Free Comic Book Day: The Aftermathening

Another Free Comic Book Day has come and gone, and brother, I am exhausted.

And with good reason, I think: For me, FCBD’s the longest day of the year. I worked from 9:15 AM to 9:45 PM, and while twelve and a half hours of giving away comics is still a lot better than digging a ditch, it’ll wear you out. But as tiring as it can be, Free Comic Book Day’s a whole lot of fun, and since I rarely get into the retailer side of things–because, you know, everybody already reads Mike Sterling–I thought it’d be nice to hit the highlights.



This is what the Free Comics wall looked like shortly before we opened the store. A couple of things to note: On the right-hand side of the middle shelf, you’ll see some Neotopia books from Antarctic, who were kind enough to send us twenty of Volume 2, and two of Volume One. Also, they had huge staples through the spine to keep the pages in, which gives me the idea that somebody at AP found a box of trades that were returned for defective binding, slapped a Free Comic Book Day sticker on it, and then called it a night.

The big movers today were–get ready for a shocker–the X-Men book, but Hellboy and Atomic Robo went fast, and every time I mentioned that the EC book was reprinting classic stories by guys like Johnny Craig, a bunch of people would reach for it.



One of our loyal customers, the always-delightful Sean McGuinness brought in a Free Comic Book Day Cake that his wife made. You guys may know Sean from the time Marvel officially declared him to be Columbia’s #1 Ghost Rider Fan after he sent in a picture of his tattoo of the Midnight Sons logo, but I’ll always remember him for combining three of my favorite things:

1. Comic books
2. Pastries
3. Things I don’t have to pay for.

In addition to the books and the cake, I also organized a series of raffles to get rid of dead stock add an extra incentive to come out for Free Comic Book Day. I was a little worried about how it was going to go, but when the first winner was a ten year-old kid that got to walk out with Tales of the Demon, Long Halloween, and Showcase Presents Brave and the Bold v.2, I felt pretty pleased.

The best moment of the raffles, though, came later. I thought it would be fun to have two winners compete against each other in a Superman trivia contest, with questions like this:

Which of the following was not an alter-ego of the Silver Age Jimmy Olsen?

a. Turtle Boy
b. Elastic Lad
c. Nightwing
d. Marco Polo

The answer, of course, is C. Jimmy Olsen was Flamebird, and as we all know, he’s totally the reincarnation of Marco Polo.

The problem with this plan was that the two winners were two women who’d brought in their kids, but had never actually read a comic book in their lives, which meant a fun few minutes of me asking questions like this:

Who was the first reporter to get an interview with Superman? Anyone? The first mild-mannered reporter to get an interview with Superman? It’s how he got his job at the Daily Planet? He knows Superman very well? He wears glasses? Any ideas? He’s in a comic you’re holding right now?

But it was all good fun, and they both got a big stack of Superman comics–including the Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, Birthright, and the Kirby Jimmy Olsen trades–for the kids.

Eventually, though, it was time to close up:



This is the Free Comics Wall just before closing, and I’ve gotta say: What the hell, Sonic the Hedgehog?! I’ve always got kids coming in asking for Sonic comics, and we were even doing pretty steady sales on the cheap digest-sized trades that Archie was putting out for the earlier ones, so I ordered pretty heavily on them in hopes that it would meet the demand and give me a good idea of whether we need to just go ahead and restock ’em all, and yet I’ve got a ton of ’em left. Go figure.

I did, however, see a kid in the store who was wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog hat that looked like he was wearing the top of Sonic’s head on his own. It was a lot like what Kirby wears when he copies Sonic’s abilities, but in real life, the effect is a little creepier than in Smash Bros.

Also, I bumped my head really really hard while I was trying to give someone a stack of Essential Tomb of Dracula. Seriously.

Aside from the free comics, though, there was one more big thing worth mentioning. My pal Chad was one of our guests today, and along with copies of his own comics–Doctor Impossible and Danger Ace–he brought some promotional material for the one we’ve written together: The Skiptracers.



And yes: That handsome side of beef throwin’ up the horns on the left is single, ladies.

The poster in the middle is actually the cover to Skiptracers #1 by the artist of the book, Jay Potts, who left before we took the picture. As you can see, it is totally awesome.



As for the pages, those’ll have to stay under wraps for a while, but I will say this: It happens on Page 5.

So! All in all, a pretty full Free Comic Book Day, and a very tiring one. How was yours?

We Found Somebody Who Loves To Draw!

Those of you who were paying attention a couple of weeks ago might remember that I put out the call to find an artist for a book I’m working on with my pal Chad, and I’m happy to report that the position’s been filled!

As cliche as it might sound, I didn’t get any submissions that I didn’t like, but in the end, it came down to one guy, who–oddly enough–turned out to be local. So ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the newest member of Team Skiptracers, Jay Potts!

Here’s his first sketch of the guys:



After hanging out with him a couple of times and throwing ideas around, we realized that he’s brought something to the table that Chad and I never expected: He’s actually as excited about this thing as we are, and after seeing his thumbnails for the first few pages, I can confirm that it totally comes through in his art.

Again, I want to thank everybody who sent in art, as well as everyone who commented with interest in the project. Hopefully, I’ll have some more to report soon, because we’re all having a blast with this stuff.

We’re Looking For People Who Love To Draw!

Announcement time, everybody: For the past couple of months, my pal Chad Bowers (who you might remember as the writer of Danger Ace and the FlashBack Universe’s “I, Paladin”) and I have been working as co-writers on a project that we’re calling The Skiptracers, with the goal of submitting it to Image later this year.

But there’s a slight problem.

It looks like the guy we’d originally planned to have doing the art, Pedro Hermosilla, isn’t going to be able to do the book after all, and that leaves us without an artist. So I’m bringing it to you guys: Anyone out there who wants to draw our book?

Just so you know what you’re getting into, here’s a few details: The book concerns two guys, and as you might expect from the fact that I’m involved in it, they get into all manner of hijinx that usually end in violence. Here, have a look at a couple of Pedro’s sketches, based on Chad’s original character designs:



(Click to enlarge for a better look)


Obviously, it’s still early enough that we don’t want to give away too many details, but that should be enough to be getting on with, artwise. Before that, though, a couple of requirements:

1. You’ve got to be able to draw cars. That ride in the second picture isn’t just there to look cool; it’s a pretty necessary part of the book, and as the stories go on, there’s a lot of driving involved.

2. You’ve got to be able to draw fights. This one probably goes without saying, but, well, if there’s a scene without a car, it’s probably got some kung fu to make up for it.

3. You’ve got to be able to draw everything else. Because seriously, you guys? This is a book where there’s a German tiger tank, post-apocalyptic road warriors, robot cowboys, and cavemen riding dinosaurs on page one.

So, you know. If you’re Kenichi Sonada, you’re in.

Beyond that, we obviously need someone who can turn out quality work (ideally fast quality work), and who’s willing to commit to the project. If there’s anyone out there who’s interested, please drop an email and some samples at the address in the sidebar, and hopefully we can get this party started right.

Thanks! Now, back to the real content.