Free Comic Book Day3rd of May 2008. What are you going to be doing? Me? Well, hopefully I will be standing in the jam-packed forecourt of Stadium on Main in Claremont, right in front of the hordes of fans attending Reader’s Den’s contribution to the 7th annual worldwide Free Comic Book Day festivities.

For those of you who might be a little stranded in the dark, Free Comic Book Day was set up about seven years ago by Diamond Comic Distributors, one of the largest comic distribution groups in North America in order to try and attract new blood to the declining comic book market. The day is held on the first Saturday of May every year and basically a number of specially created, full length comic books are distributed and given away for free by all participating comic book shops.

As I mentioned, the idea is to get feet into the stores and the few dedicated comic book stores in South Africa have always made an effort to be part of the crowd. For years Reader’s Den has been Cape Town’s only dedicated source for all things comicdom and even when they were still located in their dodgy little store hidden down Long Street in Cape Town, they were supporting Free Comic Book Day and I was grabbing free comics from their shelves. Actually back in the day I was a huge comic book fan and would make countless treks across the boerewors curtain in order to get my monthly fix.

However, girlfriend issues forced me away from that particular hobby and apart from a couple of graphic novels I managed to save from that inferno, that particular fetish has remained dormant for quite some time now. Recently however things have started to look up as I have slowly been reintroduced to the world of the drawn word in the form of manga, a natural offshoot from my love of everything anime.

Nowadays I find myself paging through a comic book in CNA whenever I am in the store as well as picking up the odd issue that Paperweight might be flogging and am happy to announce that my love for comics is still as strong as what it always used to be. The only thing that has changed is the amount of people who think exactly the same as I do.

So seeing just how big the ‘underground culture’ of comics has become following the success of the last couple of Free Comic Book Days at Reader’s Den, I am pretty sure that this year I want to make an effort and be part of the fun.

Merkaba, Ryan – you guys in?

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