The event features more than just comics, too. It's also a chance for the artists and writers who pen the tales of superheroes, zombies, rodent warriors and more to meet their readers and fans.
Joe Hill, the creator of IDW's "Locke & Key" graphic novels likened the event to a "Geek Christmas" celebration.
"Comic book stores are cathedrals built to pop culture, and Free Comic Book Day is a chance to convert as many folks to the faith as possible," he said. "Stepping in to a great comic book store is like stepping into the shared imagination of America itself, in all its giddy, bubblegum-colored glory. It's a trip even non-comic book fans often find rewarding and Free Comic Book Day is the perfect excuse to make the pilgrimage."
Hill is taking part in the event for the first time and will be signing copies of his book at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, N.H.
"It's also a chance to spend an afternoon in a place that closely mirrors the inside of my own head. My brain is a lunch box packed with old comics, decoder rings and Bettie Page playing cards," the writer said. "Comic stores aren't too terribly different."
Dan Parent, who writes and draws Archie comics, said the event's pull on new readers is palpable.
"And even though all of them may not become avid comic readers, a portion of them will continue to read comics even on a casual basis," he said. "And for some kids who aren't crazy about reading at a young age, this is a great way to get them started. I was one of those kids many years ago!"
Associated Press writers David Fischer in Miami, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Jenny Stoffel in Berlin contributed to this report.
Matt Moore can be followed on Twitter by searching (at)MattMooreAP.
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