As superheroes roamed Ely Square, Bryan Branch did what he could to grow the next generation of comic book lovers and superhero fans.
Saturday was also Free Comic Book Day, an annual event recognized all over the country where local comic book sellers open their doors to distribute hundreds of free comic books. Lorain Countians, well-versed in how the day works, began lining up just after 10 a.m. outside Branch’s Keith’s Comics shop on East Broad Street.
The store opened at 11:30 a.m. By 3 p.m., Branch had distributed more than 1,200 comic books, a total of 17 different titles.
“It is amazing to know they are willing to wait all this time and all I’m doing is giving out free comic books,” said Branch, who has participated for 13 years. “Comic books continue to have a fan base because everyone can relate to wanting to be extraordinary, a hero.”
Branch created a social media campaign with this year’s turnout. He used Twitter and Facebook to let as many people know about the day as he could. It also didn’t hurt that Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio took over nearby Ely Square and brought just about every popular comic book character to life.
Kyle Lemaire, who volunteered to help Branch, said the turnout was amazing.
“Most of the people who came are regular customers,” he said. “You don’t realize when they trickle in every day that so many people are dedicated, regular customers.”