Saturday, May 6, 2017

Free Comic Book Day - Phoenix, AZ

Free Comic Book Day is the 1st Saturday in May.  That can be bad news here in Phoenix, Arizona because the weather starts hitting 100 degrees by then, which it did this year, or at least the 90s.  So here's a rundown of the westside of the Valley of the Sun.  I didn't have my kids this weekend, and their mom never takes them, so my daughter gave me a mission to bring back any and all Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn free comics.  I would succeed!  Sadly though, no Harley in any of the books this year.

Love the store.  Great people.  They have more of a little festival with fun activities for the kids and boasts over 40 tables of artists, crafts and community clubs which is inside the American Legion Hall.  It is very organized, they even had laminated print outs with pictures of the covers of all the free comics that they had so people could think about which ones they wanted beforehand.  Very thoughtful and efficient.

The main problem is that the line to get inside the Legion hall backs up real quick.  I arrived at the 9am opening and there was already a line which took about 20 minutes of waiting to get inside.  They have some shade canopies set up.  But there is a big dead spot of standing in the direct sun between the canopies and the front of the building where the line extends to back into the morning shade (even less shade once noontime rolls around).

As you enter the first room in the hall you get to pick out your 3 free comics, plus they had some buttons and other different extras you could choose from.  They had a good stock of the free comics but were already out of a few of the more popular titles like Rick & Morty.  But the problem is that everything backs up in the next, bigger Legion hall room where all the vendors are located.  We're only 20 minutes into the day and the room is already packed.  I got my comics and got out because it was already difficult to move down the rows.

It was the same way last year and I ended up not going in then because just the line waiting to go inside was wrapped around the corner and down the street.  I wasn't going to wait 1-2 hours to get a few free comics.

So I probably won't bother to check them out on Free Comic Book Day anymore.

They moved to a much bigger store a year or two ago, and it was a wise decision.  The free comics were in an open area at the back of the store so there was a lot of good flow as everyone moved around the tables to pick out their comics.  And an extremely wise business move - they offered 10 free comics.  In addition to the full stock of the standard Free Comic Book Day titles they included a wide host of other comics for free.  Some were back issues that were never going to sell, obscure titles from smaller or independent publishers.  Some were back issues from series that failed.  Had a bunch of Marvel's Civil War II titles; I browsed through some of the comic books and realized why they hadn't sold - what a boring series!  Some great covers but the inside was full of civil but hardly any war.  Lots and lots of nothing going on.  But they also had some more current back issues available for free.  Wisely, there was a fair amount of Rocket Raccoon/Guardians of the Galaxy issues scattered around the tables.  And all those back issues that no one would buy can be written of as a loss or as a promotional expense for tax purposes.  Good planning.

Once again, love the store, great people.  But they had a 1 free comic limit.  Unless you bought $5 or more of their regular stock, or made a $5 donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, then you could pick out another 5 of the free comics.  Or if you bought $25 worth of the specially priced $0.99 titles then you could pick out 25 of the free comics also.

Too much of a hassle, and kind of a hustle, so I didn't even bother to stop in.

SAMURAI COMICS - Phoenix location
Place was packed!  They had the free comic books set up at tables toward the middle of the store, there was a good traffic flow despite the crowd.  They allowed 3 free comics and they had the full selection of Free Comic Book Day titles.  I even picked up the free one for The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess which was already out or not at the other two stores.  Which was lucky for me because my son loves Link.  I was happy to see that there was a massive increase in the number of comics that would appeal to little girls my daughter's age (Monster High, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wonder Woman, DC Superhero Girls) but not that many that he would have picked out.  He would have said "meh" to a majority of the free titles this year.

And Samurai Comics was great proof that you don't need any extra gimmicks.  Yes, people were in picking up only free comics, but a majority of the crowd was in one of several lines to buy other comics or geeky items they had discovered.  So Free Comic Book Day was a success in exposing people to the wider world of comic geekdom.

I myself only got the free titles on this specific adventure because I already picked up the new Scooby Apocalypse issue last week and none of the stores had the Disney Haunted Mansion graphic novels that I've been looking to pick up.  I always try to support local before turning online.

I would declare Jesse James the best of the westside for Free Comic Book Day in Phoenix.
But we're all winners - because we got free comics!  Hurray!

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