The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Free Comic Book Day at Double Midnight Comics. Courtesy photo.

 Free Comic Book Day 

When: Saturday, May 5
More info:
Comics to look for 
Ralph DiBernardo of Jetpack Comics and Chris Proulx of Double Midnight Comics share their recommendations to help you find the perfect comic. 
Most anticipated comic? 
DiBernardo: Amazing Spider-Man (silver). “Everyone is psyched for superstar artist Ryan Ottley to take the helm,” he said. 
Proulx: Avengers (gold). “It’s the perfect tie-in for fans of the movies, plus it has a preview of July’s new Captain America,” he said. 
Best comic for first-time comic book readers?
DiBernardo: For children, Comics Friends Forever (gold). For adults, The Mall (silver). 
Proulx: Amazing Spider-Man (silver). “It’s a good entry point for new readers,” he said. 
Best comic for kids?
DiBernardo: Star Wars Adventures (silver). “It’s going to be on every child’s and adult’s must-have list,” he said. 
Proulx: Pokémon Sun & Moon (gold) or SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies (silver). 
Best comic for teens?
DiBernardo and Proulx: Overwatch (gold). “It’s an insanely popular game series,” Proulx said. 
Best comic based on a television show or film? 
DiBernardo: Riverdale (gold). 
Proulx: Star Wars Adventures (silver).
Funniest comic?
DiBernardo: Bob’s Burgers (silver) or Bongo Comics (silver), based on The Simpson’s. “It’s as funny as the TV show,” he said. 
Proulx: Starburns Presents (silver). “It features stories by comedians Patton Oswalt and Dan Harmon, who did Rick and Morty,” he said. 
Best fantasy or sci-fi comic?
DiBernardo and Proulx: Relay (silver). “Zach Thompson delivers some off world excitement,” DiBernardo said. 
Scariest or best horror comic?
DiBernardo: The Only Living Boy (silver). 
Proulx: Shadow Roads (silver). “It’s a new horror western series,” he said. 
Comic with the best art?
DiBernardo and Proulx: Barrier (gold). “It tells a vibrant story using pictures and words,” DiBernardo said. 
Best superhero comic?
DiBernardo: Avengers (gold). “With the new Marvel movie dropping this week, everyone will want to read the Avengers,” he said. 
Proulx: Amazing Spider-Man (silver).
Participating comic book stores 
• Chris’s Cards & Comics, 341 S. Broadway, Route 28, Salem, 898-4151, and 919 Lafayette Road #8, Seabrook, 474-2283,
• Collectibles Unlimited, 25 South St., Concord, 228-3712,
• The Comic Store, 115 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 881-4855, find them on Facebook
• Double Midnight Comics, 245 Maple St., Manchester, 669-9636; 67 S. Main St., Concord, 669-9636, Special activities will include a costume contest, special guest comic book artists and door prizes. 
• Jetpack Comics, 37 N. Main St., Rochester, 330-9636, The store partners with the city of Rochester to host the Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival. Special activities including a cosplay competition, cosplay workshops, special guest comic book creators and artists, vendors and more will take place at the store and at various downtown locations. 
• Krypton Comics And Pop Culture Emporium, 103 Water St., Exeter, 658-2667,
• Merrymac Games and Comics, 550 DW Highway, Merrimack, 420-8161, Several special guest comic book artists will be at the store. 
• Midgard Comics and Games, 55 Crystal Ave., No. 21, Derry, 260-6180, Special activities will include cosplayers, a costume contest and special guest comic book creators and artists. 
• NeonBomb, 260 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 505-8098, Special activities will include a costume contest, a coloring contest, free snacks, door prizes and a Magic: The Gathering card game open house, where new players can learn the game and get a free, full-sized deck. 
• Newbury Comics, 777 S. Willow Plaza, Manchester, 624-2842; 310 D.W. Highway, Nashua, 888-0720; 436 S. Broadway, Salem, 890-1380, 
• Nex-Gen Comics, 122 Bridge St., Unit 3, Pelham, 751-8195,
• Pop Culture Cards, Comics, Collectibles, and Gaming, 66 Route 27, Unit B, Raymond, 244-1850, 
• Stairway to Heaven Comics, 105 Gosling Road, Newington, 319-6134, Several special guest comic book artists will be at the store. 

