Art & Franco Say AW YEAH FCBD With New Shop Opening
The Avengers movie isn’t the only comic book related property having a big opening this weekend, the Eisner Award winning duo of Art Balthazar and Franco (Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures) held a Grand Opening celebration for Aw Yeah Comics, their new comic book shop in near west side Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois.
Behind the counter and working the cash resister is another co-owner, Marc “Brother Bear” Hammond who is leading a small army of friends and family keeping the store running as new customers take advantage of the famous duo’s appearance and the comic book industry-sponsored national publicity event known as Free Comic Book Day. The annual event taking place on the first Saturday in May participating comic book shops across North America and around the world gives away comic books absolutely free to entice to readers, young and old, to the medium.
Hammond, between helping customers and participating in classic comic book shop banter about the previous day’s blockbuster movie release had more good things to say about the community they’ve chosen to open their business within. He described how some of the volunteers in the shop are from the local library's literacy program, how a local bakery donated a cake in the shape of Superman’s chest insignia and how some supplies, like a pack of colored chalk being used to decorate the sidewalk outside, was donated by the neighborhood hardware store right down the street.
Despite the crowding, everyone was having a good time; occasionally a call of the store’s name/slogan/battle-cry by one of the staffers: ‘Aw Yeah Comics!’ would ring out, compelling the customers to cheer it back in response. One such was Alan Costell, 40 of Chicago; there with his two kids, Basil, 9, and William 14, he was definitely having a good time, even while waiting in the long line for a free sketch and an autograph on the duo's new comic book: Superman Family Adventures, which had a free teaser issue available as part of the day's promotion. “I think [the store is] great," said Costell, "I really like how they colored on this inside, it has a very airy, happy quality.”
Looking toward the future, Balthazar told new visitors that after the grand opening, the La-Z-Boy couches and chairs would be back.
“We want to have a comic shop that is family-oriented. Anyone can come here and read some comics and chill. […] We wanted to create an atmosphere where when you come to our shop, you come to our world.”