In retrospect, I feel I should have made last week’s column promoting Free Comic Book Day. Maybe even post twice last week. (*gasp*) Unfortunately, that is then and this is now, the week following Free Comic Book Day.
Really quick, what is Free Comic Book Day? The first Saturday in May, participating comic shops across the country and beyond give out specially-created free comic issues to increase awareness for the comic book medium and the shops that sell them. You can learn more from reading Free Comic Book Day’s FAQ, or just listen to Wolverine himself: Hugh Jackman.
I took a good tour of the local Nashville comic shops throughout the day, visiting Rick’s Comic City, The Great Escape Madison, and Comix City Too. While each one celebrated Free Comic Book Day, each one did it in their own way.
Rick’s Comic City, located in a strip mall in the Donelson area of Nashville, made the day a big event. Their free comics were outside on tables in front of the store, thankfully covered from the rainy day by an overhanging roof. RCC attracted several costumers and even local artists, such as Guy Gilchrist of the newspaper comic strip Nancy. The neighboring store in the strip that’s not typically part of RCC housed more merch and the artists who signed and gave drawing lessons. The store even gave out a ticket to exchange for more books for each $10 spent. (I picked up two copies of Iron Man: Extremis, which the third Iron Man film is partially based on.)
Instead of going the event route, The Great Escape Madison used the opportunity to show off their other merch. In addition to comics, TGEM also sells albums, movies, video games, toys, and collectibles. It’s a nostalgic trip of a store. Its free comics were in the back of the store, not hidden as signs and staff made their location clear. Their placement forced people inside the store to be enticed by their merchandise and take advantage of their 40% discount on used comics and trades. (You know I did.)
The same thing happened at Comix City Too, keeping its comics further back in the store. CCT showcased its table top gaming. In addition to comics, this store prides itself by serving fans of board games, card games, and pen-and-paper RPGs with extensive merchandise selection and regularly-hosted tournaments and game nights. If you’re a Warhammer fan, this is the store for you.
Despite the differences of these three stores – from making Free Comic Book Day an event all its own, using it to showcase a varied selection, or merging it with an already-established gaming event – each of these stores were packed in attendance. I had to wait an entire half an hour in line for the register at RCC, and the other stores had respectable crowds as well. I wish I thought to take some photos of the several friends and other cool people in costumes and show off how popular the day is.
Free Comic Book Day seems here to stay in Nashville’s comic shops, and I hope it was just as successful at your own.
What did you do for Free Comic Book Day?
What books did you pick up?