Mike Camp (cq-MIKE CAMP) of Heroes & Villians at 4533 E. Broadway Blvd., sets up a rack of some of the 5,200 free comic books he will be giving away tomorrow (Saturday, May 1, 2010) at the store. Photo by David Sanders/Arizona Daily Star. #149171.

Free Comic Book Day seems almost too good to be true. But have no fear, comically curious. You can walk into any of the four participating shops in Tucson today and stock up on some light reading without having to pay anything.

In an effort to hook new readers, comic book publishers designate a roster of comic books to hand out for free at shops nationwide. These are new comic books, not unwanted old stock.

Included, but not available at every store, are "Toy Store," "War of the Supermen," "G.I. Joe" and "Archie."

"It's a good way to get new customers in," Fantasy Comics manager Matt Sams said. "It's nice to see people, especially children, coming in and getting something that will hopefully help them start to read or continue to read."

Fantasy is holding a sale, offering 25 percent off of everything in stock. R-Galaxy is also offering a buy-one, get-one-free sale on selected items.

At two of the four shops - Heroes & Villains and Fantasy Comics - you can grab a copy of every issue offered. At Charlie's Comic Books you're limited to four issues.

Charlie Harris, owner of Charlie's, says he places the limit to ensure customers don't walk away from his shop disappointed that all the free stuff is gone. Charlie's is also offering a raffle of comic books and action figures, as well as an artwork auction, to benefit Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse.

You might want to get to your comic shop early. Mike Camp, owner of Heroes & Villains, said he typically runs out of the free comics by 2 p.m. each year.

"I can't seem to meet demand," Camp said. "We want to expose people to as many kinds of comics as we can, and the only way to ensure that is to allow them to get one of every issue they want."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com