ELYRIA — Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, Super Hero Weekend flies into Elyria on Thursday and the second annual event is packed with more entertainment punch than before.
“It’s going to be the same as last year, but we’ve tried to up it a notch or two,” said Richard Hooper, one of the event organizers.
Hooper; Bryan Branch of Keith’s Comics; Nathan Herrington, general manager and marketing director for Atlas Cinemas; Ken Glanc, founder of the Elyria Comic Book Initiative; and the Rev. Tom Shumate, pastor of the Gathering Community Church at Midway Mall, are the masterminds behind this super good time.
In addition to having the mayor officially declare it Super Hero Weekend in Elyria, prize giveaways, advanced screenings of “Iron Man 3” and a host of other family friendly events, the organizers have planned a panel discussion for comic book fans.
Marc Sumerak, a writer for Marvel Comics; Michael San Giacomo, The Plain Dealer comics writer and author of “Phantom Jack”; Ken Glanc, of the Elyria Comic Book Initiative; and Mark Justice, Grammar Man creator, have all been invited to discuss their trade.
Costumed characters will be available for photos and there will be chalk drawings of superheroes all around.
Additionally, area restaurants like Ground Round, Harry Buffalo, and Donna’s Diner have signed up to offer super deals throughout the event. Donna’s Diner, 148 Middle Ave., is offering a Super Hero Breakfast and Super Hero Lunch Thursday through Saturday.
“We’re just trying to line up as much as possible,” Hooper said.
Last year’s event was a great success with a good turnout, he said. The organizers hope to slowly build on that over time.
Free caricatures will be offered throughout the weekend, just like last year. The Elyria Comic Book Initiative will be offering a comic book workshop for kids. And, of course, there will be free comics.
Each year, participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. Since its inception, Free Comic Book Day has given out more than 27 million free comics to nearly 8 million people. This year alone, more than 4.6 million comic books will be given away.
Last year, about 400 people lined up outside of Keith’s Comics in downtown Elyria for free comics.
“It is a great chance to read some comics and see what is available,” Branch said. “Comics engage the imagination.”
The goal of Free Comic Book Day is to promote the medium to new customers and celebrate independent comic book retailers and their stores.
This year’s list of free comics includes mainstream titles such as: “The Walking Dead,” “SpongeBob,” “Sesame Street,” “Superman,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Star Wars,” “The Smurfs,” “The Simpsons,” “Archie,” and the launching of a major Marvel Comics event called Infinity.
All of the organizers share a love of comics and saw the resurgence of interest in the medium in large part to movies such as “Captain America,” “Iron Man” and “The Avengers” as an opportunity to do something for the community.
“They are family oriented, and people like them,” Hooper said. “It’s fun. Fantasy. With things like 9/11 and Boston, sometimes you really wish superheroes were real and they could stop these things from happening. Maybe they can’t really save people, but maybe in a small way, they can help out.”
Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.