Local comic book stores celebrate National Free Comic Book Day

Locals gather in support for comic stores and cosplay

More stories from Hannah Angell


Photo by Gabbie Henn

The Eau Claire community scavenged for their favorite comics ranging from superhero, horror, western and many more.

Free Comic Book Day is celebrated every year on the first Saturday of May — this year landing on May 4, which is also known as Star Wars day.

This annual comic book holiday gives locals the opportunity to gather together, pick up free books and support favorite local comic stores.

“At its core, (Free Comic Book Day) promotes to people that, ‘Hey, local comic shops are still a thing, they’re still around,’” Joe Gibbons, a Menomonie resident, said.

The Chippewa Valley isn’t alone in celebrating. More than 5.2 million comics are freely distributed on Free Comic Book Day.

The holiday started as an effort by the comic book publishers to help boost interest in the hobby —  to discover new characters and titles people were not familiar with before.

Free Comic Book Day was celebrated at Heroes Welcome Comics & Games, located in Menomonie, drawing in comic book lovers of all ages.

“There’s always a great turn out, especially right at noon when my doors open,” John Hansen, the owner and operator of Heroes Welcome Comics & Games, said.

Heroes Welcome Comics & Games, located in downtown Menomonie, offers a variety of things, including comic books, graphic novels, board games, collectible cards like Magic the Gathering and Pokémon, Dungeons & Dragons assortments, Star Wars Destiny and more.

“There have been plenty of times my kids don’t want to read, but every time you give them a comic book, their eyes just light up,” Gibbons said. “Free comic book day is important to younger children as well. The event promotes literacy, imagination and art appreciation.”

Children dressed up in costumes ranging from Star Wars and other well-known comics, came to support the nation-wide holiday and to get their free literature.

“Sometimes people even dress up in cosplay as their favorite character when they come to Free Comic Book Day and I love to see that enthusiasm and fandom,” Hansen said.

Often times people are waiting outside to be among the first to get in and get their hands on this year’s offerings, Hansen said.

Comic books with well-known titles were offered at Heroes Welcome, “Some of the issues given away each year on Free Comic Book Day include comics like Spider-Man, Star Wars, Doctor Who, DC, and the Avengers,” Gibbons said.

For those who missed out on dressing up as their favorite superhero or comic character and free comics— the event is held annually at most local comic stores including Clairmont Comics and Eau Claire Comics and Collectibles.

“I think this entire industry is driven by escapism, taking you somewhere you’ve never been before.” said Gibbons, “People just want to laugh, smile and enjoy a good story.”

Angell can be reached at [email protected]