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Comics free-for-all

Earthworld's Free Comic Book Day festivities have been growing ever since. In fact, they're so elaborate that Katisch even has fliers advertising them at his store.

This year, members of the Green Lantern Corps will be on hand, along with author Ron Marz, who's written "Green Lantern," "Witchblade" and "Dragon Prince" and artist John Hebert, whose work includes "Punisher," "Ghost World" and "Captain Action."

"It's kind of cool to see someone draw," Glindmyer said, joking that like every kid who likes comics, he's tried over the years to draw his own, but watching a professional like Hebert at work is completely different.

Of course, there are a lot of comic book aficionados who don't need a promotion to draw them to the stores. Katisch said that in addition to Electric City's regular customers, there are those who turn out when there's a big happening in the comic world, such as when Captain America died or when President Obama was recently featured on the cover of "The Amazing Spider-Man."

"People have no problem finding me," Katisch said. "We're very much a destination."

Still, a love of comic books has to start somewhere, and that's the idea behind Free Comic Book Day.

"It gets comics in kids' hands," said John Belskis, whose Ballston Spa store, Excellent Adventures, will be giving away books from noon to 5 p.m.

Belskis tries to get as many comics in kids' hands as they're interested in, while giving adults a couple apiece. But he noted people should arrive early for the best selection.

"We go through them pretty quickly," he said. "We probably go through 80 percent in the first couple of hours."

Other local participating stores include Paragon Comics in Schenectady, Zombie Planet in Albany and Spa City Comics in Saratoga Springs. For a complete list, visit www.freecomicbookday.com. ""

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