Comic World, a store that has seen several homes in the Largo area since its inception in 1982, is celebrating its recent relocation to West Bay Drive on Saturday.
Not coincidentally, the opening corresponds with Free Comic Book Day, a nationwide event created by industry insiders in 2002 as a way to promote comic books and reading in general.
Pat Potter, owner of Comic World since 1992, said he hopes the event spurs interest in a genre that has been widely overlooked in recent years, despite a string of successful comic-related films.
“People assume when a comic book movie like the Avengers or Thor or Green Lantern comes out, we sell a lot of comic books,” Potter said. “But that doesn’t happen. I wish it would, but it doesn’t.”
To help promote comic books and his new store, which opened in December after three years in the Trinity Plaza on East Bay Drive, Potter is hosting a pair of events on the next two Saturdays, featuring legends of the comic world.
“This Saturday, the guys from Artistic License Studios will be here, as well as the Suncoast Ghostbusters crew, and everyone who comes in will receive a free comic," he said.
“On Saturday, May 12th, we will have a number of honored guests including award-winning writer and animator Nick Cuti, actor Joel Wynkoop, Florida-based film producer Andy Lilino as well as the people from Artistic License and Suncoast Ghostbusters,” he said.
Each of the events will feature sales of 25-50% off comics, toys, DVDs and other items, and the guests will be signing autographs as well as producing original sketches on-site.
Potter believes comics can be a gateway for kids to get interested in reading and other school subjects, which is what happened with him. And if Free Comic Day can inspire someone like comics inspired him, it’s well worth it.
“Reading comics is educational," he said. "They use complex, real words that force kids to learn. And if you can read, you can learn other things like math and science.
“I’d love to see kids getting interested in comics again.”
Address: 1901 West Bay Drive, Suite 9
Phone: 727-656-5000 or 727-519-3326
Event hours: Noon-8 p.m. Saturday, May 5 and Saturday, May 12