Monday, May 08, 2006

Free Comic Book Day report

Well, Free Comic Book Day has once again come and gone. Like drug dealers, comic shops across the nation handed out free samples of their wares in the hopes of hooking new, steady customers. And I was once again there to witness the scene firsthand.

I've been sick the past three or four days and I had some serious internal debate as to whether I should just cancel my appearance at Sarge's Comics, stay home, and enjoy a combination of work and rest for the day. I don't really enjoy doing signings and wasn't feeling at my most social. The people at Sarge's are very nice though and I would have felt guilty if I had stood them up, especially at the last minute...so I stopped feeling bad for myself, jumped in my car, and made the 45 minute trek down to New London. I did get there about a half an hour late though, sorry. I was waiting for my underwear to finish drying.

The staff had laid things out differently this year although to describe the layout would be too hard for me so I'm going to skip it. I was seated next to a fellow named Ben from Wizard Magazine and a guy named Steve who published a comic called the OZ Squad. I already know Ben a little bit but Steve was new (to me) and seemed to be a nice guy.

It looked like a decent turnout, lots of families bringing their kids in for free swag. The stormtroopers were there. Even Lord Vader himself made an appearance. No one really seemed to know who I was or what I did, which was fine because I was kind of low energy anyway. All told, I think I signed maybe fifteen comics over the two hours I was there.

Giant mosquito and former pro wrestler Ox Baker, whom I used to know fairly well, made a point to say hi and instantly started harassing me in his Ox Baker way about doing a comic with him as the star. After over ten years of my saying "NO," Ox is nothing if not eternally optimistic. Armed with the experience gained from years of handling Ox, I subtly passed him off to Ox-handling rookie Ben from Wizard. Seeing him helpless in the Ox-slaught, I stepped back in and directed the conversation away from Ox's dream comic and towards which wrestlers could have kicked Ox's ass back in the day if they really fought. Lou Thesz was the one he seemed to respect the most for his real life ass kicking ways. When the free pizza arrived, Ox vanished to get his share. If it's free, the Ox is there.

I gave a page of artwork to a fellow named Murray who was back from Iraq and figuring out his next move in life. Store employee and friend Malinda threw me a couple of pieces of pizza and made sure I was alive every once in a while until my time was up. Brotherhood of the Whooping Stick member Brad popped in towards the end and we grabbed a quick bite of Thai food, at which point my FCBD '06 experience came to an end.

I decided on the drive home that this will be my last FCBD signing. It's a good cause and I genuinely like the Sarge's people but these signings, both in stores and at conventions, are something I enjoy less and less each time I do them. I'm not sure why except that it doesn't feel natural to my personality.

Of course, when they ask me next year, enough time will have gone by that I'll probably forget I decided I don't want to do signings anymore. So I'll probably say yes and write something just like this after FCBD 07. In fact, I guarantee I can just cut and paste the Ox Baker paragraph and save myself the typing time.

Thanks for reading,
Keith

7 comments:

MrNinja said...

Drug dealers give out free comic books!?! That's diabolical!
Even though I couldn't make it to FCBD, I sent one of my students disquised as Ox Baker's mustache. I did manage to stay true to form and dressed as Sailor Moon for the day.
Have you given any thought to hiring a team of ninjas to spice up your appearances? Some times an arch enemy is all you need to turn that frown upside down. Its not only exciting for you, and Ox Baker, but think of the great time the fans will have.

malinda said...

Oh, sweetie. You know I'll just beat you next year until you say yes.

And I agree that you should bring a flock of ninjas next time.

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Brad-Brown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brad-Brown said...

Well, maybe we can figure out a way to interract more with the crowd next year. My feeling is that many folks are too shy to work up the nerve and engage the artists. And as a result they tend to just walk by the signing table. Just an idea but perhaps if one of the staff was to periodically announce who signing and encourage interraction, it might be more enjoyable for you and the customers. I haven't seen any metrics to find out if FCBD is even effective. Are they drawing in new readers or are they just cannabilizing existing consumers?In a related note, even on your deathbead you're an ejoyable lunch guest. I'll see if I can find some sterno for your home consupmtion.

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TomNguyen said...

I didn't even realize FCBD had come and gone! You're too big-time to do signings....lead a private celebrity life like Johnny Carson. :)