Halloween ComicFest to haunt comic shops this weekend

On Saturday, comic shops across North America and around the world will celebrate Halloween ComicFest, which has taken on the dimensions of a second Free Comic Book Day. This is a relatively new event — the first was held in 2012 — but according to the HCF website, more than 1,400 stores participated last year, attracting 100,000 customers. The event is run by a group of retailers, publishers and suppliers, with Diamond Comic Distributors handling publicity and a lot of the logistics.

This year's comics lindup includes 12 full-size comics and seven minicomics, although all retailers may not offer all titles. It looks like most of the comics are repackaged first issues of series that have been around for a little while, like Afterlife With Archie, Rachel Rising and Scooby-Doo Team-Up — all fitting choices for Halloween reading. Zenoscope offers a reprint of its first Halloween Special, and Avatar Press has the first issue of Max Brooks' Extinction Parade.

Aspen Comics goes the extra mile with a new comic, Fathom: The Adventures of Ernie, an all-ages tale packaged with puzzles and other activities. Action Lab's Hero Cats comic looks like new material as well, as does IDW Publishing's Angry Birds minicomic. There are a couple of game tie-ins: Viz Media has The Marhawa Desire, a prequel to the Resident Evil 6 game, and Dark Horse offers the more kid-friendly Plants Vs. Zombies: Timepocalpyse, a new stand-alone story.

It looks as if a number of comic shops are running with the idea, judging from how often it pops up in my news feeds; there's also a Facebook page and Twitter promoting the event. Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio, Texas will host an appearance by San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan, who recently graced a Punisher variant cover, along with a replica of the car from the comic. Horror directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Boyd will drop in on Beyond Comics in Frederick, Maryland. And lots of shops are hosting parties, costume contests, and appearances by costumed superheroes.

To find a participating store near you, check out the HCF Comic Shop Locator.

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