Free Comic Book Day 2015

Modeled after the Amanda Conner Free Comic Book Day T-shirt from this year.

Modeled after the Amanda Conner Free Comic Book Day T-shirt from this year.

Today is Free Comic book Day, True Believers!

Free Comic Book Day, taking place on the first Saturday of May, is an annual promotional effort by the American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry’s single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors.

Free Comic Book Day has three main purposes:

1. To introduce everyone to the joys of reading comics.
2. To call back former comic book readers.
3. To thank current comic book buyers for their continued support.

Publishers produce special edition comics geared to attracting new non-comic readers. There is a wide diversity of comics available, from traditional comics fare like Archie and Disney, super-heroes from Marvel and DC, manga from Tokyopop, as well as work from independent publishers.

Here in Culver City, California, there are a whole bunch of events going on. Cool Cats Comics, on Pico Boulevard near Westside Pavillion, will be participating. They are a friendly, inviting comic book shop with staff that are all involved in the process of creating and publishing comics themselves. They will be giving away free preview copies of First Comics’ SERVING SUPES No. 2. The book follows the continuing adventures of the world’s only process servers who target super-powered clients. Creators Steve Stern, John Yuan, and Matt Yuan will be there to sign your copies and they’ll even sketch you a picture of your very own superhero. They will also have another exclusive at Cool Cats Comics and Cards, a brand new anthology series called “COOL FOR CATS.” That free preview is also exclusive to their shop, making them a necessary stop for enthusiasts interested in local talent.

In addition, The Comic Bug, which recently opened up a Culver City location on Overland will be having an event at their new shop, as well as their traditional Manhattan Beach location. in addition to both of those locations, they will be having a Free Comic-Con at the Culver City Teen Center. In addition to handing out the day’s special issues, the shop is sponsoring local creators to be present in a comic convention style event. There will be participation from over 70 comic book writers and artists, (some major some at the beginning of their careers), nearly every major publisher and loads of cosplayers and podcasts. Notable presences are Scott Koblish (artist for Deadpool), and Robbi Rodriguez, co-creator of Spider-Gwen for Marvel. There will be an artist’s alley for commissions, and a vendor tent, so it’s a pretty big undertaking.

In addition, they also have an exclusive. The Comic Bug has been working with artist Siya Oum and Marvel to print a special edition of Edge of Spider-verse No. 2, the first appearance of the popular Spider-Gwen. This exclusive cover will only be available at The Comic Bug starting on Free Comic Book Day for retail price of $10.00…limited to one per person. The sketch cover will be $20.00.

Honestly…I don’t have the best relationship with The Comics Bug as a shop. Still, they have placed a massive order of free comics, and have set up an incredibly local convention level event. It’s a pretty huge undertaking, and local comics enthusiasts should consider making their way over to it. As a comics enthusiast myself, I would feel remiss not making a note of the effort to cater to fans of the medium that I love so much…so I felt it important to mention the event in some detail, despite my personal feelings.

That True Believers, is the High Road. I have taken it, at least today.

The uncolored inks.

The uncolored inks.

Okay…maybe I need to take a little, brief detour onto the Low Road. Just for a second. They do have a huge artist’s alley at the event, with literally dozens of local artists. Some I’m aware of, some I’m not…a few at least, are webcomic artists. Why is that my detour to the Low Road? Well..I am quite literally a few blocks away, and these guys have my contact info. It’s not like I’m prepared to set up at a con…I’ve never considered it. Still…when they were setting up in Culver City, the last conversation they had with me was along the lines of, “We’d like to have you involved in our events, and so forth, blah, blah, blah.” It didn’t seem genuine when it was said, but the absence of a phone call, e-mail, or smoke signal put paid to the disingenuous nature of the spiel.

I’m not Scott Koblish, that’s for sure. Point taken. Still…in the alley for the event, there are plenty of people with “artist” next to their name. I certainly qualify as an “artist,” and the point was clear. Granted…my perspective toward them was hard headed when we last spoke (go figure). Over the past two weeks though, a large number of local comics enthusiasts called me, emailed me, and so forth, asking if I would be at the event.

So…for the sake of record…I will not be at the Free Comic-Con, and was not invited.

Being fair, I might not have invited me either.

Where will I be, with my Pony of Choice for the day? Good Question, True Believers!

Some art to answer that question.

Some art to answer that question.

In case that was too subtle, I’ll be spending the day at Pulp Fiction on Sepulveda, also in Culver City. They are also having a fairly big Free Comic Book Day event, with local creators on hand. Join us there for a celebration of the medium….perhaps a more subtle one than Comic Bug. As always, the Long Beach and Culver City locations of Pulp fiction will be coordinating with the Los Angeles Food Bank to help feed the hungry.

Here’s what that means: showing up for Free Comic Book Day gets you a voucher ticket for one of the offered Free Comics…HOWEVER, if you bring canned goods you can get more. The idea is to have people step up to the plate as heroes themselves, and help those less fortunate, while participating in the Free Comic Book Day event. I work at a Title I school in South Central LA, so this appeals to me a whole lot. When the staff of pulp Fiction invited me to participate, I actually jumped at the opportunity.

There will also be some all ages comics creators on hand, to make the environment very “kid friendly.” A complaint about comics as an industry is that these days, it’s often not that “kid friendly” so that’s a huge effort. Merill Hagan, one of the writers behind the popular “Teen Titans GO!” cartoon and comic book will be present, as well as the creative team from the incredibly clever “Monster Elementary.” In addition, Joshua Hauke – The creator of “Tales of the Brothers Three” will be on site…Joshua will also be teaching an all-ages art class on May 16th.

Oh…and I’ll be there, with a Pony.

No matter where you decide to go, each venue will have comics. Each retailer is making an effort to reach out to their community about the excellence of the comics industry, in their own ways. A case could be made for stopping by all three events.

I’ve been looking forward to this all week. I have a special t-shirt by Amanda Conner and everything. With a major Marvel movie coming out this weekend, the expectation is that interest in comics will be major…and yes…there is a Free Comic Book Day Avengers title, by Marvel. How could there not be.

Hope to see you at Pulp Fiction!

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