Free Comic Book Day 2015
Well, another FCBD is on the books. I swear, this day has become something of a holiday in my house, as I take the day off of work and spend it with my hatchlings every year. They view it as Christmas in May...only with comic books! We had unbelievably good weather this year, with highs in the mid-70s and plenty of sunshine.
I lay down one ground rule for them: Grab no more than one copy of anything. If you grabbed it at one store, leave it at another and give someone else a chance to get it. I bought something at nearly every store, as these “free” comics aren't free to retailers. Whether it was a few $1 box comics for the kids or a handful of Shogun Warriors floppies for my collection (that is my current run that I am piecing together- 15 down, 5 to go!), I try to buy something everywhere. There were a few that I didn't, but I tried.
The earliest opening store was Time Travelers in Berkley, MI, opening at 9 AM. I had intended to be there when they opened but my 5 year old daughter decided that she had to have a costume...at 8 AM. My wife, ever the trooper, threw this together for her out of extra fabric that she had. My 8 year old son was dressed as Batman but decided to just wear a shirt at the last minute. They are both veterans of many FCBDs. Time Travelers had people beginning to roll in as we arrived around 9:20. There was a limit of 6 free comics per person as well as punch, donuts, and cookie. Unlike past years where we arrived here later, we came her first and found it well stocked with free comics.
Next was Detroit Comics in Ferndale, MI. I lived in Ferndale for a decade or so and always enjoy seeing how the old 'hood is doing. They offered 2 free comics for adults and 3 free comics for kids. They opened at 10, and we arrived there a few minutes early as a small line formed. I always enjoy seeing newbies at this event, as it never fails to see one of two types: the first who believes that ANY comic is for free, and the second who was like the meth-head who had one of every comic in his stack and claimed that the extras were for his nephew...who wasn't there. Come on. If you want to get many of these special editions, do what I do: store hop. It takes time, effort, and some money but I guarantee that you will get everything that you want. There wasn't a single comic that I wanted that I did not get by the end of the day.
Warp 9 Comics in Clawson, MI was next. They opened at 11, and we were done with Detroit Comics by 10:20, leaving us a good amount of down time for a Slurpee break. We stood in line for maybe 20 or so minutes and were already 30 people back, with the line growing much longer. The store switched owners since last year's FCBD and I was surprised to see that the new owner still offered 10, count them, ten, free comics. The line moved slower than molasses in January. The Millennials in front of me were puzzling. There were three of them, and two of them stood there staring at their phones in line, not saying anything to each other the entire time. Then they stood there staring at the comics as if this were a life or death decision not to be rushed, seemingly oblivious to the ever-growing line behind them. I weep for the future of humanity.
I zipped back down the Southfield Freeway over to I-96 to the west side (well, as far west as I was going, at least), to Back To The Past Comics and Collectibles in Redford, MI. This store is in an industrial district just south of the freeway and it is a store in a warehouse. I mean an actual warehouse, filled with all sorts of cool stuff including newspapers, vinyl, etc. They had a limit of one free comic for person. My son loved their endless dollar boxes, as he loves “old” comics from the 1990s. Ugh.
After a lunch break at McDonald's we hit Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, MI. This is their first year in their new building, and the new store's layout worked better for traffic flow. They offered three free comics, four if you wore a costume, donated canned food, or donated a cellphone. There was a tent outside with various artists.
Then we went to Big Ben's Comix Oasis in Allen Park, MI. The crowd was still strong but thankfully there was no line wrapping around the building this year. They offered three free comics per person.
I was ready to stop, as I had everything that I wanted but the kids wanted more. Wonderworld Comics closed, moved to Lincoln Park, MI, and renamed themselves Quick Stop Comic Shop. The line was still long by the time that we got there, probably around 3. There offered 5 free comics for adults and 10 for kids. My daughter passed since she had one of the ones that she wanted. I picked a few oddballs.
I was really, really done, but my son wanted more, and since there was one more store nearby we hit it. Hero Time Comics just opened this year in Southgate, MI. They were picked clean and had only three different titles left. Since we had them all we passed, although my son grabbed another “old” comic from the 1990s from the dollar box.
So that's it. We were done by 4 PM this year, largely due to the construction projects not forcing me onto surface streets. The kids are looking forward to next year, and so am I!