Omar Sharif Al Ali of Geeky Lizard Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: If you are a comic book fan, you are in luck. May 6 is Free Comic Book Day and two Emirati friends in Dubai are marking the occasion by giving away hundreds of comic books for free to any one who visits their stores.

While Sawed Abdul Rahim Arjumand, 26, will distribute some of the most sought comic titles at his newly-opened bookstore Comic Stop in Jumeirah, Omar Sharif Al Ali, 35, will hand out scores of popular comic books at his Geeky Lizard store, also in Jumeirah.

The Free Comic Day is celebrated worldwide on the first Saturday of May. A brainchild of retailer Joe Field, the annual event, began in 2002 when the owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff suggested the idea to retailers, publishers, and distributors.

Over the past 16 years, retailers have given away over 12 million comic books and the numbers are fast growing.

“This year Marvel is giving away Guardians of the Galaxy, while Archie Comic Publications is distributing Betty and Veronica editions. It is a nice way to encourage people to read comics especially those who are not into this genre. So we decided to do something along similar lines for comic book fans in the UAE,” said Sawed.

Omar, who will be parting with his private collection, said the books are very dear to him. “I collected them over 15 years and some of them have a great emotional value for me,” added Omar whose collection includes X-Force, Fables, Superboy, Generation X, Aliens, Predator among others.

Ali said movies and television serials like Ironman, Batman, Avengers and, more recently, Doctor Strange have played a key role driving sales of comic books.