Nick Kelley, owner of Chimp’s Comix & Video Games, poses with some of the comics available Saturday for Free Comic Book Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Nick Kelley, owner of Chimp’s Comix & Video Games, poses with some of the comics available Saturday for Free Comic Book Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
If it’s the first Saturday in May, comic book fans can generally count on two things.

First, there’s a new movie out at theaters based on a comic book. This year, it’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Secondly, Saturday is Free Comic Book Day and Chimp’s Comix & Video Games is again participating.

Free Comic Book Day is a national event held the first Saturday in May to promote reading and comic books. It began in 2002, but was spread out over a number of weeks in 2020 and moved to August in 2021 because of the COVID pandemic. This year, it’s back to the first Saturday in May.

Chimp’s, 919 E. Winona Ave., Suite 4-6, Warsaw, celebrated its 15th year of hosting Free Comic Book Day in 2019, making this year its 18th year.

This Saturday, Free Comic Book Day is taking place at Chimp’s from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“There will be a bunch of free comics that you get to choose from - specific ones, predetermined for that day - two just for walking in. If you bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the local Salvation Army here, you’ll get an additional one (comic) for each item that you bring. So, if you bring in 10 canned goods, you’ll get 12  (comics) - 10 plus your two,” said Nick Kelley, Chimp’s owner.

In 2021, Chimp’s collected around 1,000 nonperishable food items for the Salvation Army. In 2018, the event collected over 1,650 items, and got to nearly 3,000 in 2019.

While Kelley said they appreciate any and all donations for the Salvation Army that they receive, “I would like to see it break the 2,000 at least” this year. “That’s what I’m hoping, but I don’t know what will happen. That way we’re kind of at least getting close to back to how it was.”

This year, there are 49 new comics to choose from, but with comics from the past couple of years added to the mix, people can choose from a total of 157.

Kelley said some of the highlights include three from Marvel - an X-Men/Marvels/Eternals crossover, Spider-Man/Venom and Marvel Voices; and from DC there are Dark Crisis, Galaxy of the Prettiest Star and Super Pets. There is a Walking Dead comic based off the video game starring Clementine, as well as Stranger Things, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Strangely enough, while there’s a Stranger Things comic, there’s no Doctor Strange.

There are a total of 18 new kid-friendly comics for a total of 50 if you count the returning comics from past years, he said. The new ones include Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Pets, Pokemon and Captain Underpants.

The comics are first-come, first-serve, so “once the boxes are empty of a title, they’re gone,” Kelley said.

While the event doesn’t start until 10 a.m., he said people often get in line before he even gets there.

“I had one guy, I think, got here at 6:30 a.m. one year,” Kelley said. “Usually, we tend to see most people get in line between 9 and 10 o’clock.”

During Free Comic Book Day, Chimp’s will have a sale going on all day. The sale includes 35% off back issues, 25% off signed comics and graphic novels, 50-cent comics are half off, $1 books are 25 for $20 and buy one get one 50% off on sealed action figures. Certain items are excluded.