As the name of the event suggests, Free Comic Book Day—which comes swooping into local comic shops all over Silicon Valley this weekend—is about giving the gift of caped crusaders, mutants and other graphically augmented tales. But it’s about more than that, according to Bruce Tritch, owner of SpaceCat Comics.

“I want to share that sense of wonder I got from comics growing up,” Tritch says, explaining why he is participating in Free Comic Book Day this Saturday. “That is my life’s work. Superheros are today’s role models; they’re more important than ever before.”

On May 2, 5.6 million comic books will be given away by 2,300 comic book stores around the globe. Shops in the South Bay will have a selection of 50 comic books to give away to children, teens and adults.

There is a book for every type of fan. “This is a great way to check out what comic books are out there, not just superhero ones,” says Deborah Moreland, spokeswoman for Free Comic Book Day. “But it’s not just about the stores either; it’s a way for communities to come together and become involved.” Local comic book stores will have guests, signings and special deals.

The event gives comic fanatics and newbies the chance to learn from devout fans and discover new things about the industry. Chuck Palahniuk’s comic book, a sequel to Fight Club, will be available at Comics Conspiracy. Additionally, the store will have local artists drawing free sketches.

“There is a large line every year,” says Neil Farris, owner of Hijinx Comics. “This is our way to attract younger fans. Without them, we cease to exist.”

Anna Warren Cebrian, owner of Illusive Comics & Games, has seen thousands of attendees flow into her store on Free Comic Book Days past. She will be hosting a signing by Gene Yang, a comic and graphic novel writer, and says cosplayers are welcome. For Cebrian, the day is not just a way to support her business, but an opportunity to encourage literacy in children. She also uses the day’s popularity to raise funds for charities that are close to her heart.

Local participants include: Hijinx Comics in Willow Glen, Heroes Comic Books in downtown Campbell, Black Cat Comics in Milpitas, SLG Art Boutiki in San Jose, Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, Comic Collector Shop in Sunnyvale, and Lee’s comics in Mountain View.

Free Comic Book Day
May 2
Various Locations