Free comic book Day 2016
In Cleveland, we do free comic book day in style. It’s one of the nice things about this area, there are so many comic shops around – I know that there are parts of the country where you might only have one in the entire county. Some places they’re hard to find, but just around my area… We’ve got Keith’s in Elyria, Comics Are Go in Sheffield, (my personal favourite), we also got B and L comics in Parma, as well as York comics and Northcoast nostalgia out that way. A new little place popped up in North Olmsted where I work, a charming little shop called Nine Relms. and then finally there is Carol and John’s. Carol and Johns is arguably the biggest comic shop in Cleveland and the most respected. They work hard to be the center of comic culture in the area throwing parties and hosting events periodically throughout the year, not the least of which of these events is the midnight release party. There are sales in the stores, the special beer with fun labels, there is always an art show as well, with the store bringing artists am fine to do sketches and hobnob with guests. The night line generally the length of the Kamms Plaza and you will find people playing games, dressing up in costumes, and generally having fun with friends.
By the time I got there it wasn’t yet dark but the line had already formed and was inching it’s way down the plaza, stopping right around the corner. That was about as expected, though as the night stretched on, I did notice that the line formed more and more slowly, not achieving it’s usual prodigious lengths.
This year I decided that since I was getting in line crazy early (about 6:30) I wanted something that would kill a lot of time for the night so I pulled out my old pinhead makeup – you might remember this from back when we were doing the Hellraiser project on this blog. It’s a lengthy make up – usually clocking in at just under three hours (each pin has to be applied separately, so does each cut between the pins…that”s not just one long scar, it’s a couple dozen tiny ones)and today was no exception, but what was funny about it is that as I sat at my table with my mirror set up and my make-up on each corner I was still able to socialize and chat and hang out with people while I was doing the make up. People came around to watch as the slow transformation occurred.
A couple of friends – Marcus and Justin slid down from way further up on the line down to hang out with me. That was a great way to start the night to have people around. Eventually my friends Jennifer and Selena also showed up there (trying to get there around seven but it was closer to quarter after). They brought the kids and Jennifer and brought her husband along with our friend Chris. Bobbie showed up with the new baby complete with a little Spiderman snuggie and we simply took over the corner of that line. Shortly before 9 o’clock, my make up was done. I did a bit extra this year, adding more pens – I’ve had to recreate the bald cap as the old one split on me. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try and hit the magic number of 100 pins (According to Gary Tunnnicliffe, who did the makeup in most of the Hellraiser movies that’s how many there are). I’ve never been able to quite manage it – we tapped out in the low 90s.
As we waited for the doors to open I pull out my handmade puzzle box – a new addition to the costume. Insted of using my replica, I wanted something that glowed, so I built my own. The real key here was LED light that changes colour. I regularly use things from the dollar store, and this was a knick knack that was supposed to look like a butterfly, but after I ripped the wings and reworked some of the clear parts it looked more like an amorphous spirit inside the box. It glowed eerily through the slots in the box as the evening got darker and stood out beautifully in the night air.
The Ghostbusters showed up but let’s face it, these guys are not equipped to deal with Cenobites. I wandered up and down the lines checking out the costumes, I love what free comic book day brings out in people… We see costumes and outfits every bit as impressive as you would see at any convention.
Finally, around 11:30 the line started to form in earnest. People left the chairs and tables and began to queue up outside the entrance of the shop. I got in and grabbed my first 10 titles – it was an impressive spread this year and I managed to get all of my first choices that night. That’s a feat that seems to be getting harder and harder to accomplish as more people come out every year and the shops understandably begin to crack down on how many titles you can get (about 10 is average these days). I was also delighted to be far enough towards the front that I was one of the first 200 – and recieved a graphic novel as a result. A nice Avengers trade that I’ve never read before, I’m eager to get into this one.
I rushed out so I can get back home and get some sleep – Saturday morning was going to be a long day. By the time I woke up, my wife and I are already absconded with my younger daughter taking her to dance class. Maddie shuffled into her Supergirl costume and ran up to me with a little white stuff animal she found. It was a litte dog was black earsand she asked me if we can quickly make a cape and a collar for him… That way for Supergirl could carry around Krypto. I grabbed some scissors and pins and went to work, bringing together a quickie costume for her stuff toy.we headed out, hitting Nine Relms comics first.
