels that I read over and over again and led to me becoming a comic book fan.”
Pawuk's branch has been supporting Free Comic Book Days for approximately eight years now. The Brooklyn branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library has many things to offer those who want to come in and visit on Free Comic Book Day.
“If you want to come in, you can get a free comic book,” Pawuk says. “There will be a lot of events including a super hero video game room for kids to play games, a popcorn machine, we will show some movies and many more fun, things to do for all-ages.”
Dudas is supplying Pawuk and the other Cuyahoga County Public Library branches the brand new comic book titled 'Rocket Raccoon,' which introduces many to the fuzzy raccoon-like alien hero from Marvel. Rocket will also be an all-computer generated character, voiced by actor Bradley Cooper, in this summer's Marvel Studios blockbuster film 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'
For more information regarding Carol & John's Comic Shop events visit their website at cnjcomics.com. For Cuyahoga County Public Library events go to their website at cuyahogalibrary.org, click on events and type 'Free Comic Book Day' into the search field.