Posted on May 5, 2013 AT 07:50pm
Welcome to Comic Countdown Sixty-Seven! With May 4th behind us, it’s time to take a look at some of the better events of Free Comic Book Day! Things are going to be a bit different this time around, as our very own Amanda Marron, fresh off her own experience with Free Comic Book Day in her city will also be giving some pieces of the Countdown in her own words. (For this installment, most of the information will be used from the event at Four Color Fantasies in Rancho Cucamonga, California.) It’s now time for the Countdown!
This Countdown will feature both myself and Amanda recounting our favorite parts of the event, in no particular order. (Amanda’s words will be in italics, to differentiate from my own.)
#10: The Variety
(Amanda sent words that work more in a blogger fashion, and while they won’t be edited, they will be explained to make it fit with the style of the Countdown. In this case, Amanda is talking about the variety of titles, even those not FCBD related, in this particular store.)
We stopped at Gotham first, where we were greeted by the Hulk in the parking lot. Gotham had a pretty decent crowd and had a number of FCBD comics left. As I do have a younger niece, who is only five, my other goal on this day was to find some reading material for her too. So I grabbed TMNT for myself and Tinker Bell for her, while my older niece grabbed The Avengers and the Uglydoll book. Gotham has a very good selection of back issues as well as trades. All their back issues were $1 for this day. I am a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica and I’d love to own all the comics in trade or issue format. They had a number of different comics of the different sets, but no full sets. So I decided to go with the two issues of “The Final Five” miniseries that I found.
#9: Looking Outside The Big Two
A huge portion of this year’s Free Comic Book Day was the fact that the Big Two, Marvel and DC, barely had any presence. While there were a few titles here and there, most of the booths and offerings were from companies looking to make a name for themselves, or from companies outside the bubble of popularity. This was refreshing, as seeing similar offerings from Marvel and DC every year is a bit frustrating, and seeing some innovation from other publishers was refreshing.
#8: Comic Book Store Decorations
(Most of the stores have some very cool stuff to look at inside the shop, and along with the comics, there were some very cool other things to bring an aesthetic appeal to the celebration.)
At Borderlands Comics and Games: Borderlands was completely out of FCBD comics by about 12:30 and we got there about 3 or so. This wasn’t a big deal, however, as they had about 25-40 long boxes set out of .50 cent to $1 comics. My niece found a Supergirl issue and I found a gold mine. For $4, I scored 6 issues of Warlock and the Infinity Watch, an issue of Doctor Who Classics, and Aspen’s Shrugged Volume 1 #0. The absolute best comic related item that I saw all day was here as well. Back in 2000, Michael Turner did a book tour for a book called “Fathom.” Borderlands has a poster and copy of the book that Michael signed displayed prominently behind their check out counter. When I asked to snap a picture, they were more than gracious to let me.
#7: Cosplay Away!
Not only was there lots of great comic book material to grab, there was also some entertainment. Some stores had costume contests, some just had people coming out as their favorite characters. Over at 4 Color Fantasies, the local Cobra Third Watch was once again ran a blood drive. It was also Star Wars day, so there were plenty of Storm Troopers and guys dressed as Vader in remembrance of the biggest sci-fi franchise in the world.
#6: Free Comics
As for FCBD comics, last year, when this store was still Universe of Superheroes, you had a choice of three comics. This year patrons had a choice of two due to short supply from their distributor, but there were two long boxes full of back issues that you could pick two out of as well for a total of four comics. I happened to find Aspen’s Charismagic #0 and Fathom: Cannon #0 in those boxes to go along with my Infinity and Worlds of Aspen 2013 FCBD choices. I also picked up my pull of which I had been sorely neglecting of which included the Thanos Rising #1 variant. My niece grabbed The Steam Powered Oz and Molly Danger FCBD books, and also found two copies of one of the My Little Pony issues, that were each $1, so that she could read it with her little sister.
#5: The Atmosphere
Free Comic Book Day was a huge event this year, with lines going around the block with many stores. With many stores doing some extra special celebrations to get people into their stores as well as it being National Star Wars Day at the same time, there were a lot of people out and about for the celebration of some of the biggest fandoms in all media.
#4: Not Just The Free Stuff
From here, my niece and I headed down to Friendly Local Game Store, which also just went through a transfer of ownership a few months ago from another long-standing store in Jacksonville. I had been in this store a few times since the change of ownership and they’ve had a bit of a rough start, but they are seeming to get into their groove now. They only had a few FCBD choices, but had a table full of back issues that they had laid out as well. My niece didn’t see anything that interested her here, but I grabbed The Walking Dead as well as issue #11 of Greg Pak’s Battlestar Galactica run for Dynamite. Some of the guys that had been at Black Hive also showed up at FLGS and one of them found Cosmic Powers #1 when looking through FLGS’ small selection.
#3: Meeting The Creators
There were plenty of professionals at stores to celebrate with the fans. While there were some stores that got some major names, others maybe had some lesser names. At Four Color Fantasies, fans were lucky enough to get professionals such as Dean White (Uncanny X-Force) and the highest names at Aspen Comics: President Frank Mastromauro, Writer David Wohl and Editor-in-Chief Vince Hernandez, all of which write several titles for the company. Having these very talented creators at stores is always a pretty cool thing to see when looking at the offerings of the day.
#2: The Festivities
(With so much to see during the event, the booths lining the stores featuring creators and activities made this a huge celebration of comic book culture.)
The line moved rather quickly and the setup inside Black Hive (which was under a different name and different ownership last year) was much more convenient and smooth if you just wanted to get your comics and go. The line was guided around the store in a circle, so that all you could do was continue to walk forward in line, walk along tables of vendors and artists, grab your comics, and check out if you happened to pick something up along the way to buy. Unfortunately, this setup made it near impossible to browse.
#1: Seriously, Free Comics!
There were a lot of great comics at this year’s event. The biggest surprise however was some of the major companies (Aspen, Valiant, Image, Dark Horse), who had been offering some firsts of hit titles for only $1, showing on the FCBD tables for the fans. Big titles such as Image’s Mind The Gap, Dark Horse’s Mind MGMT and Valiant’s Harbinger were there for no cost, allowing fans to get a peek at some great books.
That’s it for this week! The format was a bit strange this time around, but that happens from time to time. Thanks to Amanda for all of her words and for some of the pictures featured in her portions of this column. Formatting will be back to normal next week with a brand new topic. See everyone next week!
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