ROCHESTER — Downtown Rochester, Manchester and Concord are expected to be swarming Saturday with stormtroopers, pirates and superheroes as people of all ages celebrate National Free Comic Book Day in style.
While more than 5,000 people — including many costumed characters — attended last year, organizers expect to see even more visitors participate. The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Rich Brunelle, store manager of Jetpack Comics of Rochester.
“We’re expecting a bigger turnout,” Brunelle said, adding guest artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, creators of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series, will be a huge draw.
The pair, who will appear together for the first time in two decades, will be available to sign a special Rochester Cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the Exhibition Hall at the Knights of Columbus, along Route 125.
Meanwhile, crowds are expected to converge on the comic book store at 37 N. Main St. to collect maps and scavenger hunt cards, which are also available online at www.jetpackcomics.com. From there, they’ll visit up to 20 businesses and organizations throughout the area.
The following locations will participate in the event: Skele-Tones, Collec-Tiques, The Portable Pantry, Studley’s Flower Gardens, The Garage at Governor’s Inn, Dos Amigos Burritos, Rochester Public Library — courtesy of Norm Vetter Foundations, Tri-City Bicycles, Project Pride, Fat Tony’s Italian Grill, Lilac City Grille, Happy Pappy’s Country Store, Cocheco Equipment Company, Bella Fresca, The Public House, The Sticker Station, At Peace Body Arts, First United Methodist Church and Union Street Antiques and Collectibles.
Additionally, members of Neville Companye Medieval Reenactment Troupe will set up at Happy Pappy’s Country Store on Portland Street while Laurel Me’s Cottage on North Main Street will offer facepainting and hula hoop lessons. Patrons may also pose for a picture with the “Back to the Future” DeLorean car and lifelike statue of Michael J. Fox for a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation, according to a release.
Double Midnight venues
The festivities in Rochester draw crowds from around the region and capture the awe and attention of other comic book stores in the state, according to Chris Proulx, co-owner of Double Midnight Comics in Manchester and Concord.
After opening their second location last year, Proulx said Double Midnight will host events at its original store at 245 Maple St. in Manchester and the new one at 67 S. Main St. in Concord on Saturday.
“It was actually so big we moved it outside into a tent,” Proulx said.
Participants can earn extra comic books by donating to the N.H. Food Bank, enjoy a pulled pork and chicken barbecue and meet members of four costumed organizations: the 501st Stormtroopers Legion from “Star Wars,” the New England Brethren of Pirates, Ghostbusters of New Hampshire and the Steampunk Society of Swans.
“Everyone walks away with a stack of comics,” Proulx said, adding this is a great way to discover new comics, reinvent established characters or promote upcoming movies, like the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
For more information, go to www.dmcomics.com.