May 9, 2011

Rundown of My Free Comic Book Day

Comics make me a happy girl. Pair comics with the word free and add tons of signings and sales all over my city, and you’ve got an exceedingly chipper, excited girl.

I formulated a master plan for stores I would visit on Friday night. I made my list based on location, sales, events, and really, just whether I liked the store. I didn’t try out any new stores this year; I’ve been to all the places on my crawl once or twice or you know, weekly. Here’s a rundown of my day of comics:

Golden Apple Comics
I could see that the crowd was big at Golden Apple from a few traffic lights away. They had a bounce house, a herd (a gaggle? a team?) of costumed superheroes in front, people were lined up in camp chairs down the sidewalk, and lots of balloons announcing that something big was happening. Lots of passersby were slowing down to stare. I hope some of them decided to stop for comics. It was actually hard to navigate through the people in the store. It’s a good problem for a shop to have. I made my way to the back of the store to get in line for free comics. I tweeted that Walter Koenig would be starting his signing soon and as I hit send, I looked up and he was walking past me. We made eye contact, we smiled at each other, and then I nerd-flailed on the inside. My day was already made.

I picked my free comics and went inside to take advantage of the 25% off hardcovers and $1 back issue sale. Those sales are why Golden Apple was on my list. I found some Star Wars comics that caught my eye, and I purchased the Lucid trade paperback.

@ArkhamAsylumDoc, @LadySteam13, and me at Meltdown Comics. Photo by @RadNerd
Meltdown Comics
Meltdown was the stop of the day I was most excited about for many reasons: lots of friends were stopping by, Archaia was there with creators and full size Skesis from The Dark Crystal, and the Grilled Cheese Truck was parked in the back. I don’t know how anyone could look at that list and not go. I spent an appropriate amount of time drooling over the carefully guarded Skesis. Seriously, they had two security guards in addition to a rope. That makes total sense; I’m amazed and grateful that The Jim Henson Company let them make the trip. Then I was tempted to sit down and watch Dark Crystal since they had it playing on a decent size screen, but priorities – comics and grilled cheese. In that order.

Stephen Christy, Mel Caylo, and a few others from Archaia were present to hand out comics and to be generally awesome. They brought creators Brian Holguin (writer for The Dark Crystal comic) and David Petersen (writer and artist for Mouse Guard) with them to sign the flipbook that Archaia published this year for Free Comic Book Day. Incidentally, said flipbook is beautiful and I’ll cover it in another post.

After adding more comics to my stack, I obtained a Cheesy Mac & Rib grilled cheese sandwich from the food truck. It was mac ‘n cheese and BBQ pulled pork on a sandwich. So good. I could have stayed at Meltdown all afternoon with friends and the grilled cheese, but I eventually had to leave to move on to my next stop.

Collector’s Paradise, Canoga Park location
Collector’s Paradise is a bit of a drive north, but in addition to being a fun store, they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale on trades and graphic novels. I ran into friends again; we had the same stops on our list – great geeks think alike. Or we were stalking each other. The store was packed with artists doing sketches for charity, a very tall Batman, and a funny Spiderman. I made it a relatively quick stop, grabbed my comics, and used the sale to help expand my collection of Fables softcovers.

House of Secrets
Last but oh so far from least, I went to the comic book store I visit almost every week: House of Secrets. This store makes me happy for so many reasons. The staff is so friendly and helpful, they have a huge selection of trades, and did I mention the helpful part? The place just has a good vibe. If you live anywhere near Burbank, do yourself a favor and stop by.

Okay, enough gushing. Walter Koenig was also at this store! I inadvertently followed him. Apparently, I had just missed Wil Wheaton stopping by to chat with him. I intended to get a signature from Koenig on his new comic, but by the time I checked out, he had already left. I did get some more comics though, and one of the aforementioned friendly staff members – Amy – helped me with my Thor project. (I don’t read a lot of capes comics because the sheer volume of them intimidates me; she helped me figure out some starting points for Thor).

It was a terrific day, and for the bajillionth time, I realized how wonderful it is to be a geek.
I would like to thank the weather for being spectacular, Archaia Entertainment for organizing so much goodness in one place (especially Mel Caylo!), the L.A. freeways for being tolerable, my friends for being fantastic, and the ladies at “my” comic book store, Amy and Susan at House of Secrets, for being so helpful/adorable/awesome, etc.

As you can see, I ended up with several comics. I’ll be keeping a few – you won’t be able to pry the signed Dark Crystal/Mouse Guard flipbook out of my cold, dead hands – but I’ll passing most of the these comics along to you via a couple of giveaways soon.


  1. lol, seemed like you cleaned up! i kinda wish fcbd came more than once a year but then, i suppose it wouldn' be as special!


  2. It was an epic day! I can't wait to share some of my haul of comics with folks. :D

  3. Man you're lucky! I was happy just to have one comic place in town. I'm new to the whole comic book world but would be interested in reading some Thor- where are you starting?


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