By Andria Barrios

On the first Saturday in May, Hollywood Comics & Collectibles, which opened in March inside Westfield Brandon Mall, recently held its own Free Comic Book Day.

Over 4,000 comics and bookmarks were given away as well as superhero themed cookies and cupcakes. Bob Layton, co-writer for Iron Man comics, even attended and held a story time for children. Hourly raffles and 20 percent off the entire store also made the event a huge hit.

Owner William Insignares hosted Free Comic Book Day in order to promote and encourage literacy and art through the comic medium.

“Some kids who got comic books had never had one before. It was such a joy to be able to see them hold one for the first time,” he said.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the event was the result of it. When Honorary Mayor of Brandon Michelle Hernandez heard about the event, she signed an official petition making May 7 Annual Free Comic Book Day. Over 2,300 comic book shops across the world will participate in giving away free comics annually in order to celebrate the world of comics.

Insignares, a 24 year comic veteran, also owns a store in Tampa called Demolition Comics.

“That shop is more traditional, but this one is the evolution of the comic shop; the next step. It focuses more on film. It’s a one stop shop with T-shirts and hats designed exclusively by comic artists, costumes and accessories, as well as new issues and back issues,” he said.

“It’s the right time for a shop like this,” he said, pointing out that eight movies are coming out this year that concern comics. Yet the store also brings customers back to their childhood with its vintage items and nostalgia. “It’s very family oriented. There’s nothing in here that wouldn’t be for a child’s eyes,” he said.

Insignares plans to expand the costume section of his shop by Halloween, with authentic outfits and accessories for kids and adults. The store’s next event, a Harlequin and Joker costume contest, will coincide with the Suicide Squad film debuting this August.

Hollywood Comics & Collectibles is located at 670 Brandon Town Center. For more information, visit them on Facebook or call 409-2022.

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