On Saturday, May 3, Utah comic-book stores will join more than 2,000 stores across North America to give out free stories of superheroes.
Some 4.6 million comic books are expected to be given away on Free Comic Book Day, now in its 13th year.
Local store managers say to arrive early, as they’re used to long lines at opening for the free merchandise.
Among the 60 special titles available will be Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” DC’s “The New 52: Futures End,” and serials telling the ongoing stories of Archie, SpongeBob, Transformers vs. GI Joe, Hello Kitty and The Simpsons.
Events and appearances planned at local stores:
Hastur Games & Comics • 6831 S. State St., Midvale; 801-352-2605; hasturgames.com
Hours • 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Store manager Roland Williams says the shop will offer five free comic books per person until the supply runs out, as well as a sale on back issues for $1. Customers should plan to come early, as last year’s line at opening stretched through the parking lot. Other activities will include appearances by Marvel or DC comics superheroes, a live taping of the “Hello Sweetie” podcast from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and an appearance by Utah artist Chrissy Alberstson.
Black Cat Comics • 2265 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City; 801-461-4228; blackcat-comics.com
Hours • 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; free comics are likely to be gone by 2 p.m.
“It’s just going to be a madhouse,” says owner Greg Gage, who recalled last year’s line stretched through the parking lot to the back of the Shopko building. “Definitely get here early, because things go. We’ve got 40 or 50 free titles, so if you want one of each, come and get ’em.” Also appearing at the store at 11 a.m. will be artist Ryan Ottley, of Image Comics’ “Invincible.” Ottley has produced an original sketch cover for DC’s “Harley Quinn,” which the store will auction to benefit the nonprofit The Sharing Place. Also appearing at the store will be colorist Steven Oaks, who will make sketches and offer prints for sale.
Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection • 2043 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-485-6114; www.drvolts.com
Hours • 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (regular Saturday hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
In addition to giving away free comics (limit of five per person), owner David Landa says the store will have a 20 percent off sale. Activities will include appearances by members of the Mandalorian Mercs, the Star Wars costume club. At 2 p.m., Bryan Young, of the Big Shiny Robot blog of indie nerd news, will read and sign from his new book, “A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination.” “We see a lot of new people,” says Landa, who expects several hundred will be lined up at the store before opening. “We see a lot of families. A lot of people dress up. It’s a big party.”
Night Flight • 6222 S. State St., Murray; 801-263-1940; night-flight.com
Hours • 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Will play host to Brady Canfield, creator of “Wombat Rue,” and novelist Darren Lamb. Expect a line at opening; store limits free comics to one per person, store officials say.
Dark Soldiers Comics • 8585 S. State St., Sandy; 801-330-2068; facebook.com/darksoldierscomic
Hours • 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (regular Saturday hours from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)
Co-owner Yeny Valero says the store, which has only been open two months, will offer free comics (with a limit of four per person). The store will host appearances from Ghostbusters SLC club, who will bring the iconic car. The store will sponsor costume contests on its Facebook page and offer raffles to raise funds for Primary Children’s Hospital.
The Nerd Store • 3601 S. 2700 West, West Valley City; 801-964-4776; facebook.com/Nerdstoreut
Hours • 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Owner Charles Prows says the store will host Chris Hoffman and other writers of the locally produced Salt Lake City Strangers comics. Hold 322 — JC Carter, Robert Easton and J.M. Bell — will podcast live from the store, beginning at 10 a.m. Prows says they will give away five free titles per person. Customers wearing costumes will receive a 10 percent discount.