It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Free Comic Book Day on May 1


Wait. Did you say Free Comic Book Day? As in "I take home comics, and there is no payment necessary"?

Yes, indeed. Once a year, independent comic book stores shell out between 12 and 50 cents per book to publishers, and then graciously give them to you for free. And for cash-strapped college students, who make up a large chunk of the comics-reading populace, no greater word exists. (Except perhaps for Wow! Pow!, Wham! or Bang!)

Or as Chicago Comics manager Eric Thornton put it, "There is no better way to get people in the store than with a sign that says 'FREE.'"

May 1 marks the eighth annual Free Comic Book Day, a promotional event that celebrates independent comic book stores across North America -- mostly geared toward kids and new collectors, but also seen as a special "thank you" to those who've collected for years.

"All comic book stores have their own flavor and style, " Thornton said. "In American business, you can't find as unique and free-spirited entrepreneur opportunities as a comic store."