Keep calm and carry on, fanboys (and girls). Yes, your heads still are spinning from Star Wars Day and there’s Free Comic Book Day staring you right in the face!
But you know the drill – after all, FCBD is in its 16th year. On the first Saturday of May – always the weekend of a big blockbuster summer movie launch – comic-book shops in the U.S. and dozens of countries around the world give away books. Many offer other giveaways and attractions, like appearances by costumed characters.
This weekend, the big movie is “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2,” so, of course, a “Guardians of the Galaxy” title is among the books being given away by most participating shops. Other books are from such popular series as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Doctor Who,” “Star Trek,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
There always are superhero titles, like this year’s “Secret Empire” from Marvel and Wonder Woman from DC, but also tales from Barbie, Archie and the Riverdale gang, Disney’s Descendants and a variety of others. Shops have to buy the books they give away, so not all will offer everything that’s available.
Bonanza Books & Comics on McHenry Avenue in Modesto has been a big celebrant of FCBD from the start. As usual, the shop has a growing who’s who of costumed characters. From the “Star Wars” universe, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Jedi knights and stormtroopers and their several variations..
Marvel heroes appearing are set to include Capt. America, Iron Man, Elektra, Hawkeye, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. Their DC counterparts will include Batman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Huntress and Green Arrow, along with some bad guys and gals – Joker, Harley Quinn and Catwoman.
Sonic the Hedgehog and Batmanuel also will be on hand. The characters will be there from 10 a.m. to noon. Though it’s supposed to reach only 69 degrees Saturday, those costumes can get warm.
Bonanza also will have guest artists and writers visiting between 10 and 2, including John Harrison, author of the “Shadow Saga” series of fantasy-science fiction novels. He will be signing copies of his books.
Another Modesto shop is new to its location and jumped on Free Comic Book Day at the last minute. Hero’s Vault opened April 28 in the Roseburg Square shopping center after previously existing as Banzai Cards and Comics on Carver Road at Roseburg, said Jeff Peacock.
His business partner owned Banzai but was able to keep it open only three hours a day because he worked a full-time job. Now in Roseburg Square, Hero’s Vault is open daily, with hours of 11 to 7 most of those days.
But the timing of the move and reopening disrupted FCBD plans, Peacock said, so they were able to obtain just a few boxes of books to give away. The day will be “pretty low-key,” he said, but he hopes people come to check out the shop. “This will be the last time we don’t do something big for Free Comic Book Day,” he said.
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327
Locally participating shops
Bonanza Books & Comics
2308 McHenry Ave., Modesto
Open 10 to 4 Saturday
897 W. Roseburg Ave., Modesto
Open 10 to 7 Saturday
Fantastic Collectibles & Gift
162 W. Center St., Manteca
Red Sky Comics
617 W. Main St., Merced
1305 Center Ave., Suite B, Los Banos