Free Comic Book Day '09

fcbd_nodateErrand runs to a couple of bookstores, a West Texas Writers workshop, a Scholastic Book Fair and the search for free comics made for a full Free Comic Book Day.

The Boy and I left the ladies to their own devices (a day of shopping) and headed out on our quest for gratis works of sequential art about mid-morning. No half-hour animations for us. No, sir. We returned almost nine hours later with armloads of great FCBD stuff.

Our first stop was Hastings Entertainment in Odessa, who once again failed their customers on Free Comic Book Day. They offered DC’s Blackest Night, Impact University, Savage Dragon and Shonen Jump. That’s all. Out of about 40 available titles. And they had only a small stack of each.

I’m told specialty shop retailers pay 20 cents for each FCBD comic, and I suspect Hastings pays much, much less. Surely an “entertainment superstore” with the resources of a chain affiliate can afford to do more than a piddly four titles.

Hastings in Midland thinks more of their clientele. They offered the same four titles and Archie, The Avengers, Bongo Comics, a Dark Horse sampler, Oni Press’ Resurrection, Sonic, TransFormers/G.I. Joe and Wolverine: Origin of an X-Man. There was, unfortunately, a 10 book limit.

The store looked great, however. I don’t know when they last remodeled, but I’ve never seen the place looking so clean and inviting. Perhaps the Odessa store could learn a few things from the Midland location.

DPC (sometimes known as Dale’s Planet Comics) defied expectations by participating this year. It’s my opinion that Dale struggles to justify the expense of FCBD against the return gained. His supply may have been picked over by the time I arrived, but I know for sure he offered most of the above titles plus Aliens/Predator, Cars, the Dabel Brothers Showcase, NASCAR Heroes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. DPC also featured a $1 bin from which I picked up the Lone Ranger and Tonto #1. It may not be free, but it’s hard to beat a buck.

Thunderstruck Comics and Collectibles proved to be the clear victor this year, offering both a multitude of Free Comic Book Day swag and superior customer service. The Boy and I agree it’s the place to go to shop for comics and related paraphernalia, and I’d rather take my son there than other establishments. It’s not that Thunderstruck doesn’t carry a certain amount of questionable material, but the atmosphere there is more pleasant.

FCBD Thunderstruck

The still young comics store went to lengths to provide 41 free titles, a sampler chapter from a Magic the Gathering novel and a special FCBD Minimates Figure. The Boy and I were allowed to take multiple copies. I also bought a copy of the first issue of the new Muppets Show Comic at a 15% discount. Discounts are an everyday thing at Thunderstruck and not just for FCBD.

The titles this year appear to skew more kid friendly than in the past. The last couple of years have been a huge improvement over ’07 when pornographic content was offered. A few books look a little rough, but last years Arcana sampler taught me not to judge a free comic by it’s cover.

West Texas Writers met for our last scheduled meeting before the Summer break. We played a writing game which turned out to be a lot of fun. Thanks go to Shonda for the idea.

The Scholastic Book Fair presented hundreds of good books at low prices. The Boy and I got in to the exclusive sale because of our family’s commitment to homeschooling. I scored a copy of Amelia Rules! Funny Stories and Bone Volume 3: Eyes of the Storm at 50% off. They didn’t have the first volume, and I’ve already read V1 and V2 anyway; so I grabbed the third book. (Now I have an excuse to purchase the others.)

Free Comic Book Day ’09 can safely be declared a huge success. Now, on to the reading!

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

3 Responses to Free Comic Book Day '09

  1. TexasRed says:

    We picked up the Avengers for free at Dale’s plus a stack of $1 Fables and some X-Men and Serenity (Joss Whedon’s). Need to find our way to Thunderstruck next year!

  2. adamtree says:

    I’m reading a Fables TPB I got at the library; Suprised by how good it is.

  3. Pingback: Internet Meme: Sharing Personal Information « The Sky’s the Limit

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