May 1st Free Comic Book Day

Always the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day was started by Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California in 2001 but did not officially get recognized until 2002. It is recognized by the North American Comic Book industry and has over 2,000 participant retailers in some 30 countries. The day is organized by Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest Comic Book distributor in the world. I don’t know if you have seen any of the more modern comic books but they certainly are more graphic in every way imaginable. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, the art work is fantastic, the message is often a bit more than children need to know. however, I sort of assume comic books aren’t for children anymore anyway.

How to celebrate – Go to your local comic book store and if they participate get a free comic. Compare the old comic books to the new ones. See if you can create your own comic book.

September 25th National Comic Book Day

Comic books officially got their start in 1933 when Famous Funnies came out. There were elements of the comic book printed in Japan in the 18th century and again in Europe in the 1830’s but it’s first actual recognition was the American contribution.

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I grew up on comic books, mainly the Classics Illustrated. These were comics based on novels or historical events, sort of a cliff notes for the real thing. I enjoyed them and learned a lot about history because most of them were accurate in the stories they depicted.

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My absolute favorite was one about a Sergeant serving in Europe during World War 2. It was fiction but I am sure a lot of what he went through was real to many.  Sgt. Rock again tried to represent things real people went through.

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Of course, most comics are about super heroes and monsters. Nothing wrong with that. I never really related to them because I knew man could not fly or see through walls, still they were (and are) entertaining and generally give us characters to look up to.

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However today, there are a lot of comic books that tell a different story. I am not sure what they are teaching the young but I have also found that the young don’t really buy comics all that much anymore anyway. 

How to celebrate – See if you can find a copy of your favorite comic book growing up. Read one of your kids comic books. Admire the artwork of a comic book, whether you approve or not it is quite good.