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Costume group photo at last year’s Double Midnight Comics’ Free Comic Book Day. Courtesy photo.




Which comic is right for you? 

Which of the free comics are right for you? Here are some recommendations from Ralph of Jetpack Comics. 
 
Top 10 hot picks 
Avengers (superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk  and others take on a new threat)
Secret Wars (Refugees struggle to survive on Battleworld, the result of a collision of Marvel universes)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (A look into the minds of the TMNT as they prepare for an epic final battle)
Spongebob Freestyle Funnies (Spongebob gets into shenanigans in his underwater neighborhood, Bikini Bottom)
Bongo Comics Free-For-All (Stories of the animated TV family, the Simpsons)
Bob’s Burgers (Stories of the Belcher family as they manage the family restaurant, based on the animated TV series) 
Dark Horse Fight Club/The Goon/The Strain (Three stories of suspense and tragedy)
Transformers: Robots in Disguise (The crew tries to track down the Decepticons before their rampage spreads across the Earth)
Kodansha Comics Sampler (excerpts from some of the top manga series’ including the hit anime Attack on Titan)
Sonic the Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Unite Prelude (A teaser of the upcoming Sonic and Mega Man mash-up series)
 
For kids
Teen Titans Go/Scooby Doo Team Up 
Gronk and Friends
Pokemon
Sonic the Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Unite Prelude
Spongebob Freestyle Funnies
 
For teens
Divergence 
Hip Hop Family Tree 3-in-1 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Secret Wars
Bob’s Burgers
 
For first-time comic readers
The Stuff of Legend: A Call to Arms
Lady Justice 
The Tick 
Steampunk Goldilocks 
Hatter M: Love or Wonder
 
For art-lovers 
Boom Studios 10th Anniversary Special
Secret Wars
The Stuff of Legend: A Call to Arms
Divergence
Hatter M: Love or Wonder
 
For comedy-lovers 
Bongo Comics Free-For-All 
The Tick
Spongebob Freestyle Funnies
Rabbids
Bob’s Burgers 
 
Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival
(jetpackcomics.com, 330-9636)
• Jetpack Comics FCBD
Stop by the convention hall for signings by special guests David Petersen and Jeff Kline; local artists and small press creators; toy and comic book vendors 
When: Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Where: Jetpack Comics (37 N. Main St., Rochester) will only be offering the free comics and store sales. All other events will take place at the Knights of Columbus Hall (40 Columbus Ave., Rochester); 21 participating local businesses
Afterparty
Join Jetpack Comics for food, drinks and live music by Dancing Madly Backwards and Art and the Mekanics 
When: Saturday, May 2, 4:30 p.m. to midnight 
Where: The Governor’s Inn (78 Wakefield St., Rochester)
 
Other participating stores
Here are a few more area shops participating in Free Comic Book Day, according to the official website, freecomicbookday.com.
 
• Chris’s Cards & Comics (341 S. Broadway, Salem, 898-4151; 919 Lafayette Road, Seabrook, 474-2283, chriscardscomics.com)
• Collectibles Unlimited (25 S. St., Concord, 228-3712, collectiblesunlimited.biz)
• Comic Boom! (22 West St., Keene, 352-4261). Special events: special guest C.P. Wilson III, illustrator of The Stuff of Legend.
• The Comic Store (115 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 881-4855, the comicstore.blogspot.com)
• Comics Plus (865 Second St., Manchester, 782-8559, comicsplusnh.com)
• Enterprize Comics Etc. (222 West St., Suite A19, Keene, 844-432-6642). Special events: costume contest at 2:30 p.m. and special guest
• Escape Hatch Books (27 Main St., Jaffrey, facebook.com/escapehatchbooks
• Harrison’s Comics and Pop Culture (Hudson Mall, 77 Derry Road, Hudson, harrisonscomics.net)
• Krypton Comics And Pop Culture Emporium (103 Water St., Exeter, 658-2667, kryptonantiques.com)
• Merrymac Games and Comics (515 D.W. Hwy., Merrimack, 420-8161, facebook.com/merrymacgamesandcomics)
NeonBomb (710 Somerville St., Manchester, 505-8098, neonbomb.com). Special events: free food, raffles and door prizes, games, kids coloring and a costume contest
• Newbury Comics (777 S. Willow Plaza, Manchester, 624-2842; Pheasant Lane Mall, 310 D.W. Hwy., Nashua, 888-0720; 436 S. Broadway, Salem, 890-1380, newburycomics.com)
• Nex-Gen Comics (122 Bridge St., Pelham, 751-8195). Special events: guest local artists and cosplayers.
• Pop Culture (66 Route 27, Raymond, 244-1850, facebook.com/popculturenh)
• Shield Comics (1 High St., Meredith, 707-6067, shieldcomics.com) 
• Stairway to Heaven Comics (121 Water St., Exeter, 580-4682, stairwaytoheavencomics.com). Special events: local artist will be doing cartoon drawing lessons and sketches by request
 
