Attention parents: Free Comic Book Day is May 3

Comics

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Comic books began as a way for publishers to make money from idle printing presses by reprinting newspaper comic strips, but they have clearly taken on a life of their own. The industry celebrates this success each year and tries to bring new readers into the fold with Free Comic Book Day.

Free? Comic book? Day?

I’m there! And I’m dragging my little ones with me … or is that the other way around?

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Begin by choosing a participating store in your area by going here.

What will you be getting? One freebie per person. And there’s something for everyone — from Jughead to Hellboy — as the official list will tell you. So head on over and start planning your Free Comic Book Day strategy. There will even be giveaways of figurines from the Star Wars Collectible Miniatures Game, presumably this handsome devil shown on the official Free Comic Book Day 2008 Web site:

But as tempting as anything Star Wars is to me, as a huge DuckTales and Uncle Scrooge fan (and classic Disney Comics in general) I’m thinking this will have to be my pick:gyro.jpg

DISNEY’S GYRO GEARLOOSE: Scrooge and Launchpad join their gadget-man pal for a book full of inventive adventure! Gyro creates a super cheese in Carl Barks’ and Don Rosa’s “Pied Piper of Duckburg”; a money rescue system in “Cave of the Winds”; and several awesome — but not quite uncrashable — planes in William Van Horn’s “All Quacked Up!”

[“Gyro creates a super cheese?” Are they sure this is entirely appropriate for kids? But I kid.]

And I know what my 13-year-old Simpsons fanatic will be choosing this year:

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BONGO COMICS FREE-FOR-ALL: Sample The Simpsons and Futurama in the comfort of your own comic collection with this special pocket-sized Free Comic Book Day digest edition from Bongo Comics — boasting the best in humor comics!

But there’s more than comic books — Spider-Man himself will be patrolling many of the participating stores to make sure there’s no pushing or shoving or supervillainy afoot.

There will also be signings by many comic book creators, including Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Jim Lee (All Star Batman) and Marc Silvestri (Witchblade) — plus an appearance by the Arizona Ghostbusters! And the creators will be doing sketches for donations to the HERO Initiative.

So, set aside some time on May 3 to take the kids out for some free reading material and show your friendly local comics store some love.

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