Free Comic Book Day highlights pastime

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Comics by Sara and Blake
Patrons waiting in line at Dark Side Comics. Some people dressed up for the occasion.

America in the 1930s was a time of turmoil. The Great Depression had quickly bulldozed through the nation, abruptly creating an end to the Roaring ‘20s and leaving a majority of the population struggling to breathe in its dusty wake of a crippling monetary crisis. While the ‘30s may not have been a time of prosperity, a budding new form of literature and art was beginning to emerge and would soon become an integral part of American history: Comic Books. Now, almost a century later, we still commemorate comic books by celebrating Free Comic Book Day during the first Saturday of May. This year, it was held on May 2 at local Sarasota stores such as The Comic Shack and Dark Side Comics. The first Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) was held in 2002 and was celebrated across the world, giving comic books to every patron who came into participating locations.

“[Free Comic Book Day] is a good way to let people know that comics are still a hobby that is still alive and well or maybe introduce some one to a title they never heard about” Mark Wolfking, Senior Partner of The Comic Shack, said. Wolfking got into comics as a kid in the mid 70s. His first comics were a Disney Star Wars three-pack. Located on the southbound side of U.S. 41, The Shack has been in business for seven years and has participated in almost every FCBD since then.

“For the past few years, free comic book day hasn’t been as big and a lot of comic book companies don’t send us free comics to give out,” Wolfking said.“This year, a lot of the comics give out were from the past few years because only one company sent us any new ones.”

Dark Side Comics on Beneva also had events for FCBD. The store was packed full of customers dressed up in their favorite costumes, playing tabletop games and perusing the sales.

“The line was all the way around the corner to the post office,” a Dark Side employee told a customer. “I road by everyone in the Batmobile and yelled ‘Happy Free Comic Day!’ I got to cross that off my bucket list.”


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