Double Midnight Comics events 
Visit dmcomics.com or call 669-9636 or 715-2683 for details.
 
• Avengers screening
Join the Double Midnight staff for the theater’s premiere screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron. They’ll be doing trivia and giveaways as well as hosting artists who will do sketches for people in the lobby. Costumes encouraged.
Where: O’neil Cinemas (Brickyard Square, 24 Calef Highway, Epping)
When: Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m. 
 
• Pre-party
Join Double Midnight at the brewery for a $15 beer sampling and food from the Granite State Lunch Box. 
Where: 603 Brewery (12 Liberty Drive, Londonderry) 
When: Friday, May 1, at 5 p.m. 
 
• Superhero party
Kids can dress up as their favorite superhero and enjoy crafts, make-your-own ice cream sundaes, a movie and pictures with a superhero
Where: Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St., Concord)
When: Saturday, May 2, at 9 a.m. 
 
• Double Midnight Concord FCBD
Stop by the store for a meet-and-greet with local comic artists; kids face painting, coloring contests, and comic-drawing lessons with Emily Drouin, artist for the EPLIS series; costume contest; raffles and door prizes
Where: 67 S. Main St., Concord; 20 participating local businesses
When: Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
• Double Midnight Manchester FCBD
Stop by the store for signings and sketches by comic artists and writers; special guests Babs Tarr and Katie Cook; cosplay groups; famous vehicles; raffles and door prizes; costume contest; group costume photo at 2 p.m. at Gill Stadium
Where: 245 Maple St., Manchester
When: Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
• Afterparty
Join Double Midnight for $10 bowling, arcade, live music, themed drinks, raffles and more
When: Saturday, May 2, 7:30 p.m. through Sunday, May 3, 1 a.m.
Where: Spare Time & City Sports Grille (216 Maple St., Manchester)




Comics for everybody
Shops across New Hampshire celebrate Free Comic Book Day

04/30/15
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



If you’re strolling around on Saturday, May 2, you might bump into Spider-Man. Or Batman. Or a bunch of other superheroes. No, you didn’t stumble upon a Marvel movie set. It’s all in the spirit of Free Comic Book Day, an annual, worldwide event held on the first Saturday in May when comic book enthusiasts (and the comic book-curious) flock to participating shops for free comics and all kinds of comic-related fun. 