The comics are coming
New Hampshire celebrates Free Comic Book Day


 By Angie Sykeny
From superheroes like Spider-Man and the Avengers to TV cartoons like Bob’s Burgers and Spongebob Squarepants, this year’s Free Comic Book Day will have a comic for everyone. 
The annual, worldwide event, set for Saturday, May 5, brings comic book enthusiasts and the comic book-curious to participating comic book shops where they can choose from an exclusive selection of free comic books and enjoy comic-related fun like costume contests, door prizes, special guests and more. 
“The ultimate goal is to create a better awareness and understanding of comic books,” said Ralph DiBernardo, owner of participating comic book shop Jetpack Comics in Rochester. “They aren’t just for kids, they aren’t just for teenagers, and they aren’t just for adults. They’re for everyone, and everyone can find [a free comic book] they like.” 
There are 50 Free Comic Book Day titles this year, including 12 “gold” titles, which are available at all participating shops, and 38 “silver” titles, of which certain ones are available at select shops. Some are independent, stand-alone stories while others are stories that are part of an existing anthology series or samples of existing or upcoming comic books. 
“It’s a great way to see where all these pop culture phenomena that we see in other media, like the Avengers, actually come from,” said Chris Proulx, co-owner of Double Midnight Comics, a participating comic book store with locations in Manchester and Concord. “It’s a different way to experience those characters and to learn more about them.” 
Every shop does things a little differently; they may allow a limited number of titles per person, or they may let people take as many titles as they want. Shops may also put out leftover free comic books from previous years, if they have them. The only rule is that the comic books have to be free. 
“There are no strings attached. It’s not like you get a free comic book if you spend a certain amount of money. You just walk in and take it,” Proulx said. “At some shops, you can leave with a big handful of stuff.” 
DiBernardo said many comic book readers look forward to the event all year as a way to explore new series and genres without spending the standard $3 to $5 per comic book. 
“Our regular customers have paid their dues. They’re always in here buying comic books,” he said. “Free Comic Book Day is their chance to be on the receiving end.” 
The free comic books are just one part of Free Comic Book Day. Many stores also host comic con-esque events and activities. 
The largest celebration in the state is the Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival, a partnership between the city of Rochester and Jetpack Comics. Festivities will take place at Jetpack as well as numerous downtown businesses and venues. You can see what’s happening where and plan your route with the scavenger hunt map, available now on Jetpack’s website. 
One of the biggest attractions is the cosplay competition, where participants dress up as a character from a TV show or movie, anime, comic book or video game. There will also be special guest cosplayers, cosplay workshops and cosplay vendors. 
Double Midnight Comics claims to have the largest Free Comic Book Day costume contest in the country, usually with more than 100 participants. 
Cash prizes or store gift certificates will be awarded for the best costume overall and the top three men’s and women’s costumes. There’s a kids costume contest, too. 
“You could just put [the free comic books] out on the table, but that’s not engaging or exciting,” Proulx said. “We try to make it like a big party. We love comics, and we want to share that with everyone and get people excited about reading comics.” 
Some stores, including Jetpack and Double Midnight, will have special guest comic book creators and artists. Headliners at Jetpack will include Jeff Kline, co-developer and executive producer of Transformers: Rescue Bots and G.I. Joe: Renegades; Ed McGuinness, who has done work on Superman, Superman and Batman, Deadpool, and Hulk comics; Jim Lawson and Steve Lavigne, best known for their work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series; and Tom Sniegoski, writer of Vampirella Strikes. Headlining at Double Midnight will be Ben Bishop, who has done cover art for Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and G.I. Joe comics and developed Split Decision Comics, a new kind of interactive comic that lets readers decide the direction of the narrative; and Babs Tarr, best known for her work on the Batgirl series. 
While much of Free Comic Book Day is geared toward comic book fans, DiBernardo said, it’s also the perfect opportunity for comic book non-readers to see what the world of comics is all about. 
“It’s not like any other form of entertainment,” he said. “It’s not for everyone, but if you find a comic that you really enjoy, you’ll see that it can be a great escape.”  

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