If you are any kind of geek, worthy of the title, then you celebrated Free Comic Book Day, today. This once-a-year event is held the first Saturday, in May, at participating comic-book shops around the globe. As for me, (being a member of the FCBD press corps), I began this Saturday at the buttcrack-of-dawn, joining my friends Jeremiah and Stephanie Stewart for breakfast; then we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather by walking the mile and a half to the Dragon’s Keep – our local comic-book store, in Provo, Utah.)
When we arrived, there was a pretty-good crowd – about 100; but, by the time the doors opened, there was a line around the block; close to 250. I got the crowd pumped-up by shouting: “Who’s ready for Free Comic Book Day?!” – which made everyone cheer. Some of these folks had kids (which is always the highlight, for me); some were dressed-up in costumes (a Spiderman cosplayer was due to arrive, but he hadn’t swung-in, yet, when we were there); some were anxious for their picks of free comics and to meet the artists (Nathan Hale, Bill Galvan, Travis Walton, JJ Harrison and Jess Smiley); while others were anxious for the Salt Lake Comic Con giveaways.
I got all of the above: my free floppies were Divergence and The Phantom; my comic con items were two $10 photo-op vouchers and a comic con poster; plus – I got a signed Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales poster.
All told, the folks I spoke to were excited to be participating – especially, the youngsters. That’s what Free Comic Book Day is all about; a way to generate interest in new comic-book enthusiasts, as well as boosting comic book sales for the shops that participate – (I mean, these shops need to make a buck, too).
Here’s a brief synopsis of what this day is all about: “Free Comic Book Day, taking place on the first Saturday of May, is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California brainstormed the event in his “Big Picture” column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailermagazine. Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry’s single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors.” – Wikipedia
As stated above, Free Comic Book Day is held the first Saturday, in May. However, one year remains distinguished; that was when it was held on July 3, 2004, to tie-in with Spiderman 2‘s release; the first FCBD, on May 4, 2002, also, tied-in with Spiderman. This year marks the 14th anniversary; next year’s 15th anniversary will be held on Saturday, May 7, (as leap year will throw-off the calendar). If you’d like to learn more about the history and dates, click here.
What a terrific way to spend a Saturday! Meeting-up with old friends, meeting new ones (as I made a few, today), hanging out with like-minded nerds, geeks and comic-book lovers, and – of course, getting FREE COMICS! This was my first year being actively involved, and – man…I had a blast! I can’t wait ’til next year!
”Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone