May 5th, marked my first time experiencing Free Comic Book Day. For those who are unaware, Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is held on the first Saturday of May each year. It is a promotion to get people out of their houses and into the comic book shops. Since I love art and reading, what better way to experience both at the same time than in a comic book? In the past, FCBD fell on a day when I was either at work or at an event. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to go out to a few local comic shops to check out this national geek holiday this year. Read on to see what my experience was like.
The first store, on my little tour of Grand Rapids, was the Comic Signal. Upon entering the parking lot I didn’t see a line outside. I thought I would be able to get in and grab some comics in fairly quick manner. I thought wrong. The line was inside the store, and the place was packed with a great turnout. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long to reach the table of free comics. The Comic Signal was offering five comics per person. My five comics consisted of: Lady Mechanika, Dr. Who, The Mall, The Tick, and My Hero Academia. A great and varied hall of comics, if I do say so myself. I was glad to see the awesome cartoonist Daniel J Hogan, and whimsical watercolor artist Corinne Roberts selling their cool artwork in the store. Michigan’s own comic publisher, Source Point Press, was on hand to introduce their indie comic titles to everyone. All in all, the Comic Signal was a great place to start my tour of Free Comic Book Day.
After shooting across town, I arrived at Tardy’s Collectors Corner. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive in time to catch the Mandelorian Mercs and the Star Wars 501st. I can only imagine what I a sight that must’ve been to onlookers who weren’t familiar with FCBD. Nonentheless, FCBD brought another great turnout for the store that’s been around for 35 years. Tardy’s had the coolest comic and pop culture decorations lining the walls of the store. Since I was pressed for time and the line was massive, I was unable to wait around to pick up some free comics. Before I left, I had a nice chat with the folks of fellow geek culture website, Court of Nerds. Maybe I might end up on one of their podcast episodes. After a brief conversation, I made my exit.
Finally, to round out my FCBD tour, I stopped downtown to visit the Vault of Midnight. Since I arrived after 4 in the afternoon, I missed most of the festivities planned. From what I saw online, there was a line of people close to 2 blocks long. Since I missed out on the long line, I was able to make a beeline right to the free comics. Vault was offering three free comics per person. I snagged a copy of the Amazing Spider-Man and and the print version of Barrier by Brian K. Vaughn (Saga, Y: The Last Man). I was glad to grab a copy of Strangers in Paradise XXV by Terry Moore. I remember reading the original series well over a decade ago. It would be foolish of me if I didn’t mention that the staff members were cosplaying too. I saw Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, Catwoman, and Rick from Rick and Morty. Before I concluded my tour of Free Comic Book Day, I spied a Cursed Pirate Girl Coloring Book by Jeremy Bastian. The sheer amount of detail he puts into his artwork is mind blowing. I had to have his book to add to my collection. Vault of Midnight was a nice way to cap of my tour of Free Comic Book Day.
Free Comic Book Day was a great time. I was glad to visit a few of the local comic book stores. While I highly encourage people to go out and support Free Comic Book Day, I hope that everyone returns for the rest of the year too. Free comic books are nice but supporting your local comic shop helps them in continuing to provide awesome art and stories for us to enjoy. Comic books are an excellent means of escape to the worlds of creativity and imagination. Support your local comic book shops.
A big thanks goes out to the fine folks of the Comic Signal, Tardy’s Collectors Corner and the Vault of Midnight. It was also nice to see and talk to the following folks (in no particular order): Corrine, Daniel, Tony M, Brittani, Court of Nerds, Michael C, Phil, Roger S, Taylor M, Brittany, and Jonah.
What did you get on Free Comic Book Day?