FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2003

For more information: Barry Lyga, Marketing Communications Manager, Diamond Comic Distributors, 410-560-7100 ext. 358 (info@freecomicbookday.com), John Kovalic at john@kovalic.com or Aaron Williams at aaron@nodwick.com.

LEADING COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS AND RETAILERS UNITE TO CELEBRATE AN AMERICAN ART FORM WITH

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

Timed to Coincide with the Highly-Anticipated X2 Movie, Comic Book Stores Give Away Popular Titles on May 3rd

NEW YORK — In the wake of what promises to be one of the summer’s most anticipated movie sequels, the comic book industry responds with a sequel of its own: Free Comic Book Day 2003!

In 2002, the inaugural Free Comic Book Day event was an historical landmark, uniting publishers and retailers for a day in which anyone could go to a participating comic book store and receive a free comic book. More than 2.5 million comic books were given away by over 2,000 participating stores around the world.

This year, on May 3, Free Comic Book Day returns, bringing together more than a dozen comic book publishers with more than 2,000 retailers. Conceived by comic book store owner Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, CA, the event has multiple goals: to celebrate comics’ rich history; to salute the medium’s energy, vitality, and boundless creativity; and, most importantly, to invite new readers to visit their local comics shops and see what comics have to offer.

More than 2 million comics will once again be given away to all visitors.

The event takes place one day after the theatrical premier of X2, the sequel to 2000′s smash hit X-Men, based on the top-selling Marvel comic book property.

“With public attention so focused on comic books, their characters, and their stories, it’s the perfect time to remind people of the enjoyment and quality storytelling available in comic books,” said Barry Lyga, a spokesperson for the Free Comic Book Day Committee. “From last year’s blockbuster Spider-Man and Oscar®-winner Road To Perdition to this year’s top Valentine’s Day hit Daredevil, through to X2 and the upcoming The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hulk, the entertainment industry has realized that comics have unique, compelling content…and the movie-going audience agrees in record numbers!”

As part of the promotion, the following titles will be available at participating stores:

* Archie & Friends (Wholesome children’s entertainment from Archie Comics)

* Frank Miller’s Robocop/Stargate SG1 (Avatar Press’s adaptation of two sci-fi favorites)

* Way of the Rat Special #1 (Martial arts fantasy from CrossGen)

* Rocket Comics: Ignite (The beginning of a new line of comic books from Dark Horse)

* Batman Adventures #1 (A new series of adventures for Batman from DC Comics, based on the character’s appearance on the Cartoon Network)

* Transformers: Armada (Dreamwave Productions’ version of the 1980s toy line, now hotter than ever)

* Metallix #1 (Classic super-hero action with a modern twist from Future Comics)

* Leave It To Chance #5 (Mystical adventure in the Harry Potter tradition, from Image Comics)

* Ultimate X-Men #1 (A special X-Men comic from Marvel Comics, developed and written with the movie fan in mind!)

* The Best of Dork Storm #1 (A special comic featuring Dork Tower by John Kovalic, Nodwick by Aaron Williams, ps 238 by Aaron Williams and SnapDragons by John Kovalic and Liz Rathke)

In addition, dozens of other comic book publishers will be contributing free titles, covering the entire spectrum of genres and styles.

Free Comic Book Day is supported by an extensive online initiative, point of sale posters, co-op advertisements, and a massive PR and advertising campaign. The official website for the event is www.FreeComicBookDay.com, which contains a search function to help readers find a participating store near them, features on the history of comic books in America, recommended reading lists, and a complete list of available free titles.

“Unlike video stores, bookstores, and movie theaters, comic book stores are usually independently owned and operated, with no national chains dominating the market,” said Lyga. “As a result, each store is as individual as its owner, and the breadth of stories available in the comic book field is similarly diverse. If there’s a book on a certain topic or in a particular genre, you can bet there’s a comic book, too. Readers should treat themselves to something new on Free Comic Book Day – we know people will be pleasantly surprised by the broad range of reading material available at their local comic book store.”

Artwork and review copies of comics are available upon request.

For more information and for referrals for interviews with publishers and/or retailers, please contact: Barry Lyga, Marketing Communications Manager, Diamond Comic Distributors, 410-560-7100 ext. 358 (info@freecomicbookday.com).

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is a joint effort of dozens of publishers, thousands of retailers, and Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of English language comics.

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