Free Comic Book Day Report Part 2: The Haul
In Part 1 of my report on how I spent Free Comic Book Day, I talked about the long–but fun–line at my local comic book shop, Flying Colors, and all the colorful people I saw during the wait. Now it’s time to take a look inside the shop and see what I actually received in exchange for two hours in line.
When we approached the door, an employee took down information about each group: primarily our ages and how often we visited Flying Colors. I was sorry to say that I don’t visit as often as I would like. FCBD is one of those things that remind me what a goldmine this place is and that I really ought to swing by more often. Be that as it may, we were there, and we were let into the store with a group of about 7 others.
(Quick confession: the above photo was actually taken after coming back out of the shop. The woman in the dark t-shirt in the center of the shot is Elanor, one of my local NaNoWriMo buddies, whom I spotted in line while celebrating my new comics with an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins.)
Inside, we didn’t do much browsing, although I did look longingly at the indie shelves as I passed. On principle, I hate to go in, get free stuff, and leave without supporting the store with a purchase. But I knew I would be coming back soon, so I decided not to hold things up for the people outside by looking around too long this time. The free comics were in the back, so we headed over.
The usual policy at Flying Colors is that each person who comes through the doors gets to pick out three comics from the selections for that year. Knowing my indecisive nature, I had taken the time to look up what was available and write a list of my top six choices just in case any of them ran out before I got there. My top two were not on the table, so I asked for choices three through five. Soon I was to find out why my top two weren’t on the table.
Towards the front of the store, I saw the guest artist/writer signing table. This was when my knees started to get a little wobbly, and not just from two hours of standing in line. This year’s guests were none other than Georges Jeanty, artist of the Buffy comic, and Zack Whedon, writer of the Serenity comic. Some people have a tendency to babble when they have a chance to meet people whose work they admire. I, on the other hand, am much more likely to go completely mute. In order to not seem any creepier than necessary, I made sure to have a few simple, essential lines rehearsed before meeting Jeanty and Whedon:
- “Thank you.”
- “Do you think I could get a picture with you, please?”
- “Thank you!”
I managed #1 right off the bat. It turns out that my top two comic choices were being given away at the signing table, in addition to the usual three.
Naturally, I was so excited that I nearly walked away without remembering to actually pick them up from the table. I did, however, remember to get out rehearsed line #2, with the following result:
Then I nearly fell over. It turns out that there’s a reason I don’t usually crouch all the way down on my heels. Getting down was easy enough, but I got dizzy and almost landed on my backside when I tried to stand again. Georges Jeanty offered to help me up, but I managed it on my own while getting out line #3 a couple more times in what felt, to me, like a very squeaky voice.
My mission for the day accomplished, the only thing left was…cake? That’s right. At the front of the shop, next to the signing table, shop employees were handing out slices of cake, punch, and brownies. How awesome is that?
Okay, so if you were keeping track, you should have an idea of how many comics I ended up with. With the first comic FlyCoJoe handed out to all of us in line, the three that I picked up at the counter, and the two signed by Jeanty and Whedon, that comes to a total of six. But which six were they?
I’m not a huge reader of traditional superhero comics, so I wouldn’t have picked this one out on my own if Joe Field hadn’t been handing it out. I don’t have enough knowledge to comment on this one much, but I know just enough superhero lore–and world mythology–to be intrigued by the snippet of the story it presented.
My third choice overall, this gorgeous 48-page hardcover collection of short stories starts with a beautifully illustrated marionette morality play from the world of Mouse Guard. My favorite of the six stories has to be the Labyrinth story, “Hoggle and the Worm,” which was both funny and a little bittersweet. This collection is definitely one to read and re-read, and it has turned out to be my favorite.
My fourth choice overall, this one is illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Sarah Ellerton, who I first discovered through her webcomic/graphic novel, The Phoenix Requiem. Her artwork is as beautiful and evocative as always in this introduction to what looks like an intriguing story, and I am definitely going to get my hands on this one when it comes out in July.
Unlike the others, my fifth choice is a non-fiction look into comics of the horror genre. It offers history, interviews, and a look at some of the best horror comics of the past and present. I picked this one on my brother’s suggestion, partly due to the horror elements present in my current writing work-in-progress.
As a fan of the series, Buffy was my natural second choice. Okay, I’m going to confess here that I am years behind and still haven’t even watched all of the television series–I never watched it when it was airing, and it was my love of the writing in Serenity that got me to start watching on Netflix a while back– much less read any of the comics. However, this has me excited to finish going through the old episodes and dig into the continuing story. Also: Signed! Squee!
Last in this post is my first choice. All I can really say about this one is: awesome. And the awesomeness is made doubly awesome by the flip side of this flip comic, a Star Wars story also written by Zack Whedon. I just can’t resist those roguish space captains. It’s a perfect match.
All in all, I’m more than satisfied with what I came away with. A great shop, great people, and great comics made for a really enjoyable experience. I’m definitely putting Free Comic Book Day on my calendar for next year.
What were your picks for this year’s FCBD? Did you pick them out ahead of time, or did you choose when you got there? What do you hope ends up on the list of next year’s choices?