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Comic Book Free-For-All 

If you've never stepped foot in a comic shop before, there's no better time to right that wrong than Saturday, May 7, when specialty stores around the world celebrate Free Comic Book Day, an annual event aimed at getting new readers to come in, lapsed readers to come back and regular readers excited. Special-edition comics crafted by all of the big publishers will be given away to anyone who walks through the door, although availability may vary from shop to shop, and there's usually a quantity limit. Spider-Man, Green Lantern and Archie's Betty and Veronica are among the characters highlighted this year, but my pick goes to publisher Drawn & Quarterly with Summer Fun, a compilation of comics by the legendary John Stanley (1914-1993). Stanley is best remembered for his work on Little Lulu and Tubby in the '40s and '50s and today is recognized as one of the few true masters of the medium. No cartoonist better exemplified the core appeal of comics, having created timeless stories that are exceedingly clever, universally funny and, rarest of all, that still resonate with kids and adults alike. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Star Clipper (6392 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-9110 or www.starclipper.com) celebrates in a big way, with bands performing live on the premises and superheroes on patrol to ensure an even distribution of freebies, as well as local artists Kevin Wolf (Pangaea) and Mike Harvey (Knucklebuster, See You Next Wednesday) onsite signing books. For a complete listing of participating comic shops, go to www.freecomicbookday.com.
Sat., May 7, 2011

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