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‘Reading Rainbow’ director, host LeVar Burton joins in encouraging readers to participate in Free Comic Book Day

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By BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@thereporteronline.com

Comics & More’s Plymouth Meeting Mall store manager, Ray Bistline, likened the upcoming Free Comic Book Day to Record Store Day.
The customer appreciation day will feature the release of 60 free titles, from “Archie Digest” to “Zombie Tramp.”
“It’s a great event. It gets bigger every year,” said Bistline, noting that just about every comic book publisher tries to do something special for the international celebration, which falls on May 3 this year.

For the complete list of titles that you’ll be able to get free of charge, while supplies last, visit www.freecomicbookday.com.
Robert Royal of Royal Comics and Gaming in Lansdale says that he doesn’t mind having to explain that Free Comic Book Day does not apply to every comic book in the store. That’s because those people are probably new to the world of comic books, he said. “I enjoy starting a new conversation,” Royal added.
“We’re fully stocked this year, but once they’re gone, they’re gone. We open at 11 a.m. (on May 3),” said Royal, clarifying that although it’s a one-issue-per-customer policy, you’re allowed to take home one copy of as many different FCBD titles as you like. That includes Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy,” DC Comics’ “The New 52: Future’s End,” SpongeBob, Hello Kitty, Power Rangers, “Transformers vs. GI Joe” and more.
New Wave Comics & Collectibles at 4039 Skippack Pike in Skippack Village is going all-out because this is their first Free Comic Book Day. “Besides the comics, we also are going to have somebody that’s doing sketches for kids under 13, for free. The whole time we’re open, someone from ‘Star Wars’ will be there,” said co-owner Mikaela Martin. Specifically, a costumed “Mandalorian bounty hunter” is appearing from 11 to 2, then “Meet a Stormtrooper” from 2 to 7.
In addition, Montgomery County-based GrayHaven Comics is sending a representative to New Wave to offer portfolio reviews for developing artists.
Also participating in FCBD will be Cyborg One, 44 E. State St., Doylestown; and Brave New Worlds, 433 W. Moreland Road, Willow Grove. See the website for a complete list.
The graphics-heavy storytelling style of comic books makes reading more accessible for children in need of encouragement to read, Bistline said. “Everybody should be able to read. For the poorer areas, this is the one time a year they can get a comic book,” he said.
He added that FCBD usually coincides with the marketing of a superhero blockbuster movie, amping up the excitement. “Captain America: Winter Soldier” is in theaters now, and is about to be followed to the big screen by “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Follow Brian Bingaman on Twitter @brianbingaman.

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