For various reasons, mainly involving Uni, my brother and I were only able to get to two comic book stores this year on Free Comic Book Day: Minotaur and Classic Comics. Thus this won’t be a very comprehensive review like in previous years, just a quick rundown of what we found this year.
Given that we only had limited time, my brother and I decided that we could only get to one or two stores this year, and we debated which store to try and get to. Initially we were intending to go to All Star Comics because every year we’ve gone there, they’ve been so generous and given away so many comics. However, in previous years we’ve gone there in the first hour which is designated as family hour, where families with children under 12 could go through while it was less busy and get comics for both children and parents. Unfortunately my little brother definitely doesn’t qualify anymore, so this would have meant we wouldn’t get in until at least after 10AM, and having seen the line other years, we guessed that we might not even get in until much later, so we decided to go for last year’s second best in show.
Last year, Minotaur had hosted an understated, surprise FCBD event, and had been very generous, if a bit slow. However this year, they laid it on double-thick with a strong social media awareness, which attracting tonnes of people from all over, who, from the casual conversations I had waiting in line, were unaware that FCBD was a thing that multiple comic book stores did, or even that there were multiple comic book stores in Melbourne’s CBD. When we got there at 8:40AM there was already a line wrapping all the way around into Little Collins St. There were roughly 250 people already in line!
I suspect the other thing that attracted so many people so early, apart from the heightened awareness of the event thanks to Facebook, was the offer of ALL OF THE FREE COMICS to the first 30 people in line, and goodie bags for the first 150 people. Going in, we really though we stood a chance to get some of that stuff. If it had been last year, we would have, and in fact I think we did get the goodie bag last year. Anyway, that’s how it goes. Minotaur is pretty boom-or-bust about FCBD, so we’ll see what they do next year…
All up, it was a pretty good. Even though the line was long, they kept it moving pretty well. They started moving people just after 9AM, and we manage to get out of there around 10:30AM. The only annoying part was the way they made sure to shuffle you past as much product as possible in the hope you would buy something, which is understandable. However, it bordered on deceptive when they wouldn’t really tell you how much longer the line was and wind you past another section.
We picked up 5 comics each, and I think I overhead them say to a kid in front of us that they had a prepacked kids pack, which was pretty cool, but a surprise that they didn’t advertise it. The range was great, including every comic on this year’s FCBD list, and family-friendly comics were marked as such. Stuff like this makes me think Minotaur is really going after All Star’s audience.
Getting out of Minotaur and realising that we still had a little time, we made our way to Classic Comics, whose event was exactly the same as it has been every other year.
They followed their standard fair, allowing each person to choose 3 comics, plus more if you spent money, and hiding a few goodies in the bags. We only had a few others that we wanted to pick up, so this turned out perfectly. The range was better than in previous year, with more fresh stuff that I hadn’t seen at Minotaur. The worst part was, as usual, the squishiness of trying to get to the comics in such a small store with so many people around.
Overall, we had a humble year, only picking up 16 comics between us, but they’re all pretty good. In some ways I think this was better than previously when we ended up with tonnes of stuff that we didn’t really care about. We’ll see what we decide to do next year…
To Infinity and Beyond,