This is the new store and I was eager to see how the place was, I’d only seen photos online. We got there just as the doors open and – the first customers inside. They were delighted to see some people showing up in costume (they weren’t sure it was going to happen) and ushered us over to where the free books were. I like Nine Relms, they are friendly and they got a nice even balance to between comic books and games. There are a bunch of toys on the shelf, predominantly from the 90s – that’s not a complaint. The 90s produced some of my absolute favourite superhero lines, not the least of which is the Total Justice line. I chatted with a customer at the checkout about the Green Arrow he was buying. The Total Justice line produced figures of characters like Connor Hawke and Kyle Rayner… Characters well over looked in mainstream toys. I look longingly over the old Star Trek micro machines and Maddie pointed out a zombie versus cheerleaders card game. We ended up buying a couple of
gravity feed Heroclix from Civil War – I let Maddie select them and choose which ones we wanted done when we unwrapped them in the car we discovered she had pulled in iron man, and a redwing – a sort of ironman drone. She was estatic about this figure and claimed it immediately!. We also spent some time on the arcade cabinet. Nine Relms has a couple of video games in the corner of the shop – Mortal Kombat three, and Marvel versus Capcom. I’ve got MK3 on the MAME cabinet at home but Marvel vs. Capcom 2 isn’t available for MAME. Maddie is familiar with one, there are characters in 2 that she hasn’t seen. She chose a Little red Riding Hood, which was hilarious to watch as my Captain America beat the tar out of her. I did end up winning, although it was close – and I gave Maddie the extra game. She likes this place, and I hope we’ll be back. In fact, I encourage you to try them out actually… It’s only been open a couple months, and they were having a kind of light turnout for FCBD, at least, light when you compare it to the line stretching down to the pizza place back over Carol and John’s.
There were Supergirls everywhere. Maddie couldn’t believe how many she kept seeing. I was personally impressed with the variety of Supergirls costumes.
Not so many Wonder Woman. Interesting.
Maddie I made it through in about half an hour, grabbing more comics, some for us some for Maddie’s younger sister Lydia, and a couple for the son of my wife’s friend – we also ended up with several duplicates for Maddie’s school – some of the teachers like giving those out during reading time. Maddie had fun at the art show, we didn’t stick around to meet any of the artists themselves – that’s something that we are more prone to do a comic convention, but she looked on with awe all of the beautiful pieces. I’m a big fan of sleepy robot, and some of the absolutely adorable little statuettes they created for this show… I saw thier booth up at ConCoction as well. I’m going to have to buy a couple of these pieces, I’m really, really in love with them.
We finish Saturday at Comics are Go! Mike over there had been holding a Batman versus Superman heroclix set for me and he ran to the back to grab it. It’s nice to have friends in these places. I also grabbed the Comics Are Go book. I heard them talking about this, and really I expected more of a autobiography. What it ended up being was a very indie book full of short stories, still incredibly entertaining and cool to have gotten signed by all the people who worked on it. I think this is a great idea for a shop and if I were running one myself we absolutely have a book about life in a comic shop… indeed, wasn’t that kind of what Violent Blue was about?
Outside in the bargain bins, Maddie found a stack of Marvel Zombies! This absolutely made her day, whenever we go to shows that’s what she’s looking for… Marvel Zombies, maybe some Simpsons and my little pony but especially Marvel Zombies. I handed her a ten and she ran in to pay.
One of these days I’m going to get the girls out to the square for the superhero production there – the local charity, super heroes to kids in Ohio, always does spectacular show with super heroes battling villains right there live in the center of my city. I know a bunch of people who are in it, as well as the writer and it’s always a great time.
Last couple years I did free comic book day alone – well not exactly alone, I ran into friends and acquaintances everywhere I stopped, but this year it was really nice to have my little sidekick back, when we got home and it was time for bed that night – I saw Maddie reading Camp Scary and she was absolutely absorbed in it. That’s a great part about this – discovering new stuff. Hope you’re free comic book day was just as eventful.
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to see She-Hulk. I was trying to get Maddie or Lydia to do her for our FF! The fact that it’s the Lois and Clark Superman just kills me! Absolute 90’s photo!
Here’s the thing, to fully appreciate that Ghostbuster costume…you have to see
Winston (the cat who lives at the comic shop)just want’s this night to be over. (Andy Donaldson gets that one shot of him that I just couldn’t manage!)