If you missed it, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, a magical day where local comic book shops offer free comics. It’s a great way to find your local comic book shop, get connected with other comic book lovers, and a lot of shops offer other cool attractions in addition to the free comic offerings.
Before Saturday, I had never been to a store on FCBD, and I decided that this was the year to remedy that. Never having gone to one of these things before, I had no idea how early people were going to be getting to the store. However, since I was just checking out the festivities, I decided to go with the “I’ll get there when I get there” technique. If nothing else, I hadn’t been to this store before, so I was just curious to see what it had to offer.
It is here that I impart lesson 1 to you, dear readers. The early bird gets the worm, and the early riser gets a better selection of free comics. By the time I got to the shop, there was a sad stack of comics left in the “free” pile. Most of the leftovers were Sonic comics–not really what I was looking to add to my collection. I absolutely should have known better than to arrive so late, but despite missing out on the freebies, I still had a great time.
Escape Velocity had several artists waiting outside the shop, lots of superhero cutouts around for picture-taking purposes, and employees in cosplay. Let me tell you, it is really disconcerting to be examining a comic as Rorschach sidles up next to you! I’m willing to bet the store had even more excitement to offer earlier in the day, but, you know, I slept in.
Still, I could tell the store had worked hard to make FCBD at their store an experience, and it definitely was–even for someone arriving late to the festivities. The whole store was buzzing with excitement. It also helped a lot that the weather was BEAUTIFUL that day.
Of course, I didn’t walk out of the store empty-handed. I ended up picking up the first two issues of Ms. Marvel, and a Serenity comic–Leaves on the Wind.
Besides checking out the FCBD festivities, I was also curious to see how I would be treated as a woman walking into a comic book store. I love geek culture, but there is a gross underbelly that can be pretty harsh to people who aren’t clued into All the Things in their particular fandom. On top of that, comic book shops have kind of a nasty reputation of treating women poorly (there is even a website devoted to sharing “safe” and “unsafe” comic book shops for women, LGBT, PoC, and other minority fans). I’m not an expert on all things comic book-related, so I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous about going in and being treated badly or labeled “fake geek girl”.
Happily, my experience was nothing but positive. Obviously. I definitely would not have bought anything there if they were awful. Everyone was incredibly nice–staff and customers alike. The store was, understandably, PACKED, but staff members were still walking around, talking with customers. The staff was friendly and welcoming to everyone, and seemed genuinely happy to help out the customers in the store–which was quite a feat because I’m sure those guys had been non-stop crazy busy all morning. They all seemed to treat FCBD as a day to welcome new people to the store, and show them the awesome world of comic book culture–not as a day to shun new comic book readers. I loved that. Ultimately, it was a great experience, and you can bet I’ll be back. You can also bet that for FCBD 2015, I’ll arrive earlier.
If you’re like me and you love comics and graphic novels, but you’re still pretty unsure of All the Comic Things out there for you, check out Talkin’ Comics Weekly with Amy Dallen. It’s a Geek and Sundry show that can help you wade about in the vast, murky waters of comic book culture.
Did you participate in Free Comic Book Day? If you did, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!