Topic: Comic Cons
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3410:
This past weekend, on Saturday May 7th, many of the Local Comic Book Shops, (LCBS) in North America celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, (FCBD).
This blog is an update on a blog report series from the 2009 FCBD in the Metro San Diego Area that I previously posted.
At that time my wife, Tina LoSasso, and I visited thirteen (13) LCBS for the 8th Annual FCBD.
This year, my youngest son, Vinnie, and I visited just ten (10) of the LCBS that were supposed to be celebrating the 10th Annual FCBD that is held in North America, (at least). We visited 8 LCBS, before I had to drop him off at his mother's, and then I finished seeing the last 2. All together, I drove 147 miles during the 10 & 1/2 hours, emphasizing 'quality time' at the LCBS, instead of 'quantity time'. Getting to see the owners of the LCBS a little longer, and watching the flow of attendees for FCBD for blogging purposes.
Of course... What would FCBD be without those FCBD comic book editions that are purchased by the LCBS owners to distribute for free at their LCBS to entice new readers into their shops, as well as to reward current patrons?!
For 2011 there were two 'tiers' of FCBD editions. There were ten (10) different 'Gold' tier comics, and twenty-seven (27) Silver tier comics, as seen in the link just provided, for a grand total of thirty-seven (37) Whew, you gotta collect 'em all!
I don't say that in total jest, although we here in the San Diego Metro Area, didn't get to see all thirty-seven (37) of the FCBD comics in person. As a matter of fact, between my son and I, we were only able to obtain a copy of only twenty-nine (29) of the possible thirty-seven different FCBD comics. And this after driving all those miles and visiting ten (10) different LCBS!
Here is the 'breakdown' of those ten different LCBS that we visited. The 'breakdown' is the 'Limit' that each LCBS allowed attendees / patrons / customers to receive by showing up at the LCBS. (Note: This is the 'limit' at the time that Vinnie and I were visiting the LCBS, as the 'limit' may have changed afterwards, or the way the comics were being distributed may have been different before or after we were there.)
The 'Limit' is by the amount of FCBD comics that the LCBS allowed a person to pick up for 'Free', not in the order of the way we visited the LCBS chronologically. (Note: Each of the LCBS' presence on Facebook, if any, is shown in the link provided.)
10 - Southern California Comics - San Diego
5 - ComicKaze Comics - San Diego
5 - Invincible Ink - San Marcos
3 - On Comic Ground - Hillcrest
3 - San Diego Games & Comics (ex-Artifex)
1 - San Diego Comics & Collectibles - La Mesa
1 - Crazy Fred's - La Mesa
1 - Comics n' Stuff - El Cajon
? - Sky High Comics - Vista
0 - Book Off (wasn't participating)
To me, the above number of FCBD comics that were distributed at each LCBS seem just a 'tad light' in numbers, considering that FCBD is supposed to be a marketing 'event'...
With gasoline being approx $4.29 gallon in our area for regular, the FCBD editions comics would not be 'worth' driving for, as an 'introduction' to a LCBS.
Indeed I personally found it not to be very good marketing to have just 1 FCBD comic book distributed to an attendee, although my wife, "Marketing Tina", thinks it make sense. After all it is Free Comic BOOK Day, not Free Comic BOOKS Day, she says!
Yet, after 10 Years of a program like this FCBD, you'd think that LCBS in our area would have figured it out better than this over all the years to be prepared... But I'll leave more of my editorializing for the end of this blog.
Here's my thoughts of each LCBS we visited, followed by Vinnie's comments. This done in the order that visited the LCBS, starting at 9:30 AM driving and ending at 7PM when I ended driving.
Book Off - (Michael) Turned out not to be a LCBS, but a used book & video store, that had a huge amount of manga (and anime) along with a small selection of relatively recent comics on a 'spinner rack' of all things! (Vinnie) We first went to Book Off, which my dad understood that was taking part in FCBD, according to some website. However, that was not the case. But, we did find it to be a place worth coming back to on another weekend.
Southern California Comics - (Michael) After travelling 130 miles back in 2009 to do the earlier report on FCBD, I decided last year, (2010) to blog & mobile Facebook at this LCBS. That's because the owner, Jamie Newbold, had a special feature at his 2010 FCBD event. A Million Dollars of Comic Books! As seen in this link. This year he decided he couldn't top that, so he had additional collectors set up booths in his parking lot with their non-comics items for sale, which include G.I. Joe, Star Wars, etc. An interesting concept to go along with the FCBD comics that were distributed by Jamie's LCBS. Putting away any personal relationship I may have developed with Jamie over the years... I found this LCBS to be one of the two best presentations of the 10th Anniversary of FCBD of the ten LCBS that we visited. (Vinnie) We then went to Southern California Comics, where we picked up free comics and joined in the festivities that other attendees were doing. We looked at the booths opened that were selling toys, action figures, and comics.
