It’s not really Free Comic Book Day until my dad shakes hands with Batman…

§ May 9th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day § 16 Comments

…And so it did come to pass, with pal Nat commenting upon the momentous occasion thusly:


I did take a few more photos, but actually not that many more as we were enormously busy right as the doors opened and I was too tied up at the register to whip out the ol’ smart phone and commence with the snapping of photos. You can see a couple I did take right here at the official store site (that store being Sterling Silver Comics, in Camarillo, CA) along with a couple of photos contributed by my customers, including the one of our young friend Teddy at the very top of that post there. At the very least click over to see that picture…that is the happiest Free Comic Book Day kid I’ve ever seen.

I may have other photos coming from other sources, so as I get ’em I’ll post ’em.

You’ll also see in the photos there pics of our pal, Jaime Hernandez, artist of the Phantom Girl entry from DC’s Who’s Who as well as some comic about rockets or something. I was glad to see a steady stream of folks chatting with him and getting their comics signed, and speaking of which….

Now, I can only imagine that the influx of all the Free Comic Book Day books at the distributor, that all need counting out and packing, is akin to the arrival of a natural disaster. Especially since they still have to do the regular weekly packing and shipping of the new comics. It’s only natural that errors creep in, though in my particular case one of the errors that occurred was, of course, receiving less than half of my order of the Love and Rockets FCBD comic. Since it seemed like they might not have been able to come up with replacements, I called up the comic’s publisher, Fantagraphics, and was able to purchase copies directly from them…so good ol’ Fantagraphics saved the day! Phew!

I did a lot of pushing of my Free Comic Book Day this time around…nagging you all on the social media, Tweeterings and Facebookings, and I even ran a print ad in the entertainment section of the local countywide newspaper. Yes, actual ink on actual dead trees you could hold in your hands. Those things still exist, and there are people who still look at them, so hopefully that helped get the word out as well. There were a lot of new faces in my shop this time, I noticed, as well as a handful of folks from the old shop who finally made their way out to see me! You may also be glad to know that there were loads of kids, young boys and girls, getting themselves some of that ol’ time funnybooking.

You may recall that last year I had some worries/concerns about Free Comic Book Day, as 2015’s event would be the first one at my new store. I had no ability to gauge what local demand would be like, no past FCBDs to base my orders on. As it turned out that year, my orders were pretty spot on, if perhaps a bit low-ish, running out of a few titles maybe just a little too quickly, but still enough to have some giveaways remaining at the end of the day for stragglers to pick up. This year I ordered a bit heavier, so I had a wider range of giveaways still on the tables as the end of the day approached. If anything, I went maybe a little too heavy, but still, on Sunday I kept a table out for anyone who couldn’t make it Saturday and gave away even more comics, so the load’s been lightened a little. Prior to Saturday, someone from a local school called and asked if she could get any leftovers for giveaways at a school carnival…and she picked them up on Sunday, reducing the extras even further, so, you know, I’m doing okay with these.

And by the way, Jaime was good enough to sign an extra stack of the L&R freebies, so I’m still giving away autographed copies, while supplies last!

So anyway, my first year I may have been a tiny bit low on the orders, my second year I was a tad high, so my third year my orders should be spot on, right? Well, maybe, we’ll see, but I seem to recall going through this very same learning process at the previous place of employment, and I eventually started nailing the FCBD numbers there and I’m sure I will here, too, sooner or later.

Trafficwise I definitely noticed an increase, particularly at the beginning of the day when perhaps the store was a little too full of people, but that crowds scaled back to reasonable numbers soon enough. We had a good steady stream of customers all day, with only a handful of brief lulls before the store’s population would surge again. In terms of actual business, spurred on by storewide FCBD-only discounts on graphic novels and back issues and so on, I saw about a 30% increase over how I did last year, and last year’s results were way above and beyond what I was expecting, so I’m very happy with how things turned out this time around.

I saw I had a question or two about FCBD left on recent posts…I’ll try to get around to those soon. In the meantime, let me thank my dad, my girlfriend Nora, and pal Dorian for helping out on this very successful Free Comic Book Day. And speaking of pal Dorian, he once again in his own inimitable fashion reviewed all the offerings this year (at least, all the ones I could get…never did receive my Pink Panther order, darn it), and he swears this is the last time he’s letting me talk him into this. We’ll see.

