In which Mike’s Free Comic Book Day report demonstrates why he never pursued a career as a professional photographer.
Well, that’s another Free Comic Book Day down, plenty of comics given away, plenty of stuff sold to help pay for the comics that were given away, and lo, the clean-up did begin, and last for thirty days and thirty nights.
My first clue that this was going to be a busier-than-usual FCBD was when I showed up at 8 in the morning to prep, we already had several people waiting outside for us to open our doors. In the past I’ve noted that when I’d open up for FCBD, there would be a brief moment where it looked like nobody would show up, that I ordered all these thousands of comics for nuthin’, nuthin’ and then the crowds would eventually build up to expectations after just a few minutes.
Not this time…soon as that door was unlocked a sea of people swept into the shop and we were packed for several hours after that.
This year we decided to try something a little different…in fact, something we’ve been wanting to do at the shop for a while now…by setting up some tables of extra stock outside for a sidewalk sale. Here are store owner Seth and Employee Timmy setting up the tables just prior to opening, while our customers patiently wait for the freebies:
I swear I didn’t notice that kid was wearing Hulk hands when I took this photo. That’s pretty awesome. Anyway, the tables worked out very well, and we moved a lot of books. Here’s a shot of the sidewalk sale in action, watched over by FCBD Draftee Chandler:
Inside, we mobilized pretty much the entire Seth’s/Ralph’s army to manage the situation, but no employee put on the dog more than the eerily-mustachioed Employee Aaron:
…Those a close second may be this mysterious gentleman who showed up to help us give away comics:
At one point he brazenly revealed his identity to the crowds, while Aaron and his wife Kempo…well, they’re up to something at the left of the picture, there, not sure what:
We also had, as a guest, longtime store friend Andy Salazar, presenting his books Pariah, MO and Spacebear to our customers:
Here’s Andy coloring some art and showing folks just how the magic happens:
And I wish I’d taken more, or at least better photos, but it was an enormously busy day, and it seemed like I spent a lot of time helping folks find a bunch of back issues. Which is great, of course…always glad to see people looking for fun work from the past, not just stuff that’s New This Week.
Probably my favorite moment of the day was a mother looking through old Disney comics with her two little girls, aged about 3 and 4. While the younger girl was good with Disney comics, the older wasn’t quite as taken. In fact, pretty much the entire time she was at the counter with her mom and sister, this is what she had to say:
“Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl. Batgirl.”
And so on. As it turned out, the mother looked through some of the Batgirl comics in the bins, and since DC hasn’t published a Batgirl comic for little kids in quite some time, she didn’t feel they’d be appropriate. Fortunately, I was able to find one of the Batman Adventures comics (based on the cartoons) that starred Batgirl, and I was Hero of the Day for, you know, at least a little bit.
There seemed to be a lot of little kids visiting the shop throughout the day, evenly mixed between boys and girls, which was nice. Always happy to see children excited about comics. Saw at least a couple of young’uns in costume, one dressed as Supergirl, another as Wonder Woman.
The actual stock of FCBD books lasted a good portion of the event…by about 3 or so we were down to about a couple dozen different titles, and by the end of the day we had a few leftovers of the DC and Marvel books, and of the Valiant “custom logo” title, as those were the ones of which we’d ordered the most. Throughout the day we supplemented the FCBD stock with that box or so of extras from last year, and some of the 10-cent/25-cent/99-cent/$1 promo comics Marvel, DC and Image had produced over the years that we still had in backstock. Plus, I thinned out a bunch of the FCBD books from my personal collection and graciously, selflessly gave them away as well. No need to thank me.
Also, Awesome Hospital‘s Matt Digges visited and brought us doughnuts. Well, he brought me doughnuts, I don’t know what he brought anyone else.
Ultimately, it was yet another successful Free Comic Book Day for us. Our sales more than covered the costs of the FCBD books, we gave away a lot of comics, we saw plenty of new faces, and we made many people happy. People always ask “does FCBD actually help?” and I think, in the long run, it does. It reminds people that comics exist, that they’re more than flying guys in tights punching each other (though those comics are fun, too!), and that there are stores out there who love comics so much, they actually want to give you a bunch of them for free to try out. And that, if they want more comics, they know where to find them.
And then, after working Free Comic Book Day, your pal Mike went to the late show to see Amazing Spider-Man 2, so if you saw him looking worn out and sleepy on Sunday, please forgive him, because he’s clearly too dumb to know any better.