“If you’ve ever been interested in finding out more about comics, this is a day for you to walk in, get some free ones, try it out and see what the hubbub is about,” said Chris Proulx, co-owner of Double Midnight Comics, a comic book shop with locations in Manchester and Concord. 
Free Comic Book Day got its start in 2001 from California comic book store owner Joe Fields. Fields wanted to come up with a way to raise people’s awareness of comic books and their literary and entertainment value. The inspiration to give out free comics came after he saw Baskin-Robbins doing a “free scoop day.” Fields partnered with the major comic book distributors and publishers to make the idea a reality, and the event took off.
The free comic books are made specifically for Free Comic Book Day and are usually a sampling or preview of an existing title. There are 50 books being released for FCBD this year. Some stores carry all of them while others are selective. 
Some shops have taken Free Comic Book Day and turned it into a day-long comic-con-esque event. 
“We kind of blow it up into the biggest party of the year,” Proulx said. 
Double Midnight will have a full day of festivities at both its locations. The Concord store is partnering with Intown Concord to make FCBD a city-wide event. Twenty local businesses will be participating in some way, such as Granite State Candy, which will be hosting a local artist and giving a free scoop of ice cream to anyone in costume, and True Brew, which will have an Avengers-themed drink menu.  
The Manchester store will have several big events, including special guests Babs Tarr, the current Batgirl artist, and Katie Cook, creator of the hit webcomic Gronk and a writer and cover artist for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There will also be some notable vehicles on site, such as the 1966 Batcycle, the Back to the Future DeLorean and the The Dukes of Hazzard General Lee.
Double Midnight’s claim to fame is its FCBD costume contest, which is the largest in the U.S. Guest cosplayers will judge the contest and name the Best Costume, Top 3 Male and Top 3 Female costumes. Winners will receive passes to some of New England’s biggest comic-con events, and the Best Costume winner will also receive a $200 store gift certificate, a trophy and a plaque to be hung up at the store. Last year’s winner was Mr. Freeze from Batman. 
“[The costumes] are a fun way to keep everyone entertained while they’re waiting in line,” Proulx said, “and the kids always get a kick out of seeing Spider-Man or Mr. T or the Transformers.”
For the city of Rochester, it’s not just Free Comic Book Day. It’s the Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival. Each year, the city partners with Rochester comic book store Jetpack Comics to create New England’s largest FCBD event. 
“We do [FCBD] a little differently,” Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics, said. “We incorporate all of downtown into it. For about a mile and a half squared, there are hundreds of people down the streets and vendors. It is truly a festival.”
This year, the fest will have 21 participating businesses, 50,000 free comics to distribute, and an expected 8,000 attendees. 
Jetpack will have all 50 FCBD titles at the store, but with the huge number of people at the fest, they are limiting the comics to three per person, unless you arrive in costume, in which case you can get six. If you want more, you’ll have to visit the participating local businesses. You can also pick up a scavenger hunt card at Jetpack and get it stamped at each business to be entered into a prize drawing.
Among this year’s special guests are David Petersen, creator of Mouse Guard, and Jeff Kline, a writer and showrunner for more than 40 animated and live-action series including the animated Transformers TV series. 
For store owners, FCBD is a way to expand their customer base by introducing new people to the world of comics. 
“People are hesitant to pick up a new comic and drop money on it, not knowing what it is about,” Proulx said. “On [FCBD] they can get a sampling, see the artwork, see the story and say, ‘I like this one, I’m going to start reading it.’”
But FCBD doesn’t come without a price for the publishers and comic book shops. For DiBernardo, it’s a designated part of Jetpack’s advertising budget each year. 
“It’s free to the people, but everybody else involved is investing serious money to make the event happen,” he said. “We don’t do it expecting results that day, but we hope that it will put new eyes on our store and people will become repeat customers down the road.” 
While at one time comic books were a niche market with a limited audience, that is no longer the case. Proulx said he has noticed a wider diversity in comic book readership, particularly with female readers. 
“Fifteen or 20 years ago it was primarily male-dominated, but now we’re seeing more females, and the publishers are responding to that,” he said. “A few months ago Marvel introduced a female Thor and that has been selling like crazy.”  
And with comic-based movies and television shows gaining huge popularity, so are the comics that spawned them. DiBernardo said the comic book industry is at one of the highest points it’s been in a long time. 
“There’s an acceptance in the mainstream media now,” he said. “Since Disney bought Marvel Comics, then you add in shows like The Walking Dead that were comic-based in origin, there’s been a constant upswing in the industry. We’re in a good spot now.”
To see the full list of 2015 FCBD comics or find participating stores close to you, visit freecomicbookday.com. 
 
As seen in the April 30, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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