Thanks of course to all my customers for making this event as swell as it was, and thanks to all of you for putting up with my blatant capitalism over the past few weeks. And thanks to Mark, who may or may not have had something to do with a certain Caped Crusader visiting my store.

One more FCBD in the books. Can’t wait to see what happens next year.

16 Responses to “It’s not really Free Comic Book Day until my dad shakes hands with Batman…”

  • philip says:

    Your dad looks a little like Mark Hamill in that photo.

    The shop my daughter and I visited put a cap on comics. Five per person. I grabbed the L&R and the Tom Gauld sampler and gave my other three to the kid. Her friend came and brought both of his parents so he could max out. He was prepared. I will likely visit a different shop next year. I wouldn’t even take (or want) one of each comic but limiting the number, while maybe it ensures everybody gets some, seems counter to the spirit of the event. I’d be curious to know what they do with any leftovers.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Don’t be too sure Nat Gertler, it could be a Superman robot dressed up as Batman.

  • Rob March says:

    It was nice to see how hopping the store was when I arrived (a little after opening).

    Michael, what kind of impact do you think that Jaime Hernandez had on the turnout for the day? Obviously, it was a bonus draw for me (because I was coming to the shop regardless), but it did encourage me to pick up a copy of The Love Bunglers.

  • Thom H. says:

    There was a Tom Gauld sampler?! How did I miss that? :(

  • Bully says:

    Hey, I’ll take over for Dorian next year! (rubbing my hooves together, checking “get all the FCBD comics by volunteering to review them” off my world domination list)

  • kiwijohn says:

    My LCS is Heroes for Sale, in Auckland, New Zealand. They set a limit of 2 comics each, but if you gave a donation to Kidscan (a cancer charity) you could get 4, and if you came in a comics-related costume you could get 6. Much fun was had by all.

    I picked up 2000AD, which was brilliant as usual; Doctor Who, which was fun, and a pretty good introduction to the various comics I thought; Rom – my nostalgia got the better of me – this was pretty terrible, licensed comics at their most bland and tedious; and Avatarex, which had to be the most boring Grant Morrison comic (aside from 18 Days) that I have ever read – I now no longer buy his comics based on his name alone…


  • I’ll take one of those signed Jaime books, if you have any left!

  • To Phil: I’ve done a few FCBD events over the years and no shop I’ve worked with has ever had any leftovers, whether they had a limit per customer or not. One year at Gosh! I took a pile of my own minicomics out of my bag so there would be a few more people not going away empty-handed. I think a limit per customer is exactly in the spirit of the event, personally.

  • Mikester says:

    Bully – Hey, if you want to…!

    Johnny – Email me, and we can work it out!

    Roger – I prefer not to set a limit on the number of different titles a person can take…I’d like to expose people to as many different comics as possible. In my experience (and I’ve done this all fifteen years the event has existed) most people don’t take everything anyway.

  • philip says:

    That’s fair, Roger (also, swoon, I do very much enjoy your work). I realize I may have come off a bit “entitled” up above which was not my intention. Free comics are free (I even bought a couple trades while I was there) but I wonder if anyone loses out (reader, publisher, creator) because a person couldn’t get that sixth book they might have wanted try. Anyway, just idly wondering. I will now go back to not highjacking Mr. Sterling’s comment section.

  • Rob says:

    Mike, you’ve probably mentioned this at some point before, but did you know Xaime before this event? (damn, I wish I coulda been there to get something signed by him) I mean I imagine he might’ve visited your old shop, no?

  • Mikester says:

    Philip – Hijack the section whenever you’d like!

    Rob – I’ve known the Brothers for pretty close to 30 years now! They were friends of my old boss Ralph (who was, in fact, the first comic shop to carry the original b&w self-published edition of L&R).

  • Rob says:

    Oh man, lucky you. Los Bros are heroes.

  • philip says:

    Ha! Thanks, Mike. I promise not to abuse the privilege.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    The picture of Teddy is great.

  • Casie says:

    I’m so glad you had a great FCBD, Mike!
    You’ve always been so kind and generous with everything you do, you deserve all the success!
    Wish I could have been there! It looked like a blast!
    *that picture of your dad and the Phantom Girl up top is super!