SANDUSKY - Comic book fans, mark your calendars for Saturday.
No, it's not because that's the day after "Spider-Man 3" is released in theaters. Make sure you're at your local comics retailer because it's the sixth worldwide Free Comic Book Day!
You heard it that right: For simply coming to a participating comic book specialty store, customers will get 10 free comics. Each kit contains an "Amazing Spider-Man" story and issue "zero" of novelist Brad Meltzer's relaunched version of the "Justice League of America" series.
"A lot of them are reprints," said David Baum, the owner of The Gamers Lounge in Sandusky. "We had about 50 people last year."
About 20 percent of the people who came to Free Comic Book Day 2006 had never been to Baum's business. He sees the event, the second in the Sandusky store, as a way to reach out to community members who can't afford to buy comics.
The Gamers Lounge has planned to host between 100 and 200 people this year.
Baum said the expected increase should be a result of customers now knowing The Gamers Lounge has established itself as a comic book specialty store. When the East Market Street business was called The Hero Zone in 2006, Baum was in the process of beginning to sell comics in addition to his previous mainstay, gaming supplies.
The first 200 people who come to the Sandusky business Saturday will get a free copy of a "Transformers" comic book published by IEW. The story covers events that take place before the film being released July 4.
"Everybody's talking about it," Baum said about the Michael Bay film. "I would say that 'Transformers' is getting more buzz here than any previous (genre) movie."
The business owner attributes the fan interest to the recent "technology jump" in special effects, similar to what audiences experienced when they saw "Star Wars" in 1977.
"Prior to that, there wasn't anything that spectacular," Baum added.
The first 100 people at The Gamers Lounge will receive a free, exclusive Batman Hero Clix figure. Baum described Hero Clix as a game based on action figures.
"It's a real nice sculpt," he said.
The Free Comic Book Day Web site boasts that "thousands of stores around the world have given away millions of free comic books to interested readers" during the five previous events.
Baum believes one of the reasons the comic book industry has boomed lately is writers such as Frank Miller are involved in making movies based on their work. He said Miller has been a "very huge success" in translating his graphic novels such as "300" and "Sin City" to the silver screen.
"Comics are a very important part of American literature and people are starting to recognize that," Baum said.