So I says to my wife I says, “What are we doing Saturday?”
“Nothing that I know of.”
“Are you sure?”
“No one’s getting married?”
“No violin recitals?”
“That’s next Saturday.”
“No kid concerts or family reunions?”
“Is this going somewhere?”
“You do realize that Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, and every year there’s always some event that comes up to disrupt this should-be national holiday.”
“Well, first — no I did not realize that Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, and second — we have no plans so knock yourself out.”
Woo-Hoo! Finally a FCBD where I don’t have to rush around to get back in time for something or miss it entirely because of something. I can spend all day going from shop to shop, at my leisure.
I did not get up early — because I didn’t have to — put on my Hawkeye shirt and made my way to Star Clipper on the Delmar Loop. I arrived at 10:22 and the line was already almost to the Tivoli. Under normal circumstances this would aggravate me, and if I were in a hurry it would enrage me, but I had all day and it was a gloriously warm and sunny day, so I decided to chill and enjoy the moment and the people watching.
I wound up behind a family of 8 — mom, dad, five girls and a boy (I’m assuming they were all related). The youngest was in infant dressed as Wonder Woman. She slept through the whole thing which was truly wonderful. Mom had a WW T-shirt on and the girl in the stroller did as well. Dad wore a Captain America jacket and the oldest girl had a Cap T-shirt. The boy was wearing a nifty Dr. Strange T and the last girl was wearing something I didn’t quite catch — a power ranger or my little pony or something. Clearly the black sheep of the clan.
Behind me was a girl with a bicycle. As is my way, I did not strike up a conversation with any of them.
I passed the time admiring the variety of superhero T-shirts people wore. There was a contingent of cosplayers dressed as Batgirl, Supergirl, Flash, a Power Ranger, some guy I didn’t recognize (probably from a video game) and the cutest little girl in a Fantastic Four outfit. A guy showed up later in a full-on all-black Batman movie costume. It was very convincing except he was carrying a bottle of Gatorade or somesuch. It ruined the whole look. Batman does not look cool holding a plastic bottle. And Batman should Always Look Cool. He should’ve found a way to hook it to the back of his utility belt. The real Batman would have.
Thirty minutes later I made it to the door. The girl behind me seemed intent on dragging her bicycle through the narrow aisles of the shop. Two employees pointed out that that wasn’t going to work. Turns out that in her excitement to snatch free comics she had left her lock and chain at home. The employees put the bike in a safe place.
It was another 10 minutes before the line reached the three tables of free comics. One of the young girls in front of me was beginning to tire of the ordeal. “If you don’t behave we won’t go to any more comic stores after this one,” the father explains. What a wise and firm parent.
Exactly one hour after arrival I exited Star Clipper with my bag full of 10 free comics. Sadly there were no pens or other knickknacks like last year. My next stop was Slackers where I was greeted by Jessica Rabbit, a Ghostbuster and Spider-Man.
“Nightwing! No, Hawkeye!” Spidey says.
“Right the second time,” I says. (I had the exact same conversation a couple weeks ago at Comic-Con. I guess Nightwing’s chest emblem is similar.)
It was not quite noon and Slackers was already out of free comics except for one I wasn’t interested in. I made my way back to St. Charles for a stop at Comic Relief. Normally this is where I get this year’s HeroClix to display on my desk. For some reason CR is the only place that seems to get them. This year they were offering a twofer of Batman and Joker. They had one with a $4.99 price tag on it. I’m not paying $4.99 for something that’s supposed to be free, so I left.
My next-to-last stop was The Fantasy Shop, where they were also giving out 10 free books per customer. The place was busy but there was no long line at the free comics table so I picked up 10 more books and headed home. There was a FCBD sign outside the library so I made one last stop. They had a small selection of kid comics so I just rented “Elysium” and headed home.
Tomorrow: The comics