National Free Comic Book Day creates traditions

NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Hundreds of people waited in line Saturday at North Syracuse comic book store, Comix Zone. The day begins when the doors open at nine, and the fun continues until close. Owner Greg Van Camp says National Free Comic Book Day is a worthy cause.

“Free Comic Book Day is a way to introduce, hopefully, new customers to the world of comic books, which basically spawns all the movies that are breaking records these days,” said Van Camp.

For many customers, this gift that comes once a year is their chance to enjoy what they love for free. For customer George Laribee, he is about to have a great day for a different reason.

“My girlfriend and I are expecting our first child, a baby girl, today. The lady has been induced as I am told, and in the hospital hopefully in a few hours about to give birth,” said Laribee.

When he first heard his girlfriend was due May 5, he quickly realized Free Comic Book Day is always the first Saturday in May. Laribee said his girlfriend was nothing but supportive of his decision to attend, something Van Camp said he is not surprised about.

“He’s brave, I don’t know of many men who would do it. But comic book people are very passionate and are hardcore, so it doesn’t surprise me, but he’s probably going to get his butt kicked a little,” said Van Camp.

Laribee already has big plans to integrate comic books into his daughter’s life.

“Every year on Free Comic Book Day, I’m going to come here and get the free comics, and I’m going to start a collection for her. Then when she’s like 10, 11, 12, whenever, give her a big old box of comics, here you go, here’s your own collection and here’s how you can get started in this nice amazing world,” said Laribee.

Since starting the business 23 years ago, Van Camp said seeing the family traditions has been his favorite part.

“I’ve seen kids who were 14 or 15 years old, who are now adults with their own kids coming in and passing on the tradition of comic books to their kids. I see the kids get excited to come in weekly to get books, so it’s been great seeing it go through generations. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue for future generations as well,” said Van Camp.

With the large groups of kids and young adults attending Free Comic Book Day this year, Van Camp’s hopes are in good hands.