05.5.2008

My Free Comic Book Day Experience

So I was in Orlando on Saturday.  I was bummed that I would miss Free Comic Book Day in Tallahassee (specifically at the Cosmic Cat), so I decided to visit a couple stores in Orlando. 

The first comic store I visited is called A Comic Shop.  This is truly a cool shop.  It was rated the #1 comic shop in Orlando in 2007 by one of the local TV affiliates.  If you want to see more about that shop, you really need to visit their MySpace Page.  They’ve got some really great “Secret Invasion” videos and pictures they’ve created (including a pro-human, anti-alien protest).  Funny stuff.  Its worth stopping by their MySpace page just so you can see the photos of “The Girls of A Comic Shop” (the Girls website isn’t complete yet, so to see more pics you gotta visit their MySpace page).

I enjoyed the atmosphere and chatted at great length with the staff about the brilliance of Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man.  Then I got my Free Comic Book Day edition of Project Superpowers signed by the artist who was actually there on-site, Andy Smith.  I didn’t realize several companies were producing original comics for Free Comic Book Day (rather than simply reprints of previously published items).  Mr. Smith was very nice and we talked briefly about various comics.

Before I left I bought a few other items, such as Captain Marvel #5 and the latter half of the recent Action Comics story featuring the Legion of Superheroes.

Sci-Fi CityAfter that, I went to another comic book shop called Sci-Fi City.  I was fully expecting to be let down after such a great experience at A Comic Shop.  Wow was I wrong.  In addition to the ginormous store, there was a definite buzz in the air.  In one area of the store they had tons of miniatures gaming going on (with some really neat elaborate battlefields).  Then on the comic side, there were of course the free comics, but also several creators.  I was stunned when I walked in and read the sign stating that Chuck Dixon was there.  THE CHUCK DIXON – one of my comic writing heroes!  How cool is that!  This is the guy I had just mentioned in my blog the day before.  And the blog I wrote on Thursday about 1997 was inspired after reading one of the comics he wrote (Batman/Wildcat).  Some of the books Chuck Dixon has worked on include: Birds of Prey, Robin, Nightwing, Airboy, Batman, Punisher, Batman & the Outsiders, and the list goes on and on

Connor HawkeI spent a little while talking to him, mostly being a total fanboy and not stringing together very coherent sentences.  You’d think I’d be fine given the number of creators I’ve met over the years, but for some reason Chuck Dixon just wows me.  His simultaneous runs on Robin, Nightwing, and Birds of Prey was a fantastic example of writing stand-alone comics, yet finding a way to have a level of interconnectedness that doesn’t put the reader off.  I mentioned that I’d recently re-read his great Batman/Wildcat mini-series from 1997 and he then indicated the artist of that book, Sergio Cariello, was sitting just a few seats down.  Very cool!  I tried to find copies of Batman/Wildcat to have them both sign, but the store didn’t have any.  I mentioned this, and then Mr. Dixon was kind enough to instead give me a signed comic from his own personal stash.  It was a trade paperback of his recent Connor Hawke mini-series.  That was so nice of him!  I asked if there was any charge and he said no, but a donation to the “Books for Soldiers” program is always appreciated.  He explained how the program sends books (including comics) to soldiers abroad.  I saw a few singles and fives in the donation cup, looked at the cost of the trade paperback he gave me, and then donated $20 to the program.  It really is a neat program.  I thanked Mr. Dixon, told him how highly I thought of his writing, and moved on.  Running into Chuck Dixon was truly a case of serendipity.

Before I left I bought a few other items, such as the first half of the recent Action Comics story featuring the Legion of Superheroes (now I have all six parts and can read the whole story) and an Aquaman “First Appearance” action figure (the Sword & Sorcery Aquaman).

So to sum up, while I didn’t get to visit the comic shops in my own hometown on Free Comic Book Day, I did have some fantastic experiences that I won’t soon forget.

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4 Responses to “My Free Comic Book Day Experience”

  1. Todd Elliott Says:

    Dude, so you didn’t call your friends who live in Orlando? I bet you called Ed!

  2. Ed Says:

    Nope. Didn’t call me.
    I would have declined anyhow.

  3. Shag Says:

    I was in town visiting family. However, I was thinking of Todd when I posted the picture of the hot girl. I knew he’d like that.

  4. Ron Says:

    Wow, what a coincidence; I was in Tallahassee visiting. . . your mom.

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