BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Comic book stores across North Dakota celebrated "Free Comic Book Day" Saturday, joining the nationwide effort to bolster interest in the medium and its unique culture, and, as one local owner put it, "discover your alter ego."
Shops in Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks all took part and gave away free comic books to anyone who stopped in.
Jackson Bird, who has owned Action Jackson comics in downtown Bismarck for about a year and half, said business was booming Saturday. By 1 p.m. he said had already had about 100 customers in his little shop tucked away off Main Street. The store was offering 70 different titles customers could choose from.
Bird said while the day for some is mainly about bringing attention to independent comic book shops and stimulating interest new customers, for him, "Free Comic Book Day" provides an opportunity to get kids interested in reading.
"If it's a comic book or a graphic novel they pick up, and that's their first book they read, that's great," he said, "because eventually that'll lead them to read your legitimate literature, I guess you would call it."
But Bird wasn't downplaying the integrity of comics and graphic novels. He said the medium offers plenty of titles that are contain morals that are just as meaningful as any novel.
Beyond the free comics, stores also hosted trivia, costume contests and board games.