I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I only discovered the wicked awesome that is comics and comic fandom last year. Better late than never I suppose.
What that means is that this was my first Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). Ever. And it totally wasn’t what I was expecting.
Okay, perhaps part of it was. I anticipated the line outside the comic shop, but I wasn’t expecting it to be only five people long (a testament to the incredible service provided by Chapel Hill Comics). I was also envisioning a single table of comics in which geeks scrambled to get their hands on a coveted book while a miserly employee stood behind the table, slapping hands with a toy lightsaber if someone tried to take more than one.
Instead, we were allowed to take one of each book, which meant that instead of going home with one free book, I went home with a pile of reading material and a nifty R2D2 patch that says “May the 4th Be With You.”
Chapel Hill Comics made a keen marketing move and including a bunch of #1 issues as well that weren’t part of the FCBD festivities. It was brilliant because I am now planning to buy the trade for one of those series, a quirky Dark Horse series called Mind MGMT, if I can’t find it in the library.
I also swung by Ultimate Comics, where the celebration was much more of a spectacle. They took over the entire parking lot in front of their store and pitched a few tents that they crammed with comics writers, artists, and a live band. They also had ice cream, hot dogs, and beer. The food wasn’t free like the comics were, but it was still a good move because it sustained the crowd. A few extra trashcans would have been nice though.
Overall, it was a great FCBD experience. I’m totally planning on going again next year. Who knows. Perhaps I’ll be behind one of those signing tables some day.