by Corianne Egan
Mark Morris has been collecting comic books for more than 20 years. So when he’s offered a free book, he never says no.
“I have over 15,000 comic books, but I look forward to Free Comic Book Day every year,” Morris explains. “It’s exciting to see what they have to offer.”
Saturday celebrates the 10th year of Free Comic Book Day, when comic book companies send millions of comic books out to distributors and privately owned stores around the world, who in turn give them away for free. The day was originally meant as a thank you to collectors and fans who purchase regularly.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” Brent Thurston, manager of Crash Comics in Paducah, says. “There are books based on cartoons to action, for young kids and adults. There’s a full selection to choose from.”
Friday’s giveaway will feature books like “Kung Fu Panda” and “Smurfs,” along with staples like “The Amazing Spiderman” and “The Green Lantern.” Throughout the world, a record 2.7 million free comics will be offerd.
Crash Comics, Paducah’s lone comic book store, is using the giveaway to also launch its new location, a bigger building with more room for collectibles and comics. The event will feature giveaways, as well as music and food.
“There is no such thing as a comic store chain,” he said. “We are all at the local level. So supporting us is supporting the community.”
While comic books are known for their fantasy and superheroes, they are widely seen as a way to get younger audiences to read. Crash Comics routinely distributes to area teachers and parents who have trouble getting their students excited about reading.
“I read my books all the time,” Morris explained. “Sometimes, I read things twice or multiple times. You can really get lost in the illustration and story telling.”
Thurston says his clients vary from young to old, and that a love for comics is usually a generational thing, passed down from parents to children. Around 80 percent of the people who come in have been shopping in the store since it opened. However, he still sees young kids come in to the shop on their own.
“There’s something special about a comic,” Thurston said. “They require all of this imagination. Everyone wants to be able to fly or be invisible. When you read them, you get to be.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.