Organizers say the number of orders by shops that will give out free comics for the annual Free Comic Book Day event has topped more than 4.6 million this year, a record.
Diamond Distributors said Wednesday that orders have come from nearly 2,000 retailers across the country for the May 4 event, which is hosted by independent comic book shops and specialty stores in 46 countries.
The order figure is up 31.4 percent from 2012 when orders tallied 3.5 million, and up from 2011 when 2.7 million orders were received.
Fifty-three titles from publishers big and small -- Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, DC and 2000AD -- will be given away free.
Titles include "Atomic Robo," "Aphrodite IX" and "Bleeding Cool" magazine.