The return of the fanboy: Free Comic Book Day hopes to regain lapsed readers • Brooklyn Paper

The return of the fanboy: Free Comic Book Day hopes to regain lapsed readers

Graphic novels: Brooklyn Comics And More shop owner Gary Esposito wants to reintroduce lapsed comic book readers to the world of superheroes and speech balloons at Free Comic Book Day on May 4.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

In case you haven’t picked up a comic book in ten or twenty years — local shops are giving them out for free.

South Slope shop Brooklyn Comics And More owner Gary Esposito says that lapsed readers who wander into a store on Free Comic Book Day will get free copies of current comics — and hopefully fall in love with superhero stories all over again.

Crown Heights’ Tyler Abrams did.

Abrams says he quit comics 20 years ago as a kid when video games seemed cooler, and only recently rediscovered the magic when he picked up a copy of DC’s “All-Star Superman.”

But he added that walking into a shop was about as daunting as trying to infiltrate a Kree colony.

“It wasn’t like when I was a kid where I would pick up books solely based on how ‘awesome’ it looked,” he said. “I’m older, more picky and conscious about my decisions. Plus, there are so many titles and characters I’ve never heard of, and I didn’t want start reading things in the middle of their series.”

Fortunately, it’s easy for shops to cater to adults, since the industry is going their way, too, according to Park Slope comic book artist and Bergen Street Comics employee Mike Cavallaro. Most of the books that DC, Marvel, and other companies are publishing are aimed at adults, he said, whether they’ve stayed with comics all these years or have just returned. And a recent wave of title relaunches makes it easier for lapsed readers to jump on board.

Many of the participating shops on May 4 will also give readers a chance to meet authors. Bergen Street Comics in Park Slope will have Clinton Hill artist George O’Connor on hand to do sketches. At Galaxy Comics in Bay Ridge and Bulletproof Comics in Flatbush, costumed heroes will greet participants. Brooklyn Comics And More will have a face painter, a caricaturist, and “Popeye” artist Vince Musacchia.

Stores participating in Free Comic Book Day on May 4:

Bergen Street Comics [470 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 230–5600], Brooklyn Comics and More [493 Seventh Ave. between Windsor Place and Prospect Avenue in South Slope, (718) 840–5840], Bulletproof Comics [2178 Nostrand Ave. near Avenue H in Flatbush, (718) 434–1800], Desert Island [540 Metropolitan Ave. near Union Street in Williamsburg, (718) 388–5087], Galaxy Comics [6823 Fifth Ave. near 68th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 921–1236].

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