A new comic book series is serious business The release of a new comic book series can provide much pleasure and anticipation for comic book and graphic novel aficionados. A new comic book series – such as an offshoot series from a popular franchise – can inspire comic book fans to blog wildly, host release parties and even camp outside their favorite comic book stores for hours or days at a time to be among the lucky first to lay hands on issue No. 1 of a brand new series. Comic books no longer serve as mere novelty reading for young children; thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of faithful grownup fans take their comic books very seriously, and they show it in dollar signs. In 2012, the world's largest retailer of comic books, graphic novels and related merchandise reported sales of around $475 million to U.S. shops that vend comic books. Huge comic book conventions take place throughout the world, paying respectful tribute to comic books and graphic novels, their creators and their characters. One of the most famous U.S. conventions, Comic-Con, takes place every year and annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors. These comic book devotees pay homage to the world of comic books, science fiction and related media. Major Hollywood studios host presentations at this granddaddy of all comic book conventions, marching out movie stars and offering sneak peeks of the year's coming attractions. Comic book creators, artists and the like are in attendance, and attendees young and old show up dressed as their favorite comic book and graphic novel heroes. Comic books even have their own international day of celebration. "Free Comic Book Day" is hosted each year on the first Saturday in May at comic book stores throughout the world. Shops host parties featuring contests, prizes, and actors and actresses decked out as beloved comic book characters. They also give away comic books for free. At the center of all this devotion is a love for comic books and the cultural universe they have created. For outsiders looking in, this love affair or sometimes bordering on obsession may seem juvenile or silly; but don't ever tell them that. If you do, you might find yourself at the center of a Justice League smack-down!