San Diego Games & Comics (Artifex) - (Michael) I have been to this shop before a few times. However, I had no idea that the shop had moved, and there was no sign on the empty storefront to say where it had moved to! We found it using my smart phone's web browser, but had to go out of our way to get to it, as there are no left turns allowed in the area. The emphasis at the shop has always been on gaming, when I had been there before. Which was no different for this year's FCBD 'event'. There was a line out the door when we arrived there, but not for the FCBD event. The line was to get in to pay for playing in the tournament for the newest release of MTG. What was left of the FCBD comics were placed on a table outside of the shop, with no one to assist an attendee or to impose a 'limit'. Since there were only three titles there, (left out of how many?), I'm assuming a 'limit' of three. The inside of the shop was full of tables with gamers sitting & waiting for the tournament to start after everyone in line 'bought in'. The comic books for sale were on shelves against the wall, but you couldn't get to them, without climbing over gamers to get to them... (Vinnie) After that, we went to Artifex, which is now SD Games and Comics. By the time we got there, most of the comics were already wiped out. As today was the release for a new set in Magic the Gathering, the place was crowded with gamers. As the main attraction, free comics, was nearly gone, we stayed for a short time to look at their new location.
ComicKaze Comics - (Michael) I was pleased to see that the owner of this LCBS, Robert Scott, was not 'scanning' the FCBD comics like he had done in 2009, when Tina & I visited this shop. Which had caused a long line backup, IMO. Instead, this year the FCBD comics were on a table outside of the LCBS, where either Robert or a store employee was overseeing the 'limit' of 5 FCBD comics that could be taken. I had an interesting conversation with Robert, who is well known in the comics retailer world. Robert's vision for FCBD event is to center on the FCBD comics to be distributed and be there to help guide the new attendees as to what comic books have to offer, and invite them in to the interior of his LCBS and show them publications / TPBs / Graphic Novels that could be of additional interest to them. This LCBS is one of two LCBS that I believe has the best presentation for what FCBD is about. (Vinnie) We then went to ComicKaze, where they gave away more comics, with the limit of 5 per person. In addition, there was a marketing person passing out free tee shirts featuring the comic book movie "Priest" that is coming out May 13th. We picked up one for my dad, Tina, and I, as well as additional tees for an upcoming Facebook Fan Page contest my dad will be mentioning soon at: "MIchael D Hamersky On Comics", so be sure to see that link of his.
On Comic Ground - (Michael) This LCBS is at the location that 'Comic Kingdom' was located at for many years. This LCBS only has one of the small storefronts that Comic Kingdom used to occupy, (out of the three that are there now). This is the only LCBS that we visited in 2009 and now in 2011 that has parking meters in front of it, and off to the side to park. And SD parking enforcement does enforce the time meters! So, we went inside, and found our 'limit' of three FCBD comics each, and gave Vinnie time to see this LCBS, as he hadn't seen it before. (Vinnie) After that, we went to a store called On Comic Ground. It didn't seem to be too much involved in the FCBD event, other than a poster on the window, but we did pick up some FCBD comics there. However, they limited it to 3 per person. We didn't stay long, but it was good to see a new place for myself.
(Michael) I just realized how long this blog post is scrolling, and I'm only halfway through commenting on the ten shops that we stopped at, plus I want to expand on my editorial thoughts of the 10th Anniversary of FCBD being 'celebrated' in the San Diego Metro Area. So I'm going to stop at this point, and come back with 'Part 2', probably tomorrow, while all of Saturday's memories are fresh in my mind.
In the meantime, I mentioned the FCBD editions, and that even we couldn't locate all 37 of the FCBD comics for 2011. (I had a Facebook Friend ask for a full set if we managed to put one together... No luck!) So we are listing our duplicates in our own online LCBS at ComicBooksCircus.com for online purchases for those of you that possibly couldn't find them in your area and wanted to have specific issues. Plus I have a few from prior years of FCBD comics editions available for sale, if you missed out then also...!
Please check out this Blog for Part 2 of this series, probably to be published tomorrow!
Plus, additional photos from this 2011 FCBD event in the Metro San Diego Area will be posted in a special photo album at my own Facebook Fan Page!
My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now at 3,410 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!
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~ Michael D Hamersky
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