As I did last year, last week I went to Free Comic Book Day with Magdon (my brother), and even though we didn’t really have much time this year, I think we got an even better set of stuff than ever before.
If you’re not familiar with Free Comic Book Day, it’s an annual international event, held on the first Saturday in May, when comic book shops give away copies of specially written comics released by all the big publishers and distributors specifically for the day. They’re easily identifiable because they’ve all got “FREE COMIC BOOK DAY” stamped on them. You can see a list of the comics on the website although not every comic book shop has every comic. In fact, many of them don’t have most of them! I’ve gone into the city on FCBD the last two years, so if you want to know a bit more, you can read one or both of my previous blogs about it.
Like I said, we were in a bit of a hurry this year, so we decided to alter out attack plan and hit the stores in order of previous performance, best to worst (of course). This meant All Star Comics, Classic Comics, Comics-R-Us and then Minotaur (because they suddenly decided to join the party again, sort of).
This is how it went:
All Star continued their family-friendly initiatives this year, which they started last year. Seeing as we wanted to go early anyway, we decided to go for their families-only first hour from 9-10 am. And although there were tonnes of people in the line already when we arrived at 9 (it reached almost to the end of the block), we got in within 15 minutes. When we got inside, they had set up two separate lines: one for the adults and one for the kids.
The kids line led to where they could pick up a pre-packaged bag of comics earmarked as “okay for kids”, as well as choose a few extras from a small selection of other kid-friendly comics. A fair few of them were, like last year, leftovers from some “Halloween ComicFest” I’ve never heard of. This line, unsurprisingly was much faster than the adult line where you got to choose 6 comics from a selection of, I’m pretty sure, every possible Free Comic Book Day comic for this year. It was a hard decision, made even harder by the fact that you knew other places weren’t going to have as good a range, but you had no way of knowing exactly what they would and wouldn’t have.
We walked out of there just before 10, me with my 6 comics, and Magdon with about 22 comics. We were pretty happy, especially when we saw the line that had formed of people waiting to get in. It was massive!
Classic Comics said on their Facebook page that if you were under 12, and you came in costume you’d get an extra bag of goodies, which sounded enticing, so we raced down there, with Magdon in his Batman costume so that we could get our comics and goodies before we had to get home. When we got there, we found that unlike All Star where they had people directing you at every turn, Classic Comics was going for a more laid-back, confused approach. There were people everywhere, and in such a small store, it was a squeeze just to look around to see the free comics, which were laid out on counters around the store. It didn’t help that most of the front of the store was taken up by artists doing portraits of people. There were a few signs that explained that you could get 3 free comics, or more with a purchase, but the process wasn’t very clear. The range was okay; they seemed to be pretty much just FCBD comics from this year, but not quite as much variety as All Star had. Once Magdon and I (mainly I, because Magdon couldn’t find any comics that particularly interested him here) had chosen what we wanted we had to wait in a line, like we were buying them for nearly 10 minutes just to get the comics put in a bag for us. On the way out, Magdon was presented his goodie bag, and it made it worth it! It had a few little posters, an Iron Man mask, a few old comic preview issues, a bunch of “Halloween ComicFest” leftovers and a cool Iron Man HeroClix figure.
Magdon had to go home after that, but I carried on a little more, not that I got that many more. Comics-R-Us was busy, but not as much as some years I’ve been when the line’s been out the door. They continued their traditional allowance of two comics each, although this year there was nearly exclusively old comics available. Out of the ~25 comics you could choose from, only ~5 were from this year. The rest were old stock, which was extremely annoying and disappointing. I actually held up the line because I couldn’t decide what to choose, because I already had most of the comics.
The final destination on my trip was the infamous Minotaur, which hasn’t participated in Free Comic Book Day in a few years, as far as I know, and wasn’t listed on the official website as a participant even this year. Although they had been pumping it up the week before, their Free Comic Book Day participation consisted of one woman offering one free comic per person, out of a range of ~6. That said, those 6 were some of the best options you could have had, but it was still pretty lacklustre. I got one, and got out of there.
Overall, it was a pretty good year. Even though I was pretty disappointed in Minotaur and Comics-R-Us, I didn’t really expect much better from Minotaur. Between me and Magdon, we managed to get about 41 comic (not including duplicates), as well as a bunch of other cool little things like a movie poster for the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy, and that Iron Man HeroClix figure. I think we’ll definitely take the same approach next year, because it was quick, effective, efficient and rewarding. The comics I’m most excited about are Steam Wars, the Red Giant 4-comic Bundle (not just because it’s 4 comics, but because they genuinely look cool) and 2000 AD.
So, that’s about it. Did you go to Free Comic Book Day? How many did you manage to grab? What’s your favourite comic? You can answer all these questions and more in the comments below, or through one of my other communication channels.