Free Comic Book Day is on Saturday, and … well, there’s a lot to talk about. This format worked pretty well when I used it last year, and I’m all about keeping intact what isn’t broken (and perhaps even improving on it a bit), so let’s get straight to it, shall we?
On Saturday, various comic shops and libraries will be giving away a wide range of comic books as part of Free Comic Book Day. Some will even be hosting special events. It’s a tradition that’s run annually since 2002, and while some of the stores locally have changed over the years, the concept remains the same: give away comic books; expose readers to a wide range of series; get people into stores to peruse their stock.
This year’s event is tied in to the sequel to that little art film about a big bad giant purple dude, the aftermath of him wearing his pretty sparkly glove, and those guys who didn’t start the fire fighting him over it. You might have heard of it. It snapped its fingers and made pretty much every other movie playing in theaters disappear.
There are 53 of them in a variety of flavors, from A Sheets Story to Zagor: The Alien Saga, with a bunch of mainstream properties and indie darlings and yes, even manga in between. You can find a complete list on the Free Comic Book Day website. If you need help choosing — can’t expect to pick up all 53 comics at one place, after all! — Glen Weldon at NPR has his annual handy guide on what to seek and what to skip.
Oh, and while you’re picking up your free comics, don’t forget to buy something from your store of choice as well, While the books may be free for you, they cost the stores money to pick them up. And shop owners kinda need all the help they can get.
There are giveaways and events on five out of seven populated islands in the state (sorry, Molokai and Niihau). Many locations will be giving away bookmarks from a 210-bookmark(!) set drawn by Comic Jam Hawaii artists, samples of which I’m scattering throughout this post. Here are each island’s highlights.
The hotbed of local FCBD activity, as it has been ever since the store moved to Iwilei, is Other Realms (1130 Nimitz Highway, suite C-140). Festivities there run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other Realms is hosting so many artists, I need to go into bullet-point mode to properly list them:
- Marvel colorist David Nakayama (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- Contraptor artist Free Isabelo
- Cacy & Kiara/Highball & Pepe artist and Boudin sourdough aficionado Roy Chang
- Game of Thrones illustrator Mog Park
- Anh Vu and Josh Villanueva, two West Oahu artists being mentored by Mog who are really, really good. Seriously, here’s Anh’s Instagram feed, and here’s Josh’s. Soooooo much pretty pretty artwork. *grabby hands*
- Mysterious Things artist Napua Ahina
- Exillion artist DJ Keawekane
The first 50 customers through the door will receive an Avengers button pin. There will also be door prizes (must be present to win), and loyalty program members will get double points on their purchases.
Since it’s also Star Wars Day (May the 4th, get it?), Ludosport Hawaii will hold lightsaber combat demos at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and there will be demos and pick-up games of Star Wars: Legion.
Oh, yeah, and don’t forget: You still can’t spoil the Endgame there.
Dragon’s Lair (95-1840 Meheula Parkway, suite E-10, Mililani) has its own set of artists offering artwork and free sketches from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Gordon Rider/Ara-Rangers/Star-Advertiser “Calabash”/Wasabi Magazine “What’s Up, Wasa*bee?” artist Jon Murakami, Bandit artist Kaci Horimoto, Dwayne Acoba, and Reid Kishimoto. All comics and graphic novels will be 25% off.
Collector Maniacs (3571 Waialae Ave., suite 102A, Kaimuki) is offering a bundle of comics worth at least $30 for free when you buy at least $25 of merchandise.
And finally, technically this isn’t really a Free Comic Book Day event, but Mana Comics will be represented there, so I’ll count it: City Square Shopping Center in Kalihi (1199 Dillingham Blvd., Kalihi) will be hosting the Star Wars Day-themed May the 4th Be With You from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop by From the Heart Hawaii for discounts on neat nerdy collectibles, too! A portion of all sales will benefit Special Olympics Hawaii.
Other participants (public library category):
- Aiea Library, 99-374 Pohai Place (where there’s still plenty of parking and a big horking sugar molecule out front)
- Aina Haina Library, 5246 Kalanianaole Highway
- Hawaii Kai Library, 249 Lunalilo Home Road
- Kailua Library, 239 Kuulei Road
- Kalihi-Palama Library, 1325 Kalihi St.
- Kapolei Library, 1020 Manawai St.
- Manoa Library, 2716 Woodlawn Drive
- McCully-Moiliili Library, 2211 S. King St.
- Mililani Library, 95-450 Makaimoimo St.
- Nanakuli Library, 89-070 Farrington Highway
- Salt Lake-Moanalua Library, 3225 Salt Lake Blvd.
- Wahiawa Library, 820 California Ave.
- Waikiki-Kapahulu Library, 400 Kapahulu Ave.
- Waimanalo Public & School Library, 41-1320 Kalanianaole Highway
- Waipahu Library, 94-275 Mokuola St.
Many of these libraries will have cosplayers stopping by for photo ops throughout the day.
Other participants (non-library category):
- Choice Comics, 98-1268 Kaahumanu St., suite 104, Pearl City: 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Gecko Books, 1151 12th Ave., Kaimuki: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Westside Comics and Games, 590 Farrington Highway, #538, Kapolei: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Maui Comics & Collectibles (Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului), open from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., will be hosting a quartet of creators throughout the day: Fields of Eleria card game creator Aaron Nakahara from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kukui Project artist Todd Bernardy starting at 10 a.m., cosplayer Night Darling from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Disney artist James Silvani starting at 2 p.m. Cosplayers from Imagination Reality will be stopping by from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.
It’s been almost a year since Game Over Comics (277 Wili Ko Place, suite 233, Lahaina) debuted on Free Comic Book Day, and they’re back with more fun events from noon to 6 p.m., including 20% off everything in-store and raffle prizes every 30 minutes. Video gamers will want to come for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament starting at noon, and Tekken 7 play via Maui Gaming at 2 p.m. Star Wars Day tie-ins, hosted by Imagination Reality, include cosplay pictures at 4 p.m. and Jedi Training at 5 p.m.
- Kahului Library, 90 School St. Learn how to transform old comics into neat accessories from 1-3 p.m. You can also bring in items like notebooks, pictures, and shoeboxes to cover in comic pages, too, in the art of decoupage.
- Kihei Library, 35 Waimahaihai St. You can also meet James Silvani from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Lahaina Library, 680 Wharf St.
- Makawao Library, 1159 Makawao Ave.
Enjoy Comics (Prince Kuhio Plaza, 111 E. Puainako St., suite 715) will be giving away swag bags with hidden-ticket prize giveaways and feature cosplayer appearances throughout the day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Hilo Library, 300 Waianuenue Ave.
- Kailua-Kona Library, 75-138 Hualalai Road. Artist/illustrator Wayne Lo will be drawing chibi art from 10-11 a.m. in the children’s room, followed by a workshop on drawing comic faces for teens in the young adult room from 11 a.m-noon.
- Thelma Parker Library (Waimea), 67-1209 Mamalahoa Highway
Kauai library participants:
- Hanapepe Library, 4490 Kona Road
- Princeville Library, 4343 Emmalani Drive
Finally, representatives from Lanai Library will be at the Saturday Market at Dole Park from 8-10 a.m.
Good luck and stay safe getting those comics, folks.