(UPDATED WITH PARTICIPATING COMIC STORE LOCATIONS)
EAST TENNESSEE (May 4, 2022) – Calling all comic book enthusiasts! The first Saturday of May is recognized nationally as your day! This Saturday, May 7th is Free Comic Book Day (FCBDay), an annual event celebrated across the country. This event attracts new readers and rewards lifelong fans.
“We have great customers, and we are always packed with people on FCBDay,” said Lain a clerk at Comics Exchange 3611 Chapman Highway, Knoxville, 37920. “We open up (an hour early) and don’t leave until we serve the last customer. It’s an exhausting day, but we have so much fun being a part of it.” Comic Exchange owner Bill Langford is celebrating 23 years in business. It is considered to be Knoxville’s oldest comic book shop according to Lain (aka) “The bird lady” (who fosters and rehomes pet tropical and exotic birds).
The event attracts fans of all ages and introduces newcomers to comics. The bright colors and great art in comic books draw attention, and the stories are just long enough to leave you wanting more. Reading comic books can encourage children to read and help to advance their reading skills. After reading comics, some young readers move on to short stories and novels such as “Harry Potter” or “The Hobbit” according to Lain.
For the list of comic book stores participating in Free Comic Book Day in the East Tennessee area click here. To know the deep discounts on merchandise and books each offers, visit their Facebook page.
During Free Comic Book Day, fans will have a chance to meet and interact with celebrity artists, writers, and comic publishers who will be at various locations for autographs and one-one interactions.
Artist Ryan Ottley will be at Comics Exchange 3611 Chapman Hwy, South Knoxville. Ottley will offer autographs and sketches. The store will offer 20% off toys and 50% off trades. Ottley has drawn in over a hundred issues of “Invincible,” which is currently a hit show on Amazon Prime. Ottley recently finished a run on “Amazing Spider-Man”, and is presently working on “The Hulk” with Donny Cates.
Writer Joe Pruett will be at Golden Age 1942, 316 Court Street, Maryville. Pruett is co-founder of AfterShock Comics and has worked on “X-Men” for Marvel Comics. The store will offer hot dogs and snacks, raffle prizes, and 35% OFF THE ENTIRE STORE. All the comics an enthusiast can hope for.
On FCB Day comic shops will feature unique and/or popular merchandise such as the new Spider-Man series which may have 14 different variants (cover pages) for one issue. “We try to offer as many variant covers as we can,” said Rocky Headrick who owns Krypto Comics, 3513 Emory Road, Powell. “Some collectors want all of the variants, while another may just want one. We also offer special editions of Funko Pops.”
While FCB Day is free for customers, comic shop owners purchase the give-a-ways from 45-plus titles to gift to customers. “It is a great way to appreciate our fans and to share the industry’s current releases,” said Headrick.
In addition to the array of comic books and paraphernalia, Krypto Comics’ customers look forward to seeing Loki – the store’s canine mascot. People love Loki, children are his biggest fans and love taking selfies with Loki according to Headrick. Loki’s popularity has him featured on the store’s promotional T-shirts.
Owning a brick-and-mortar comic shop can be very costly and time-consuming, yet loyal customers help to keep the ship from sinking. The Krypto Comics location was flooded. Headrick said over $300,000 worth of comics and merchandise was drenched. “It really hits hard when you have to throw away $300,000 of inventory. I was about to announce that I was going to close the business when a girl, about seven years old, came in. She had tears in her eyes, hugged Loki and said it was ‘her shop’ and she missed it. That changed my mind. I realized that the shop means so much to customers.”
Will events like FCB Day help to keep local comic shops and the comic industry alive for future generations? According to Lain, some comic book publishers considered switching everything over to a digital format. While comic lovers don’t mind reading ‘titles’ in a digital format, they refuse to stop buying a hard copy. Digital has its pros but the con is not being able to hold a physical comic book in your hands.”
Click www.freecomicbookday.com for the list and address of participating comic book stores in the East Tennessee area, and a bonus list of the industry’s new releases along with much more information on Free Comic Book Day.