WILLOW GROVE, Pa. – Fans of comics basked in a bounty of free issues as retailers from Los Angeles to London handed out thousands upon thousands of free copies Saturday for the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day.
Some stores opened early while others arranged for artists and writers, including top names like DC Comics’ chief creative officer, Geoff Johns, Marvel writer Jonathan Hickman and IDW’s Joe Hill, to not only show off their own titles but autograph and chat with fans on hand.
“I think it’s the single best thing retailers and publishers are doing to bring new fans to the medium,” said Joe Brusha, who writes the titles “Grimm Fairy Tales” and “Neverland” for Zenescope Entertainment.
In England, about 75 people lined up outside the doors of Forbidden Planet in London’s theater district on the edge of the trendy Covent Garden shopping quarter.
After the doors swung open, the crowd grew to more than 200 to collect their free issues, with staffers pulling titles from boxes on a cargo crate by the counter.
“It’s such a great way to bring new people and to thank the fans who are already supporting the companies,” said Daniel Dovi-Dotse, 24. “I’m only really here for Spider-Man but there’s always a surprise there, one of the indies. There’s some great stuff out there.”
Free Comic Book Day, begun in the U.S. in 2001, has expanded to 40 countries, including Australia, Germany and Singapore.