Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Free Comic Book Day!
I'm running a little behind on this post but this past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, an event sponsored throughout the country to support awareness of comics and to promote the industry. Many comic book shops have industry professionals show up to their stores for signings and sketch events as a means to really push the days sales and increase that visibility. This is the third year I have had the opportunity to do some volunteer work down at my local comic shop, Atomic Comics.
Atomic is the biggest comic book chain in Arizona with four locations, in Paradise Valley, Chandler, the Mesa Superstore, and my store, the Metro location. This year the store owner, Mike Malve, loaded up on a huge number of local talent instead of getting just a few big names, and had over 25 different local industry pro's doing sketches. All the proceeds generated from the sketches went towards the Hero Initiative, a comic book charity that gives backs to long time industry pro's who didn't have the retirement plans or medical insurance options back in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's. may of the creators of your favorite comic book characters, like Batman, Superman, the Flash, many of the X-Men, and Wolverine, get none of the generated profits these hugely marketable franchises generate as they were under a proprietary contract. As a result many of these pro's are in bad situations, with homes being foreclosed and mounting medical bills as they get older. The Hero Initiative gives back to help to alleviate some of the pressures of comic books great fore-fathers.
Getting a chance to volunteer down there was great. I got to do the same job I have had the last 2 years, passing out free comics to anyone who comes up and generally chatting about the medium to both established and new customers. I even helped generate some sales for the store with recommendations of books for people to read. I handed out comics for about 8 hours or so at a pretty steady clip, people really responded great and everyone was super excited to be there and be involved. It was kind of a bonus that we got to give to charity as I was having fun just being a part of the experience.
I think maybe the coolest aspect of free comic book day was knowing that my best friend, Jason Worthington was one of the local pro's doing sketches at the table. Watching him prep and get ready for the event was cool, but he really knocked it out of the park and I know that everyone down at the hop was impressed with the great quality of his sketches. I even commissioned a great Dazzler sketch from him that you can check out on his blog, http://eltoromuerto.blogspot.com/ along with some of his other work. It was cool that he got to do that and even promote his upcoming book, Zombies vs. Cheerleaders from Moonstone Comics. I'm excited to see what kind of stuff he has upcoming and what kind of gigs he may get from San Diego Comic Con in July.
Overall I had a blast and I can't wait until next year to take another turn at it. It was great working for Atomic for the day and to be able to talk to so many cool people about something I love so much. Also be on the lookout for a new Word Balloon featuring the super hero of the month, Iron Man, tomorrow.
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