If you spot Batman or Captain America in the CBD this weekend, don’t panic – keep calm and find your nearest comic book store before you miss out.

Brisbane’s pop culture fans are set to descend upon the CBD this Saturday 3 May for the annual Free Comic Book Day.

On the first Saturday of each May, faithful comic fans flock to the city dressed as their favourite characters as comic shops, bookstores and libraries hand out thousands of free comics on a first-come, first-served basis.

Free Comic Book Day began in 2001 when an American comics retailer hoped to reach out to people unfamiliar with what was mostly seen as a niche hobby.

Ian Gould, General Manager of Ace Comics and Games Queen Street Mall says since that time he has seen comics become part of the cultural mainstream.

“TV shows such as the Walking Dead and movies such as Scott Pilgrim have brought a new readership and marketplace to comics,” says Gould.

“Brisbane is a HUGE geek town. There are as many comic shops here as there as in Sydney and Supanova Brisbane attracts more attendees than any other Supanova convention.”

This year, thousands of fans are expected to queue outside Brisbane’s three Free Comic Book Day participants: Ace Comics & Games in Queen Street Mall and the Annerley Arcade, and Elizabeth Street’s Comics ETC.

The annual event also coincides with the success of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Australia’s No. 1 movie release over the long weekend, as well as Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the highly-anticipated sequel set to be the highest grossing April release of all time.

“The Marvel movies have brought new readers to comics as people want to see the original sources of those stories,” continues Gould.

“It’s also created a much more diverse audience – our clientele is almost exactly split 50-50 between me and women, and there are comics for people of all ages from The Smurfs for younger children, through to reprints of classic material from the 1940s onward.”

For more information on Free Comic Day and how to find a participating retailer near you, please visit the website.