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Free Comic Book Day to bring special issues, writers and artists

BY JASMINE PUTNEY | APRIL 30, 2015 3:30 PM

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In the glossy pages of a comic book exists a world of characters who have flourished under the care of writers and artists. From action-packed issues featuring colorful crusaders to comedic portrayals of summer camps to suspenseful crime dramas, these books sit on shelves waiting to guide readers through an unforgettable experience, full of endless possibilities.

On Saturday, Daydreams Comics, 21 S. Dubuque St., will host Free Comic Book Day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Store owner and manager Zach Power said he hopes even people with little knowledge of the comic-book universe will come to “test the waters.”

“It’s not all capes and tights, which is what most people think of when they hear ‘comic book,’ ” he said. “Once you can get people to realize there’s so much more that the comic book industry has to offer, it’s pretty easy to find something that will be appealing to them to check out.”

Though Daydreams Comics has only recognized Free Comic Book Day since 2009, the nationwide event has been held since 2002 during the first weekend of May. In celebration of the art form, participating comic publishing companies print a specific comic book for the event and then sell it to retailers at a reduced rate.

Power said he always orders all 50 of the different books produced for Free Comic Book Day to ensure there is something for everyone at his shop.

“Each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “It makes for an extremely long and busy day, but it’s awesome to see the store jam-packed with people of all ages, chatting with each other or our guests, and hopefully walking out the door with their new favorite comic."

Power said the store strives to maintain an inviting appearance that is both well-stocked and well organized. Because of this, he said, Daydreams Comics has been able to maintain a high level of support from both the Iowa City community and visiting guests.

One such supporter is University of Iowa student and Daydreams regular Robert Parzynski. Parzynski, a member of the newly created UI Comic Book Club, said he looks forward to what Free Comic Book Day has to offer this year. 

“I feel like comics, like books, are an escape from the stressful lives that people live in,” he said. 

Free Comic Book Day is much more than an opportunity to scan the shelves for new reading material. Daydreams Comics will also host “Lumberjanes” artist Brooke Allen, D.C. Comics writer Kyle Higgins, and Image Comics C.O.W.L cowriter Alec Siegel. These visiting professionals will be sharing their experiences as comic book creators.

Before he worked his way into the field of comic book writing, Higgins was a student at the UI studying film and creative writing. Though he later transferred to Chapman University in California, he said his experience at the UI encouraged him to become more confident in his writing which ultimately led to his current success. 

“I was finishing my senior thesis film, The League, which was designed as a superhero noir. I put the whole thing online via Vimeo and the link started to spread around the comic book industry,” he said. “The next day Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief, reached out to tell me how much he enjoyed the film. I asked, somewhat on a whim, whether Marvel was ever looking for new writers and Joe offered to introduce me to one of his editors.”

Nearly 10 months after he started working for Marvel, Higgins was given the opportunity to work on a Captain America comic. That led to the Avengers, which led to his current work on Batman and C.O.W.L. Higgins said the best part about his job is the collaborative effort from artists, writers, and editors as they are all creatively inspiring.

“To this day, I tell people if it weren’t for my time at Iowa, I don’t think I’d be writing for a living,” he said.

WORDS

Free Comic Book Day
When: Saturday, 10 a.m.- 7p.m.
Where: Daydreams Comics, 21 S. Dubuque
Admission: Free


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