This last weekend, we arrived early for Free Comic Book Day at our favorite shop. Or at least we thought we had. At 9:30 a.m., the shop had only been open thirty minutes, but already, a long line extended to the free comics table.
Note for next year: Free Comic Book Day is an SPF 50 Event.
As our comic book shop had teamed with other local businesses, those in line could peruse stalls filled with toys, collectibles, games, videos, food, and of course, comics. If you had someone who would hold your place in line, you could duck under the canopies and explore what the other vendors had to offer. Getting into the shade from time to time proved mandatory. Even those manning the booths, sheltered by the sunshine, sent their helpers out periodically bring them bottles of water. Now, what they needed was someone walking the line, calling out "Soda, lemonade..get your cold drinks here!" You know, like in the sports stadiums.
After thirty minutes, we reached the free comics tables. There we found a wide range of comics, including new "Free Comic Book Day" licensed sampler issues, and myriad older titles. Mindful of those waiting behind me (and all those yet to arrive), I tried to restrain myself, and not take too many. That was hard, as all the titles and covers looked so interesting, and promised rousing adventures. I also tried to choose older titles that were completely foreign to me, in order to widen my understanding of all the wonderful world of comics had to offer. After we made our selections, a gentleman bagged our comics, taped the bags shut, and released us to enter the shop.
Hot, tired, and dripping with sweat, we then faced up against a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Avoiding her bewitching gaze, we couldn't help noticing the sign she held: 50% off selected old comics!
And then there were all those comic book-decorated cupcakes.
Inside, the store was crammed full with more people than we'd ever seen in there at one time. Many were parents with young children. The children, for the most part, seemed on their best behavior, perhaps because their parents revered comics. As one father told his daughter: "Remember where you are."
After perusing the shelves and boxes, and constantly moving so that others could navigate around us, the air had grown hot and muggy. We looked at our watches, and realized that an hour had flown by! So we waded through the crowd to the checkout line, where the staff kindly stacked all our free and purchased comics in an easy-to-carry box. As we left, we noticed the parking lot was more full than when we arrived, and the line just as long. We happily ceded our space to a new arrival, and drove off to an air conditioned restaurant, where we refueled our energies and cooled our overheated bodies with icy soft drinks. Hopefully, everyone else who attended found plenty to amaze and delight them on Free Comic Book Day.
Stories of all types may provide the reader with a unique, vicarious experience, but procuring fun and enjoyable comics can prove immensely hard work. Or at least it did for this year's Free Comic Book Day. Not that we're complaining.
Still, maybe we should have recharged ourselves with some of those cupcakes. They looked as if they were bursting with energy...
Related Dragon Cache entries
Free Comic Book Madness