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PHOTOS: From Avengers to Star Wars, Free Comics Draw All Ages in Berkeley

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Mike Mika and his kids Ellis and Emerson, from Berkeley, look for Avengers comics at the Escapist Comic Bookstore in Berkeley on Saturday, May 5, 2018. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, which means comic bookstores across the country and in the Bay Area gave out free comics to anyone who comes in. Comic book fans of all ages gathered at The Escapist Comic Bookstore in Berkeley.

Escapist Comics specializes in vintage comics and graphic novels. On Saturday, local comic book artists set up shop to draw sketches and sign books as part of the festivities. Employees handed out free movie posters and limited edition prints; fans flocked to get their hands on free comics ranging from The Avengers to Pokemon, and many stuck around afterwards to flip through even more comics.

Despite the growing dominance of online marketplaces like Amazon, the store's manager, Paul Purcell, says people still enjoy the tactile experience of buying comic books.

Paul Purcill and Jessica Balboni run the The Escapist Comics Bookstore in Berkeley. Paul has worked here since the store opened in 2011.
Paul Purcell and Jessica Balboni run the The Escapist Comic Bookstore. Paul has worked here since the store opened in 2011. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Comics ranging from Star Wars to The Only Living Boy are free to pick up at the Escapist Comic Bookstore in Berkeley.
Comics ranging from Star Wars to The Only Living Boy were free to pick up at the Escapist Comic Bookstore. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Ché and his mom Sylvia Avalos are at the Escapist Comic Bookstore in Berkeley. When asked if comics have people that look like him in them, he said, "Hmmm, maybe one...with puffy hair like me!"
Ché and his mom Sylvia Avalos stand in line at the checkout. When asked if comics have people that look like him in them, Ché said, "Hmmm, maybe one...with puffy hair like me!"
Zachary Schwerin-Dari and his dad Aman Daro look at comics at The Escapist Comic Bookstore. Every year Zachary and his dad go to Free Comic Book Day and then to the library afterwards.
Zachary Schwerin-Dari and his dad Aman Daro look at comics. Every year Zachary and his dad go to Free Comic Book Day and then to the library afterwards. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Comic book fans browse the collection at the Escapist Comic Bookstore.
Comic book fans browse the collection at the Escapist Comic Bookstore. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Jesse Hutt is the cashier at the Escapist Comic Bookstore.
Jesse Hutt is the cashier at the Escapist Comic Bookstore. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Chris Ayan thinks comic books are having a resurgence - he says they're not "something to be kept in the closet about anymore."
Chris Ayan thinks comic books are having a resurgence - he says they're not "something to be kept in the closet about anymore." (Caroline Champlin/KQED)
Evan Horn of Berkeley flips through his comics in front of The Escapist Comic Bookstore. He draws his own Captain Underpants comics in his comic drawing class at Park Day school in Temescal.
Evan Horn of Berkeley flips through his comics in front of The Escapist Comic Bookstore. He draws his own Captain Underpants comics in his comic drawing class at Park Day school in Temescal. (Caroline Champlin/KQED)

KQED's Caroline Champlin contributed reporting to this story.

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