Topic: Comic Cons
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3411:
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 attempted to visit the thirteen (13) LCBS that I was informed were participating in the 8th Annual FCBD.
This year, my youngest son, Vinnie, and I attempted to visit just ten (10) of the LCBS in Metro San Diego that were supposed to be celebrating the 10th Annual FCBD that is held in North America, (at least). We visited 8 LCBS together, before I had to drop him off at his mother's, and then I finished driving to 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 attempting to visit ten (10) different LCBS!
I did say this was 'Part 2' at the top of this blog, right?
Well, I'm not going to repeat the rest of Part 1 here.... You will have to read that at the link provided here.
Okay.... Are you back for more?
Here's the continuation of the ten LCBS that were visited. I've already posted on the first five in Part 1 for 2011, so this is the final five:
Crazy Fred's - (Michael) Tina and I had visited this LCBS back in 2009. It was still listed as participating for 2011, thus I went to the location we had seen it at. However, it had also moved, (the second one so far this day, and no sign on the previous shop's window as to where). Thus I had to call the LCBS to find out where it had moved (hopefully?). Turned out it was just up the street a bit. Vinnie took a couple of photos, which I'll be sharing at the special album at my Facebook Fan Page soon. 'Crazy Fred' was as friendly as before, but I found that the 'limit' here was 1 FCBD comic, plus 1 Thor Saga comic, and 1 HeroClix of War Machine. Turned out that the LCBS had just moved in the last month, and that it had been burglarized twice already in the new location, along with the person(s) taking almost all of the FCBD comics that had come in for the event. Thus the reason for the limit. I talked with Crazy Fred for a while, noting that the new location had plenty of room for growth for gaming, which is a large part of his interests, and wished him luck at the new location. (Vinnie) We headed to Crazy Fred's, a comic and card shop. The main emphasis was on Magic the Gathering, though. We stayed there awhile, doing what he intended his store to serve for; a place to chill out and relax. He allowed 1 FCBD comic, a Thor saga comic, and a Heroclicks War Machine mini figure.
San Diego Comics & Collectibles - (Michael) I have known Greg Pharis for several years, as I used to stop in and buy back issues for my personal collection years ago, when I used to live in central San Diego. Tina and I did not see his LCBS during the 2009 FCBD event. The limit here was 1 FCBD comic. This is a long time established LCBS. The shop was busy while we were there, but again it was a '1 FCBD comic' limit, with a small selection to choose from. Granted, we were there in the mid afternoon, after Vinnie and I had stopped for a quick lunch. One of the employees, Bobby, was very helpful asking those in the shop if they needed any help, and knew where everything was. He was also the one that gave me the FCBD poster to hold in the photo shown above. I also talked about old times with Greg Pharis, the owner, as he also goes back quite a ways in the San Diego comics scene. (Vinnie) Then, we went to San Diego Comics and Collectibles. They limited it to 1 FCBD comic and 3 preselected back issues. We also picked up a couple of Thor wondersticks,which you inflate then hit against another to produce noise. It was perfect timing, as the Thor movie just came out to theaters Friday. We also picked up some comics while we were there. They had a deal that I have never heard of. If a comic or magazine has the letter "m" anywhere on the front cover, the book is 30%. That, I found, was quite spectacular.
Comics n' Stuff - (Michael) We didn't bother driving to the two locations that this chain has in the South Bay of San Diego, as I figured it would be one (1) FCBD comic again, as it was in 2009. I found after checking with the clerk at this location that I was right... And again, the selection was placed in a binder with clear plastic sleeves. An attendee would have to wait until another attendee was finished looking at the binder to make a choice... Good thing we weren't there when it was busy late in the afternoon! I used to buy a lot of comics at this chain of shops, but over the years I couldn't keep up with the openings and closings in the malls where several of these LCBS were placed. I'm not for sure actually how many are still up and running at this time. I forgot to pick up a business card, that usually has the most current list. (Vinnie) Finally, we went to Comics n' Stuff. They sadly limited it to only one per person. We look around for awhile, and bought some dollar comics. This was the last one of stores I visited with my Dad, but you can read more from him; who would be visiting two other shops.
