ELYRIA — Go ahead; channel your inner Spider-Man.
On the eve of the theatrical release of the much-anticipated “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Elyrians will have multiple opportunities to embrace the wonders of comic books and graphic novels leading up to a first virtual comic book to take place in Ely Square and surrounding buildings.
The virtual comic book is the capstone to a weekend that starts 6 p.m. today at the West River Branch of the Elyria Public Library.
At that time, superhero enthusiasts can attend a create-your-own-comic workshop hosted by the Elyria Comic Book Initiative, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote literacy through comic books. The group’s founder, Ken Glanc, will lead the mini-workshop.
“Participants will get a basic overview of how to make a comic book,” Glanc said. “A paragraph will also be given to them that can be created into a series of panels and finally a comic book.”
The workshop is free and open to people of all ages. Those interested in attending the workshop should call the library at (440) 324-2270.
The ECBI will distribute free comic books. Passes good for two-for-one admission into Atlas Cinemas at Midway Mall also will be given out.
Friday, the day movie-goers will flock to theaters to see the newest superhero epic on the big screen, the festivities turn to Atlas Cinema. The theater will present an after-school screening of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Movie-goers can watch the movie 4 to 8 p.m. and enjoy appearances by Spider-Man and the Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio. Members of the volunteer group visit hospitals to raise the spirits of children who can’t get enough of the costumed characters.
More free comic books courtesy of the ECBI and the Carlisle Township Flea Market will be given out along with free caricatures, grab bags and prizes.
On Saturday, Keith’s Comics, a Broad Street landmark, will give out free comic books to celebrate National Free Comic Book Day. It’s an annual event store owner Bryan Branch said draws hundreds and introduces young readers to comic books. The store is open 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“With all the comic book movies going on, people who have never read a comic book or picked one up in years are coming in our store,” Branch said. “Comic books are expanding the market to reach more readers and to get kids interested in reading and literacy.”
And then the virtual comic book will allow residents to see the action come to life in downtown Elyria. The event kicks off 12:30 p.m. in Ely Square with the Ohio National Guard and local leaders celebrating a group of “super” kids. Mayor Holly Brinda will issue a proclamation honoring the youngsters.
The Elyria Public Library Bookmobile will be out with a comic book theme in additions to drawings, grab bags and prizes. Donna’s Diner will serve super meals.
Over two hours the kids will visit several area businesses to take part in live-action skits where they will team up with superheroes to save the day. To get the most out of the experience, spectators should bring chairs to take in all the activities around the square, said Brian Chulik, one of the organizers.
“We are going to have 35 heroes and villains,” he said. “We are excited and hope the day will bring smiles to a lot of people.”