(USA Today) Want to see the next great movie or TV show? You'll probably find it first in your local comic-book store.
And Saturday is the best day for folks to stop by because it's Free Comic Book Day, the annual event where fans and newcomers alike can sample a variety of stories, from superhero comics and horror tales to kid-friendly adventures and classics.
On-screen fare such as the TV show The Walking Dead, the upcoming movie Edge of Tomorrow and nearly every superhero film in theaters this summer — plus projects in development such as Preacher,Constantine and iZombie — all came from comics, so now's a great time to spot the next potential breakout title.
On Saturday, 2,000-plus shops (visit FreeComicBookDay.com/storelocator) will give away more than 4.6 million comics representing 60 titles, according to Diamond Comics Distributors. To match the offerings with your personal pop-culture taste, use this handy guide:
If you like: The Big Bang Theory
Try: Epic. Eric's a dweeby teen who's picked on relentlessly in school but then gets some great super powers — which turn off when he's in the presence of a pretty girl.
If you like: Saturday morning cartoons
Try: Rocket Raccoon and Guardians of the Galaxy. The talking raccoon (who'll be seen on the big screen on Aug. 1 with Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy movie) has an all-ages solo adventure in the first title; in the other he teams up with his fellow Guardians Star-Lord, Gamora and best pal Groot.
If you like: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Try: The Intrinsic: Singularity Zero. An odd group of specialists — including an ageless demon hunter, horned monster, private eye, telepathic ballerina and a bio-energetic woman in a rubber suit — deal with supernatural threats to Earth.
If you like: Animal Planet
Try: Scratch 9. A cat named Scratch has the ability, thanks to a mad science experiment, to call upon one of his nine lives to help on his various adventures, including a team-up with the president.
If you like: The Walking Dead
Try: FUBAR: The Ace of Spades. Zombie drama meets military operations in theFUBAR franchise, and Ace of Spades puts soldiers having to deal with enemies alive and undead in the Middle East.
If you like: Once Upon a Time
Try: Hatter M.: Far from Wonder. The Mad Hatter (of Alice in Wonderland fame) is reimagined as a 17th-century action hero and bodyguard who ventures to our world to find a missing princess.
If you like:Transformers movies
Try:Transformers vs. G.I. Joe. Those psyched about the film Transformers : Age of Extinction (out June 27) can get their '80s nostalgia fix with a battle that pairs the heroic G.I. Joe special-ops team and the Autobots against the Decepticons and their equally evil pals in Cobra.
If you like: Where the Wild Things Are
Try: The Adventures of Jellaby. A pair of stories by Kean Soo offer a taste of the award-winning shenanigans involving 10-year-old Portia and the lost monster she finds in the woods one night.
If you like: The Dirty Dozen
Try: Uber. The brutal historical fiction imagines the Nazis staving off the Allies in the latter days of World War II by unleashing superpowered soldiers, kicking off a different kind of arms race.
If you like: Sons of Anarchy
Try: Sherwood, TX. A Western-tinged modern take on the Robin Hood legend finds Navy soldier Rob Hood diving into the world of biker gangs.
If you like: The Lord of the Rings
Try: Past the Last Mountain. Mankind has defeated various fantasy creatures and incarcerated them, although it doesn't stop a troll, a faun and a dragon from escaping their prison and beginning a quest to find permanent sanctuary.
If you like: Blade Runner
Try: Entropy. In a dystopian future, the government has banned media it deems dangerous for the mind, and a class war is brewing between those who hold all the power and those who don't.
If you like: Terminator
Try: Futures End. DC Comics teases its big future-set weekly series with a zero issue chock full of bleak landscapes, aging heroes and mechanized terrors.