Invincible Ink - (Michael only) After leaving the East County area, I drove alone back up to the North County area of San Diego. I stopped in at this LCBS, which my wife, Tina, always suggests to friends who have never seen a LCBS. That's because it is the most friendly looking and well displayed LCBS she has seen in the whole of San Diego Metro Area. (And she's seen at least 16 of the 19 possible comic shops still around in the area over the years!). Rob, the owner, was present, along with his two employees. There was still a good choice of FCBD comics from the 2011 selections, plus a few older FCBD editions from previous years to keep the table looking full. The four of us discussed the THOR film that had come out on Friday, the FCBD event, and how it went during the day at their location. When the LCBS started getting busy again with more persons coming in, I excused myself and set off for the last LCBS to visit for the day...
Sky High Comics - (Michael only) I drove to Vista, where Sky High Comics was located. However for the 3rd time that day, I found another LCBS that was not where I had last visited it! Plus it wasn't all that long ago! And again, no sign on the window telling me where it had moved. As with the other two, that had moved, I had checked to make sure that the LCBS was participating in the 10th Anniversary of FCBD. So another phone call was placed. Yes, the LCBS had moved... And there was "some kids comics left" from the FCBD event. I decided that it just wasn't worth driving to, as it was now 15 minutes from that LCBS closing, so I stopped to do an errand (shopping) before heading on home...
(Michael only) I'm here in my home office on Wednesday early morning, close to 6:30 AM, writing my thoughts of the final five LCBS that were visited this past Saturday for FCBD. The thoughts of what FCBD for 2011 were for me, a long time comic book fan, just makes me sad for what this event has evolved into, at least for the Metro San Diego Area. You would think that on the 10th Anniversary of this FCBD event, that it would be bigger and better than ever before in San Diego...
Sadly, for me it wasn't. And for those other individuals that Vinnie and I saw at multiple LCBS in San Diego, looking for the FCBD editions that they wanted... I'm sure it wasn't what they were expecting either. Yes, as one of the LCBS owners told me... There are people who go from LCBS to LCBS to LCBS, taking 'free' FCBD comics. Well, after seeing the LCBS that Vinnie & I visited... I can see why. Between the two of us, we couldn't put together one set of the 37 different issues. And I really wanted that 'Misadventures of Adam West' FCBD comic!
So, I think that for the 2012 FCBD event, that I'll 'work' on Tina to join me in a drive to the Los Angeles Metro Area to see at least one LCBS for their FCBD event. There was one that was planning a full day of FCBD events at their LCBS, and I know of several attendees at Semantink's Comic Savvy monthly meetup who were going for the FCBD event this year. A few were setting up a table for their publishing company at this location. I'll find out how they fared, and if it was worth the trip in their opinions, to help me forumulate my FCBD plans for next year.
So for a large metropolitan area that still boasts of having the Comic Con International in their America's Finest City... I found that the FCBD event for 2011 was rather... well... to put it nicely... rather 'lacking' overall.
Sure there were some bright spots, which have been mentioned in this 2 part blog series, and there were some not so bright spots also...
With three LCBS having moved locations since 2009, and one that isn't around anymore that I visited in 2009, (Comic Gallery which once had three locations), this comic book retail shop business is still in turmoil during this economic downturn.
Again, with San Diego being known world-wide for 'Comic-Con', you'd think that the retail distribution method of brick n' mortar shops would be stronger, and more supportive of the 10th Anniversary of Free Comic Book Day overall...
In closing... I invite you to tell me of your 2011 FCBD experiences in your area over at my Facebook Fan Page.
Oh, wait... I couldn't close without saying this... 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 either and wanted to have specific issues. Plus I have a few from prior years of FCBD comics editions still available for sale, if you missed out then also...!
Plus as a reminder... 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!
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~ Michael D Hamersky
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