Jetpack is near Tatooine. Who knew?So how was your Free Comic Book Day?
While Newsarama was stationed at Charlotte, NC’s Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for the day, it was a true nation-wide event, and we’ve got a few reports from the field…
Ralph DiBernardo of Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH :
At 9:00 am we opened our doors to our regular customers, giving them the privilege they have earned by supporting us , of being the first ones to pick whatever they wanted from Free Comic Book Day Give-Aways.
At 10:00 am the doors opened to the general public and the line never stopped. There were always a minimum of 100 people waiting to get in for free comic books. At one point the line was well over 200. Many people left to visit the other shops and events about town, returning later in hopes of avoiding the line. The line finally dwindled at 3:30.
The Cap'n Eli Soda van was parked in front of the store, hydrating the crowd with Free Cap'n Eli Soda (taps right out of the side of the van). Jay Piscopo, creator, artist, writer, of Cap'n Eli (yes - he's a comic character with his own specialty soda line) was set up with about 50 other other creators at the Knights of Columbus Hall just down the street from Jetpack Comics.
The Hall housed comic creators, comic book vendors (yes - I invited my fellow comic dealers to come and sell their wares at my Free Comic Book Day Event. Vendors did pay a minimal fee for their spots but all funds went to the Rochester Main Street Association - A Non-Profit.
The Mirage creators reveal their true natureCreators ranged from the youngest, being Barrington Middle School Comic Book Club (an affiliation of young creators that publish their own comic at school) to the most high profile creators, including Ed McGuinness, Peter Laird, Michael Dooney, Jim Lawson, Dan Berger, and Steve Lavigne of Mirage Studios.
In a brief portfolio review, Ed McGuinness discovered a new talent, whom he immediately asked to do a secret project - I'd tell you more but it is a secret. The list of creators at the event was so big that I can't name them all but if you visit the FCBD website or my site, you can see everyone that attended. The event was unprecedented.
Along with free space for creators there were many local businesses promoting their locations. Businesses included Seacoast Bio-Fuels, Spinellie Cinemas, Project Exposure Magazine and more.
Every participant, including the local businesses and creators, donated items to be auctioned off for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Rochester Main Street Association (to help provide funds to make next year even bigger and better). Donations were also collected in the KoC Hall for the CBLDF, with creators competing to see who could raise the most money
for the CBLDF.
Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and other StarWars characters wandered the city, along with Casey Jones and Shredder. The New Hampshire Renaissance Faire http://www.nhrenfaire.com/ provided many characters players as well.
A short walk down the street brought you to the Cafe at the Governors Inn where you could have your picture taken with a life-size Jabba the Hutt.
Ed McGuiness and Tom SniegowskiThe city-wide scavenger hunt allowed people to see all that downtown Rochester has to offer as well as giving them a chance to visit Jetpack Comics new location - opening approximately June 1st.
Everyone was very pleased that we had created a very family oriented free event. In a discussion with Jay Piscopo he pointed out that we were only going to grow the comic industry if we were able to get children back into comics and that this event was a good step towards that.. I could not agree more.
I also have to acknowledge that we had over two dozen volunteers for the day. The event would not have been as smooth as it was if it was not for these people that gave
up their day to spend with us!
My thoughts after Free Comic Book Day:
"Free Comic Book Day always leaves me feeling like I am not doing enough to make our industry better.
"Joe Field has shown us what 1 idea can do for an industry. What can 3000 do?"
From Shawn Demumbrum at Spazdog Comics in Phoenix :
Free Comic Book Day started at a 7:45 AM Saturday when our subscribers started showing up for the 8 AM Subscriber VIP Early Open. It didn't take long for more people to start filing in. By 10am, Derrick West, Scott Shehi, Matt Goodall and David Odams were sketching for FCBD attendees. David Odams (drawntoperfect.deviantart.com) contributed to and put together the layout for our SpazDog Comics Sketchbook, so it's no surprise that a lot of sketches left the store on the front of those sketchbooks. The crowds were constant. The patio was full of people taking advantage of our 10 cent comic sale. At 12 PM, the second shift of creators took over with 9 fresh creators taking their seats. Dave Baker and Eric Esquivel (www.modernmythologypress.com) raised the bar with their velvety table cover and suits. Brain and Kristy Miller (www.hifidesign.com) were selling copies of their essential guide to digital coloring, Hi-Fi Color for Comics and providing impromptu portfolio reviews for aspiring artists. Daniel Davis provided what is probably one of the coolest FCBD exclusive, 100 limited 4"x6" prints of his webcomic, Monster Commute (www.monstercommute.com) featuring our store. Jeff Marriotte was signing copies of Presidential Material: Barack Obama. I was almost teary-eyed when he told me that he missed out on the Star Trek premiere to come to our FCBD. Such a great guy. Christian Vilaire and Scott Godlewski never put down their pens the whole time. Scott Godlewski (scottygod.deviantart.com) is one of the best kept secrets that Phoenix has. Things slowed down enough for us by 4 PM for us to have lunch. Although we saw some of our regulars, most of the people we saw today were people who had never been to our store and lived near the store. Great people. Free Comics. It doesn't get better than this.
From Jason Pierce, Alter Ego Comics, Muncie, IN
Free Comic Book Day 2009 was an overwhelming success! Mere Minutes after the doors opened the crowd descended like a horde of zombies. The day was incredibly busy from start to finish. Lots of families were in attendance. There were tons of sales, prize drawings and like-minded people to keep everyone in the store and entertained throughout the day. Along with a record attendance this year... came record setting sales. People were buying trades and new comics all day!
It was great to see everyone’s interest and enthusiasm in this ever expanding industry we all love.
From Matt Price at Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, Okla.
We had a great turnout - the most we've had since the first Free Comic Book Day. I don't know if the recessionary economy led to more people being attracted to the "free" concept, or if it had to do with new content in the comics themselves, or a confluence of factors. We had Star Trek props expert Colin Warde on hand in the afternoon. He worked on the Los Angeles-based auctions of all of the Star Trek props and costumes over the previous couple of years, and he shared pictures and talked about how a lot of those props were made originally, and then found and identified as part of the auction. Rain threatened throughout the day, but it was never enough to keep people away, as we had a near-constant stream of people. Any day you can get hundreds of people through the door and have them all leave happy is a good day, and it was great to participate again in Free Comic Book Day. Thanks to Joe Field, the originator of the concept, as well as Diamond Comics and all of the sponsors.
Wolverine and Black Panther work the crowdFrom Acme Comics in Greensboro, NC:
The store reported people waiting in line as early as 6:00 am, and the crowd really started growing by 8:30 am. By 10:00 am, when the shop opened, there were more than 100 people in line, all anxious for their free comics and to see Acme’s guests: Sean McKeever (returning for a second time), Jonathan Hickman, Mark Morales, Chris Samnee, Mike Choi, Brian Defferding, Jeremy Dale, Mike Watkins, Kelly Yates, and Chris Fason.
Kids waiting in line were given crayons and coloring sheets while they waited, and by 2:00 pm, the store was down to 2 FCBD titles left – and still a line out the door. By 7:15pm, things were starting to show signs of winding down – and there were no FCBD titles to be seen, something that has never happened in the past, and even though Acme ordered far more copies of books for Free Comic Book Day than they ever had before.
Got any stories of great stuff going on at your store? Not so great stuff? Let's hear it.Jonathan Hickman greets the fans at Acme Mike Choi works the line at Acme