Valley comic fans will want to clear their diaries this weekend and make room in their collections. This year’s Free Comic Book Day takes place on Saturday, August 14th and gives geeks the chance to purchase one of 50 different commemorative editions that will be distributed in stores across the United States. Comparable to Record Store Day, Free Comic Book Day is an annual celebration of the sequential art form that has been going on for decades (this year is the 20th edition). It’s a big event for comic book lovers and shopkeepers alike. “It’s hands down one of the busiest days of the year for business,” said Drew Sullivan, owner of Ash Avenue Comics in Tempe. Last year’s edition did not take place because of the pandemic. “They tried to convert it to Free Comic Book Month, but it really wasn’t the same,” says Sullivan. Related Stories I Support Local Community Journalism Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of the New Times clear. click to enlarge Some of the free comics available on Saturday. Benjamin Leatherman This year, Free Comic Book Day organizers and shopkeepers are leading the way with the event but are wary of the recent flare-up of infections related to the Delta variant. Some, like Sullivan, put security in place to protect their customers. “We’re encouraging people to wear masks and will also have pre-made bundles of three comic books for people who don’t want to stay in the store too long,” he says. “It’s just something we can do to keep people safe and the COVID count down.” Phoenix New Times spoke to staff at nearly a dozen stores across the valley to find out what they have planned for Free Comic Book Day 2021 this weekend. Gotham City Comics and Collectibles WWE and ECW wrestling legend Sabu will sign autographs during Free Comic Book Day celebrations at Gotham City Comics, 46 West Main Street in Mesa. Autographs and selfies are $ 20 each, and custom Sabu prints by the artist are available for $ 15-20. The shop also features a performance by the local rock band Manic Monkeys, performances by local artists, and (as you’d expect) a variety of free take-away tracks. The opening times are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participation is free. Call 480-649-3065 for more information. Drawn to Comics Glendale’s Drawn to Comics, 5801 West Glendale Avenue, will have an in-store sale from 11am to 6pm. 7010 North 58th Avenue in Glendale, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (There is a limit of two comics per person.) Click to enlarge Ash Avenue Comics in Tempe is participating in Free Comic Book Day 2021. Benjamin Leatherman Ash Avenue Comics owner Drew Sullivan says customers can choose up to five titles from the Free Comic Book Day selection. Ash Avenue Comics, 806 South Ash Avenue in Tempe, is also set to have a big sale with 20 percent off everything in the store. Sullivan says they will also have pre-made bundles of FCBD comics available for those who prefer not to hop on and off quickly due to concerns about COVID-19. The opening times are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 480-858-9447 for more information. Surprise Comics Surprise Comics staff at 4763 West Cactus Road, 107 in Surprise will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day as well as their recent move to a larger location. They open at 10am on Saturday, an hour earlier than normal, and almost everything in the store is on sale. Hourly giveaways will run throughout the day and local comic artists Eric Hinsen, Albert Morales, Derrick Tipton and Scott Serkland will perform. Customers can also purchase “surprise boxes,” which contain three random comics for $ 5. The shop is open until 5 p.m. Call 623-213-7521. Fantastic Worlds Comics geeks in the northeast of the valley will stop by Scottsdale’s Fantastic Worlds Comics, 9393 North 90th Street, 119, from 11am to 6pm on Saturday to win free comics. According to the staff, more than 30 titles will be available. Call 480-256-1454 for information on the offers available. click to enlarge Indie titles for sale at Samurai Comics in Mesa. Benjamin Leatherman Samurai Comics This year’s Arizona Comic Mini Expo is held at Samurai’s locations in Mesa, 2639 East Broadway Road and Chandler, 1994 North Alma School Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. selling original art, graphic novels, and other works. The line-up includes Jay Photos, J. Gonzo, Meredith McClaren, Jim Hanna, Ben Mackey, and Michael Macropoulous at Mesa; and Ryan Quackenbush, Scott Godlewski, Val Hochberg, Ryan Cody, Matt Goodall, Ryan Liebe in Chandler. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monster Comic Books Every single FCBD title will be available from Tempes Monster Comic Books, 1803 East Rio Salado Parkway, # 104. However, you should choose wisely as there will be a limit of 10 expenses per person. The shop also offers bulk discounts of up to 25 percent based on how much you buy (e.g. a 10 percent discount is given on purchases of $ 10). They are also planning a $ 1 sale on multiple items. The opening times are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 480-508-4839. Greg’s Comics At Greg’s Comics, 2722 South Alma School Road in Mesa, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. you can choose up to three titles from the Free Comic Book Day offer (its abundance of waste paper) is also available for a 20 percent discount . Call 480-752-1881. click to enlarge The interior of Brandon’s Comics in Tempe. Brandon’s Comics Brandon’s Comics The staff at Brandon’s Comics, located at 1833 East Southern Avenue in Tempe, are offering up to five free titles. All vintage comics in their showcases, including classic Spider-Man editions, are discounted by 10 percent. Business hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 480-838-0467 for more information. Dreadnought Comics Every single Free Comic Book Day title is available for collection at Dreadnought Comics, 2734 West Bell Road, and customers can pick up one at a time while supplies last. There will also be various discounts. The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 602-293-3763. Justice Comics Justice Comics, 5434 West Glendale Avenue in Glendale, is offering discounted prices on prints, older editions and sets on Saturday. When it comes to free comics, owner Jake Justice says he will have a variety of the official titles available and customers can get one of each. “This usually ensures that most people get what they want,” says Justice. The opening times are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 602-872-7157.