Across the United States, those who are truly dedicated to collecting and reading comic books will celebrate Free Comic Book Day by receiving free comics from participating stores. Quality Collectibles, located in the Parkland Shopping Center behind Captain D’s, is in its sixth year taking part in Free Comic Book Day, and co-owner J.R. Lee said last year his business received a tremendous turnout.
“Last year was the first time where we just went all out, and we actually had characters from ‘The Walking Dead,’” Lee said. “Last year we had probably over 200 people show up for Free Comic Book Day. We had several, and everybody seemed to have a really good time.”
This year’s event promises even more fun for comic lovers and their friends and family who choose to attend.
Participants will enjoy not only free comic books, but they will also be provided with hotdogs, chips and drinks. Door prizes will be given away and from noon until 4 p.m., fans of the TV series “The Walking Dead” will have a chance to meet two walkers, father and son duo Tony Gowell and Alex Wayne.
Gowell is one of a number of directors who works with Dragon Con — a convention held every year in Atlanta for fans of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, etc.
He has been an actor for many years and has been cast in several shows. He was also a zombie in TWD, most notably in the episodes “Days Gone Bye” and "Beside the Dying Fire."
Gowell’s son, Alex Wayne, has also been in numerous shows and plays, but he is most recognized for his role as the zombie in TWD who ate the well-known character Lori.
Both actors will be available to sign autographs at Quality Collectibles from noon until 4 p.m. Saturday. Lee also said some cosplayers should be decked out in full comic character attire as well.
Free Comic Book Day has been held the first Saturday in May each year since 2002.
The event is broadcast in hopes of introducing comics to anyone interested. For some, it’s a tradition they want to pass down to their kids.
For others, it’s a transformation from the mundane, realistic world to a world of fantasy and mystery.
If comic books are not your forte, Quality Collectibles has more to offer than just free food and comics Saturday.
“We’ve always participated in Free Comic Book Day ... This business has been in Jasper for nearly 20 years. I’ve owned it for five years, February was five years for me,” Lee said. “I’ve been in this location for two years. We have video games, comics, trading card games, board games, action figures, just a large variety of things, and a lot of sales will be going on in the store Saturday.”
Before movies like the “Avengers,” “Green Lantern,” “Iron Man” and “Thor,” there were comic books that created these popular characters. Some of the comic books that will be given away free Saturday include Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, Transformers, SpongeBob SquarePants and Guardians of the Galaxy, just to name a few.
“[The day is celebrated] to promote comics, more so than anything. It’s just to try to get people into it, people who maybe never even seen a comic or messed with a comic to actually get them started reading comics,” Lee said. “For the most part, it’s a day that the majority of people usually have off work and can actually have a little bit more free time to get out and do things.”
For more information, you may contact Lee or his business partner, co-owner B.J. Ashby, at (205) 295-9621 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.