Annual giveaway turns into a big party for many area comic retailers

Pop quiz, hotshots.

What comes once a year, has free stuff, and attracts all manner of geeks, nerds and fanboys/girls?

Actually, a lot of events fit that description, but we’re talking specifically about Free Comic Book Day – and it’s almost upon us.

The rules of the day are pretty simple: find a participating retailer, show up on Saturday, May 6, and get yourself a free comic book from a roster of select titles that offers something for every taste.

Lucky for us, there are plenty of participating retailers in our area – and some of them know how to make a serious party out of it.

CAPT BLUE HEN

Like at Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, who held two separate Free Comic Book Days the first year, thus putting them perpetually ahead by one.

Although owner Joe Murry is excited, he’s also ready for the day to hurry up and get here already.

“We’re at the point now where excited is irrelevant – we’re happily fatalistic. It’s going to happen, and I am ready for it to happen, but yes I am excited,” he said.

As in past years, the store – located at 280 E. Main Street – always makes the day a big party, partnering with the Newark Arts Alliance next door to present arts and crafts and lessons, bringing in top notch area cosplayers, and engaging in contests and trivia with folks while waiting in line.

He’s also tasked with bringing home the “Loud House” title early.

“It’s great, you give that to your kid and there’s a solid half-hour of entertainment,” he said. “My six-year-old has read it to me many times already.”

For a list of guests, visit captainbluehen.com.

COMIC MANIA

At Comic Mania, 4831 Kirkwood Highway, the party goes on for two whole days, stretching into Sunday with special guests and sales.

“Sunday is great if you don’t like crowds, because Saturday is definitely the busier of the two days,” said Sarah Titus, who co-owns Comic Mania with her husband. “It’s still the same atmosphere, and some of the same guests. And we’ll have a selection of the free comics held back for Sunday, too.”

Find a complete list of guests and events at comicmania.com.

COMIC BOOK SHOP

If you’re looking for a low-key affair, where you can get your free comics and get out without any fanfare, then The Comic Book Shop at 1855 Marsh Road in Wilmington is the place to be.

Of all the titles available, Shop manager Bill Voigt expects Marvel’s “Secret Empire” tie-in/preview.

Although personally, he’s looking forward to Valiant’s “XO Manowar” title.

“I’m a big fan of Manowar, and this is a unique story,” Voigt said of the title, which also features a “Bloodshot Salvation” original story as well. “A lot of the other stuff is reprint heavy, and usually is every year.”

For more information on FCBD, visit freecomicbookday.com.

For a list of FCBD retailers, visit comicshoplocator.com.