Monday, May 9, 2011

Unbridled Capitalism: FCBD 2011

As is the tradition, I swung by Borderlands in Greenville, SC this past Saturday for Free Comic Book Day!  Borderlands was my LCS for a long time, starting in 2006 when I moved to the Upstate, until it got to the point where money was tight and I had to switch to a mail order service.  Earlier this year, the longtime owner sold the shop, and in the few times I have been there since some changes have been evident.  New bookshelves, new layout, a reading couch.  That sort of thing.  So I was not prepared for the huge change in the handling of FCBD.

Stan never seemed to make a big deal out of FCBD.  The freebies were up front, and there was a sale.  Pretty straightforward.

I knew things were different this year as I got to the light on Laurens Rd and there was a giant inflated ape standing in front of the shop.

Ooooh boy.

I have never seen the shop this packed with people.  Just people everywhere.  Even the Big Annual Sale doesn't draw crowds like this.  A line snaked around and through the store and out the front door just to get the free comics.  (Of course, it snaked past the new comics racks and the trade shelves, natch.)  In the shadow of the ape outside, there was about a half dozen local artists doing sketches and signings, with an appropriately large crowd as well.  Strangest of all was the Mjolnir cake in front of the register, although considering the cakes at the BAS this year I shouldn't be surprised.

Needless to say it was pretty insane.  What I expected to be a 10 minute stop turning into an hour-plus of waiting on line to discover that they barely had a third of the free comics even available.  Hrrn.

I will say this though, my crotchetiness not withstanding: there were a lot of kids there.  I mean a lot of them.  A mother in line behind me asked how the free comics worked (my response: "Well, they're comics which are free.") and said that her boys loved comics.  Judging from the kids running around with various comics and collections in their hands it seems like that sentiment might have been widespread, and that at least is good.

Now for the loot:

War, What Is It Good For? -- I finally picked up Showcase Presents: The Unknown Soldier, taking advantage of the 40% trade sale.  I have become a sucker for War books and the DC ones are some of the best.  Unknown Soldier is a great concept for a War character because you really can put him anywhere in the conflict and tell a story with him.  Unfortunately though I also have a ton of other phonebooks to read, so who knows when I will get to this one!

Wonder Woman -- I know what you are asking -- Wonder Woman?  Something of an odd choice for me I know.  But as I wound my way through the store, we passed the 3/$1.00 bins and I saw a late Bronze Age Wonder Woman comic in front.  So I started flipping through it.  In it was a decent run of the very late pre-Crisis WW stuff, including some of the books by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan, which I just recently read about in Back Issue magazine.  So I grabbed a few and said what the heck, picking up issues #284, 289-290, 295, 297, and 299.  I like Wonder Woman even though I have only read a handful of her stories, and these looked pretty interesting.  Plus I figure if I don't like them they can always get donated to the Children's Hospital at some point.  Plus I knew Frank would be proud of me, heh.

So, what did YOU get at Free Comic Book Day 2011?


Diabolu Frank said...

I'm proud indeed, and envious, because I haven't read those Wonder Woman issues.

My suspicion is that this is the year the recession finally caught wind of FCBD. Folks have been poor and otherwise in dire straits long enough to track down a comic shop at take advantage of a low/no cost event.

However, I did my time, and now hate brick and mortar shops. I get my big two books for 38% off every month through mail order, and simply paid the $0.30-0.50 cost for each of the "free" comics I wanted in advance. For some reason I couldn't get the GL/Flashpoint one, but the rest came easy (and I actually got mine 1 1/2 weeks before FCBD.)

Young Justice/Batman was alright, mostly for the better second half. Spider-Man was a blast until the main battle ended and the event build-up began. Captain America/Thor was just okay. Super Dinosaur kind of got on my nerves, like they've already got a toy line in the pipeline. 2000 AD was good, especially the Dredd done-in-one. I still haven't read Elric, Locke & Key, or the Magic: The Gathering ones.

Luke said...

Want to trade the 2000AD one for the GL/Flashpoint one? ;)

I think you may be on the money in your assessment, although locally I know the new owner went all out on the advertisements and really packed em in. (Radio advertising DOES work.) I too got my FCBD books from my online mail order service but stoopid me forgot which ones I ordered!