Happy Free Comic Book Day! The thirteenth annual celebration of graphic storytelling narratives and/or floppy funnybooks was a rousing success, judging by the sights my wife and I saw at the three Indianapolis stores we visited. This year’s intent rightly wasn’t to reward the adults for sticking with the hobby through thick and thin. As you can tell by the above photo, including and entertaining today’s children was a major priority. Sure, many of them were based on beloved properties from other media, but those who looked carefully could find some original creations seeking their attention as well.
At our first stop, Downtown Comics North, a second table housed the not-necessarily-all-ages comics. Whatever your tastes or sensibilities, both tables had plenty to offer. We kept our wants modest and did not take one copy of everything. I have no justifiable need to hoard sixty new comics in one shopping trip. Many free comics, perhaps, but not five dozen. As you age and your home overflows with stuff and things, you’ll find that at some point “freebies” and “mandatory acquisition” cease to be synonyms.
I passed over items for a variety of reasons. I felt too guilty to take one of the Archaia hardcovers. The Valiant Comics sampler was just excerpts from upcoming comics which I already know whether or not I’ll be collecting. The Archie Digest was a generous serving of more Archie than I’ll ever need all at once. And I dismissed a few free titles that starred breasts, with women attached to them as an afterthought. All told, I picked up less than half the available books, but that still added up to a hefty reading pile.
Exactly as I planned, I purchased something at every store we visited. I picked up a few trades I’d been considering (this year’s focus: Miles Morales), I decided to try a few new series I hadn’t been following (Captain Marvel, Lumberjanes, Amazing Spider-Man), I caught up on the last three months’ worth of Deadpool, and I picked up the new issue of Furious (see previous capsule mention), which I’d missed on Wednesday.
(My one disappointment: three shops and not one of them had a single copy of Evan Dorkin’s Eltingville Club #1, which Dark Horse released April 23rd. My usual shop didn’t order it, didn’t recognize it, and refused to pay attention to me when I spelled the name for them. I’m guessing I’ll have to order a copy online and try not to grouse too bitterly about shipping costs or being ignored.)
The line was sizable by the time the doors opened at 11 a.m. but moved quickly. The folks from Indy Pop Con brought donuts, coffee, and free swag. Reps from the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo were handing out flyers and a few free tickets. Downtown Comics offered merchandise discounts and a Twitter-based prize drawing for which I still have my fingers crossed.
Special guest heroes and villains were on hand to usher fans inside, stand tall, and be awesome. Exhibit A: Hawkguy and Nightwing!
Representing for DC Comics before the New 52: Poison Ivy, Dawnstar from the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Firestorm the Nuclear Man.
Wonder Woman was in charge of determining which fans were worthy of entering and partaking of today’s featured literature.
WW’s teammates, Ms. Marvel and Veronica Lodge.
New arrival as we were leaving: hard-workin’ Harley Quinn.
Stop #2: Comic Carnival, our city’s oldest comics retailer, still plugging away after nearly four decades. We’re not in the vicinity very often, but I do like to check in from time to time. Their store is smaller in comparison but more tightly packed with literal wall-to-wall back issues as well as trades and new stuff.
On hand to welcome us: She-Ra! Yes, the renowned Princess of Power is much more accessible to her fans than that distant, standoffish He-Man, who probably hates reading. Forget that guy and I hope he never gets to be in a movie.
Stop #3: Downtown Comics West for our grand finale. Like their north-side counterpart they had a line before the doors opened, but the party was well inside by the time we arrived. Inside were many bedazzled children, eyes wide and hands grabby. My wife assured a few tiny doubters that yes, everything on the special table really was free; yes, they could take whatever they wanted; and okay, yeah, this strange free Marvel comic called Guardians of the Galaxy is gonna be a movie pretty soon, so eventually they’re gonna be somebody! They trusted her, looked up to her, and assumed she worked there because she’s awesome that way, and probably also because we were wearing the Free Comic Book Day 2014 T-shirts that Diamond Comic Distributors was giving away at their C2E2 booth last weekend.
Our hosts at this soiree: a Dalek of sorts, a different Wonder Woman, and Robin (pre-New 52 Tim Drake version).
Another nice touch: musical guests the Orchard Keepers regaling the crowd. The store’s relocation to the Ben Davis High School area a couple years ago has created more opportunities for community interaction, arts-based encouragement, and conveniently located trading-card tournaments.
In conclusion: literacy, heroism, representation, inclusiveness, adventure, community, and yeah, Someone Thinking of the Children. That was our fantabulous Free Comic Book Day 2014 here in the Circle City.
See you next year! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have way too much reading to do.