Comic books – the bane and the blessing in our home. My middle son is a kindred spirit to my husband, taking on the mantle of collector, organizer, and archiver. My husband doesn’t even know which comics to buy anymore. Middle guy makes the list and if he had the cash, he’d be able to go himself. He points out gifts for everyone and looks forward to payday so we can go down to the capital and buy this week’s stash.
This translates into an entire industry of movies, action figures, and Lego. We could open our own store and never buy anything new to stock it. Unlike most collectors, they believe in playing with their toys; not keeping them boxed up in pristine condition. There is always something strewn about the living room in need of a pick up.
In just three days will be the biggest comic weekend of the year. Free Comic Book Day. This is the fifteenth year, and it is held annually on the first Saturday in May.
The basic premise is that there is a comic book for everybody. Although in our family I read the least amount of comic books, as a child and young person, I read comic books often. Star Trek, Green Arrow. My husband gave me a signed Sandman as a gift early in our relationship. For parents who are concerned about appropriateness, the FCBD website has an age rating system you can check out for yourself, and make the paternal decisions for your families.
It is also the opening weekend of (typically) a Marvel movie. This year’s selection is Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2. Vol. 1 was one of the best surprises I had. I had no intention of seeing that first one until it came out on DVD, but it happened to be the only one playing on our anniversary, so we went. It was really the best! The perfect blend of humor and humanity and an awesome soundtrack. It was full of surprises and unexpected moments. I can’t wait for this new one. The first Saturday in May has become our tradition to see the movie after our Free Comic Book Day adventures.
We pick up my son’s friend, wear an appropriate comic related tee shirt (I will be wearing my Supernatural this year), get up extra early and head down. Our comic store is located centrally in our state capital on a busy street and they get many rubberneckers looking at the superheroes holding the advertising signs in front of the store. They used to start the day at 11, but now they open at 9. We begin the line around 8 or 8:30, meeting other fans and early risers. It is usually still very cold on this May morning. Layers are they key because the inside of the comic shop gets pretty warm.
There is a selection of free comics for everyone who comes – there is something for everyone’s tastes – guaranteed. last year I picked up Representative John Lewis’ first of the trilogy called March about the March across the Pettis bridge where he was beaten to the point nearly to death. I always grab the book from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). Scooby Doo shares space with The Walking Dead. There is a photo contest, sometimes free Hero Clix, amazing donuts for sale (similar to Portland’s Voodoo Donuts), stickers, pins, and costumed characters. Last year we met Harley Quinn; this year Wonder Woman will be there in advance of her June movie – one of the ones in a slew of good movies we’re anticipating and looking forward to. I even have Wonder Woman earrings especially for the occasion. Artist John Hebert is there signing free drawings and selling more.
After that, we will sometimes make the rounds at other area comic shops. In the next county over, one always has pizza and cupcakes. Several have costumed characters and local writers and artists selling their things and signing autographs. One year, my kids sat in the actual Batmobile from the 1966 television series! It’s a great day to meet other like minded fans, collectors, and kids.
To find your local comic store, call the Comic Shop Locator at 1-888-266-4226 or visit their website.
To find a shop participating in Free Comic Book Day, check out their website.