Free Comic Book Day! This Saturday! Lots to talk about! Little time to explain! Let’s get to it.
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 that little art film about a big bad giant purple dude, his pretty sparkly glove, and the Marvel Bunch fighting him for it. You might have heard of it. It made a few (hundred gazillion) dollars over the past week or so.
There are 50 of them in a variety of flavors, from The Avengers to The Wormworld 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 50 comics at one place, after all! — NPR has a handy guide on what to seek and what to skip.
Twenty-four public libraries statewide will be giving away comics this year. It would have been 25, but alas, poor Aina Haina is still recovering from recent flooding.
Your starting lineup on Oahu: (deep breath in)
- Aiea Library, 99-374 Pohai Place (where there’s still plenty of parking and a big horking sugar molecule out front)
- Hawaii Kai Library, 249 Lunalilo Home Road
- Kailua Library, 239 Kuulei Road
- Kalihi-Palama Library, 1325 Kalihi St. (special program, see below)
- Kapolei Library, 1020 Manawai St.
- Liliha Library, 1515 Liliha St.
- Manoa Library, 2716 Woodlawn Drive
- McCully-Moiliili Library, 2211 S. King St.
- Mililani Library, 95-450 Makaimoimo St. (special program, see below)
- Nanakuli Library, 89-070 Farrington Highway (the newest library, which means it’s their first year in the program!)
- Salt Lake-Moanalua Library, 3225 Salt Lake Blvd.
- Waikiki-Kapahulu Library, 400 Kapahulu Ave.
- Waimanalo Public & School Library, 41-1320 Kalanianaole Highway
- Waipahu Library, 94-275 Mokuola St.
And on the neighbor islands: Hilo, Kailua-Kona and Thelma Parker Memorial Public & School Library on the Big Island; Kahului, Kīhei, Lahaina and Makawao (with a special program!) on Maui; and Hanapepe on Kauai. Lanai Public & School Library will be represented at the Saturday Market from 8 to 10:30 a.m. in front of Cafe 565 on Seventh Street.
As for the comic book stores, there are a number to choose from again. On Oahu, there’s:
- Choice Comics (98-1268 Kaahumanu St., suite 104) in Pearl City
- Collector Maniacs, 3571 Waialae Ave., suite 102A, Kaimuki
- Dragon’s Lair, 95-1840 Meheula Parkway, suite E-10, Mililani
- Gecko Books, 1151 12th Ave., Kaimuki
- Other Realms, 1130 Nimitz Highway, suite C-140, Iwilei
- Westside Comics and Games, 590 Farrington Highway, #538, Kapolei
And for those of you on either Maui or the Big Island, there’s:
- Maui Comics & Collectibles, 115 S. Wakea St., Kahului
- Game Over Comics, 277 Wili Ko Place, suite 233, Lahaina
- Enjoy Comics, 45-201 Pohaku St., Hilo
The special attractions!
Comic Jam Hawaii artists contributed 175 different character bookmarks to sets that will be given away at the libraries, as well as Choice Comics, Dragon’s Lair, Gecko Books, Maui Comics & Collectibles, Other Realms, and Westside Comics & Games. Here’s a look at a bunch of those sets being prepared for shipment.
Members of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance will be out in force at various events. Gordon Rider/Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Hawaii Herald artist Jon Murakami, Bandit artist Kaci Horimoto, M artist Dwayne Acoba, and Mash Monster artist Andrew Gutierrez will be drawing free sketches at Dragon’s Lair from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (The store also has several sales going on: 30 percent off all comics, 10 percent off all hardcover collections and trade paperbacks, and various other markdowns.)
Other Realms, meanwhile, will host Contraptor artist Free Isabelo, Mysterious Things artist Napua Ahina, Cacy & Kiara/Pepe the Chihuahua kalbi wrangler Roy Chang, Pineapple Man artist Sam Campos, Exillion artist DJ Keawekane, Nightmarcher artist Chris Koanui, and Game of Thrones illustrator Mog Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free will be teaching workshops on drawing comics (11 a.m.-noon) and how to produce a comic, from concept to distribution (1:30-2:30 p.m.) and there will be a comic jam session with the artists from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Seats for these three sessions are limited to 20; you can reserve a spot by calling 596-8236 or emailing OtherRealms@hawaii.rr.com.
(Sudden thought: If Free Isabelo is at an event like this, does that make it a Free and Other Artists Comic Book Day? And if he was, for some reason, commissioned to draw a story based on the anime about the Iwatobi Swim Club and then held a release party, would that be a Free Free! Comic Book Day? Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about when I’m not thinking about Kirby.)
Other Realms also has giveaways and discounts, and the first 50 people will receive a FCBD Star Wars Adventures buttons. Cosplayers from League of Shadows Hawaii will be stopping by from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A number of libraries will be hosting cosplayer appearances; check with your local branch to see who’ll be showing up, and at what times.
Kalihi-Palama Library will host a talk by freelance artist Kanila Tripp from 11 a.m. to noon. Kanila’s done work for DC, Marvel, Image, HarperCollins Publishers and Mattel Toys, and he’ll be discussing his experiences. Cosplayers will be showing up between 1 and 4 p.m. There’s also a make-and-take superhero corner bookmark activity, and a lucky-number drawing — pull a number and win a prize!
Mililani Library will have some cosplayers, and they’ll be screening the 2017 hit Wonder Woman from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Over on Maui, Makawao Library will host local artist and educator Pam Hayes, who’ll be leading a quick workshop for children in grades 2-12 on classic graffiti art techniques, including bubble lettering embellished with drips, cracks, bricks and flames. That’s happening from 10 to 11 a.m.
And last but certainly not least, an entire comic book store will be holding its grand opening on Free Comic Book Day! In addition to the comic giveaways, the gang at Game Over Comics in Lahaina will be grilling hot dogs and hosting a tournament for the DC Universe brawler Injustice 2 from 2 to 6 p.m. Everything in the store will be 10 percent off, too.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments. And swing by Otaku Ohana on Facebook for any last-minute updates, too.