My first destination was actually a comic book shop that both Handsome J and I ended up going to. The difference is, we went at much different times. Jesse James Comics in Glendale, AZ had a special midnight opening and they had multiple guests and plenty of comic books to giveaway. I did not get an ooportunity to get pictures of all of the guests but I was able to strike up a conversation with Jeremy Clark who had a table set up and he was actually on a recent podcast with us. Funny addition to this story, I ended up Jeremy Clark at three different destinations. He's super talented and a pleasure to chat with.
Jesse James Comics had some great giveaways. Those who arrived and were wearing wristbands received a special pack of free comics, including an exclusive to Jesse James Comics edition of Youngblood #1. Once inside the shop, the twisting and turning line also brought shop-goers to ten more free comic books. Two were comic books from the branded Free Comic Book Day table and then eight more comics from the specially chosen stacks of comics. They were actually really cool comics and I picked up a few I had been meaning to read(X-Men '92 #s 1-2 and Jessica Jones #s 1-3 to name a couple).
I also was able to add some other books to my collection as most of the recent back issues were only $1.00 each. I was able to pick up #1-5 plus the Rebirth issue of Justice League of America for just a dollar per issue. This will be an annual destination for sure.
I got about three hours of sleep and then we got the family ready and it was time to head to our next destinations. Next up was Samurai Comics in Mesa, AZ. This is the must-attend event of Free Comic Book Day in Arizona. This feels like a miniature Comic Con there are artists and writers galore. The event is put on by ACME, the Arizona Comic Mini-Expo. As far as free comic books go, attendees were limited to three unless they brought a school ID or library card, then you could get five. The manager of the shop, Justin, does an incredible job orchestrating this event.
Samurai Comics is the place where I bought my favorite item. Tim Seeley,who currently works on the Nightwing comic book for DC Comics, was signing autographs and selling books and artwork. Mr. Seeley had a stack of comic book boards that were from lesser known works and didn't generally have a ton of action. The thing is, it's original art so I couldn't pass up the price. I did not see anything with tentacles so I went with a page featuring a pimp. I liked that there was a close-up of a hand holding the cane. This is the type of artwork that aspiring artists should observe.
Gotham City Comics in Mesa, AZ. The line went through the back entrance and brought you into the store. The back entrance has a really cool painted wall. You actually enter through the TARDIS. There was no limit on comic books that I know of. The attendees were incredibly polite and nobody seemed to be grabbing at everything and they really just picked up what intrigued them. I picked up a few comics that I did not get from the other shops and said "Hello" to Jeremy Clark as he was set up at a table here as well. Gotham City Comics had a bit of a scavenger hunt as they partnered with the local businesses. There were live bands on the street and the atmosphere was fun. We had another stop to make so we left the hunting to the other patrons.
Our final destination is a favorite of Maskerpiece Theatre. Fantastic Worlds Comics in Scottsdale, AZ. We recorded a podcast at Fantastic Worlds Comics recently and I was able to chat with the owner, Bill, for a few minutes. I found out that the shop had a huge line in the morning and the folks that work at the shop could barely get through the door. Since I arrived in the afternoon, there wasn't a line but there was a steady flow of patrons that were eagerly taking advantage of the sales. There did not seem to be a limit on free comic books here either but you could tell many people had already come through. They did have a few good issues left so that was nice. My daughter did incredibly well as Fantastic Worlds is the most kid-friendly comic book shop I have ever been to. Every time I am at Fantastic Worlds Comics, I see an interaction with a child that you can tell makes a young person's day. This is the shop for the lifetime collector. Fantastic Worlds Comics is also the place to go for key issues of comic books. Free Comic Book Day was an incredible time to go as most of those issues were 30% off.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I know the picture is small, but yes, that is Jeremy Clark in the photo. He was setting up his table But I didn't interrupt him. I didn't think he needed to be bothered by me for a third time in twelve hours.
That was our family outing across that started out in the west valley of Phoenix, AZ late at night and ended in in Scottsdale. We had a lot of laughs, met some incredible people, chatted with old friends and walked away with a whole bunch of comics. The countdown has begun for the first Saturday in May of 2018.
What did you do for Free Comic Book Day?
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