COMIC BOOK COMPANIES
Copyright 2002 Rob Stroud
[ May 1st 2002 ]
are expected to flock to theaters across the country
once the Spider-Man movie premieres on Friday.
Four rival publishers have decided to use the
increased interest in super heroes as an opportunity
to bring more attention to comic books. On Saturday,
they plan to distribute nearly 2 million free
comic books in all 50 states and 29 countries
around the world.
about 1,500 comic books will be available at Midgard
Comics in Charleston and at the Showplace 8 theater
in Mattoon. The free comics will feature Spider-Man,
Star Wars, Tomb Raider Lara Croft, and the Justice
League of America with Superman and others. Mike
Reinhart of Midgard Comics in Charleston said
comic books offer a wide range of stories for
children and adults. He also said comic books
have played a role in helping many children learn
to read, adding that his 6-year-old son is an
avid comic book reader.
professor Janet Carpenter, who works in childhood,
elementary and middle level education at Eastern
Illinois University, said she tells those who
are trying to get into the habit of reading to
start by finding reading material they enjoy.
She said comic books can easily fit into that
category. Comic books can help children and adults
transition from text with photographs and illustrations
to other forms of reading, she said. "I think
any time we can get our young people reading,
no matter what the context it is in, we should
encourage it," Carpenter said.
said the most popular of the four free titles
will likely be Marvel Comics' first issue of "Ultimate
Spider-Man." He said the "Ultimate" title retells
the early adventures of the wall-crawling super
hero in a way that appeals to new readers. "We've
had a big response to 'Ultimate Spider-Man' at
the store," Reinhart said.
has provided first issues of its "Justice League
Adventures" for young readers, Dark Horse Comics
has donated copies of the movie tie-in "Star Wars
Tales: A Jedi's Weapon," and Image Comics has
provided copies of a "Tomb Raider" story that
features Lara Croft's origin. Reinhart said this
is the first time to his knowledge that rival
publishers have teamed up to give away free comics
books. He said the idea was suggested by the owner
of a comic book store. "Diamond Comics Distributors
kind of picked the idea up and went with it,"
stated on its Web site, www.freecomicbookday.com,
that the give-aways will focus on independent
comic book specialty stores. Reinhart said "X-Men"
and other super-hero movies have been popular,
but their success has not carried over to comic
books. He said it is now hard to find comic books
outside of specialty stores and book stores, such
as Waldenbooks. "A lot of people don't realize
those movies got their start in comic books,"
Reinhart said. "It's kind of a medium that many
and Mark Waters plan to give the free comic books
at Midgard Comics, 102 W. Lincoln Ave., from noon
to 5 p.m. Saturday and at about 1 p.m. at the
Showplace 8 theater in Mattoon.