(WJLA) - It's the day that has fan-boys and fan-girls alike tingling with excitement each year - Free Comic Book Day.
Each year, comic book stores across the world throw open their doors to the masses, and offer exclusive free issues of comic books for both adults and kids alike.
As we head into the summer blockbuster movie season, naturally, many of the comics available this year will feature exactly what graphic novel, comic and superhero fans will be looking for.
This year's free comic book offerings will include "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Rocket Racoon" comics from Marvel, a special edition of "Future's End" by DC Comics, "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" from IDW, "Avatar: The Last Airbender" by Dark Horse and more.
Special offerings for kids will include "Hello Kitty," "Scrooge McDuck," "Spongebob Squarepants" and the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," among others.
Not unlike popular events like Comic-Con, die-hard fans will often dress up like their favorite characters or superheroes, making the event fun for people-watchers too.
Christopher Lloyd, owner of Painted Visions comic book store at 3065 Golansky Blvd. in Woodbridge, Va., says Free Comic Book Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for his business.
"Some customers I only get to see once or twice a year, and this is the day I get to see them," he said, adding that the store regularly attracts at least 300 people to the event each year. "It's also a great day for the industry because regular customers will bring their wives, girlfriends, friends and kids that normally don't come with them. So it becomes a total family experience."
Lloyd said that, for the third year in a row, he will have a record number of comics to give away - at least 2,500, he said. This allows each customer to have the potential to get three to five free comics per person.
"And if we run out I always try to find something else to give them. I don't want anyone to leave without getting something," he said.
Lloyd said the event has been growing by at least 10 percent each year at his store, especially with the addition of his special sidewalk sale with discounted comics.
Some of the bigger comic book stores will even attract special guests like comic book artists who will answer questions from fans and even autograph copies.
Whether you're a long-time fan of comics or are thinking you want to check the world out, visit www.freecomicbookday.com and enter your zip code in the Store Locator to find participating stores near you.