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Free Comic Book Day Report Part 1: Long Lines for Drawn Lines

May 9, 2012

As I posted a few days ago, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, and the best I’ve been to yet.

This was the first year that I, with my brother, managed to get in line at Flying Colors before the doors opened (if only barely). We were immediately confronted with this:

What you can’t see from this photo is that the line continues up ahead, past a Pet Food Express, Trader Joe’s, and Baskin Robbins, and around the corner before it actually reaches the doors of Flying Colors. It’s the longest line I’ve seen there, and it didn’t get much shorter as the day went on. But never fear! Part of the fun of FCBD, believe it or not, is the line. For one, it’s a great chance to hang out and chat with other comic book readers and see what a wide range of people enjoy comic books as much as, and often more than, I do. It’s a chance to hear perspectives from people who read in other genres and formats and compare notes with those who share similar tastes. People also came up to ask about what was going on, and most had pretty positive reactions (in spite of one naysayer who rolled her eyes and made a comment prefaced with “no offense, but”).

Throughout the wait, a variety of people wandered up and down the line, interacting with the crowd. Employees of the neighboring businesses took advantage of the captive audience to drum up business and offer coupons and promotions. Crews recorded the crowd and interviewed people in line for blogs, websites, and youtube channels. Even Concord Mayor Ron Leone took a stroll along the line to greet people and shake hands.

As I got closer to where the line turned, I came upon one of the teachers I’ve worked with in the past, Doré Ripley, who told me she was writing an article about girls and comics. Doré is the person I credit with first getting me to consider how comics can be used in education. A while back, I worked as her aide in a reading class where we used comics to introduce the students to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. She’s a great advocate for comic books as a medium and for their value in education, and I was glad to have a chance to chat with her.

Some of the people who traveled along the line were real characters–comic book, video game, and movie characters, to be exact. A number of people who come out to FCBD are cosplayers, people who dress up as their favorite characters. Not far ahead of us in line was a Lara Croft, who I didn’t manage to get a picture of, and I spotted a Thor talking with people further up. I did get a photo with this lovely pair of Stormtroopers

who I later learned are members of the Golden Gate Garrison of the 501st Legion. I’m just glad they didn’t catch on to my rebel sympathies. A little later, I managed to flag down Wolverine

who eventually realized I wasn’t a threat and let me go. I’ve seen him at FCBD before; this year, he was out of uniform but as ready for action as always (look at those arms–rawr).

And, throughout it all, there was “FlyCoJoe” Field, owner of Flying Colors and originator of the idea for Free Comic Book Day. From soon after we arrived to the time we left, he was running back and forth with stacks of comics in his hands. Presumably to compensate for the long wait and to give a taste of what was to come for those who were patient, he personally handed out copies of The New 52 to everyone waiting in line.

Up next in Part 2: The Haul

If you visited your local comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day, how was the wait? Did you face long lines, or was it a more intimate gathering? Who did you go with, and what interesting people did you meet there?

If you didn’t go, would you go next year? How long of a line would you wait through for the promise of free comics?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 8:41 pm

    My friend Liz was there dress as Black Canary, and I think her friend was dressed as Wonder Woman.

    • Anita M. King permalink*
      May 9, 2012 10:16 pm

      Oh, that was your friend? I saw both of them, but only as I was leaving. It looked like their costumes were getting a lot of attention.

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  1. Free Comic Book Day Report Part 2: The Haul « Anita M. King – Writing Window

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