[photos: Cian Polson]
Many years ago in a galaxy far, far away, a man named Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics, came up with an amazing idea: Why not give away comic books for free, to attract new readers and customers?
It was actually about ten years ago that the first annual Free Comic Book Day was born, in May of 2002, and has gained in epic popularity since. At Flying Colors, in Concord, California, it was a party atmosphere complete with cake and punch, and everyone was in a great mood. It was a bit like a teeny little Comic-Con, as there were celebrities, cosplayers, and kids of all ages in attendance enjoying the atmosphere, comics, prizes and merchandise.
Headlining the event were the soft-spoken Zack Whedon (of Dr. Horrible fame) and the dynamically outgoing Georges Jeanty, artist for the Buffy comic book. They made a great team and spoke with the fans as they came through. The line outside stretched around the block, with one lucky line-dwelling recipient winning an Avengers movie one-sheet poster signed by the cast.
Outside the store was a large table full of hardbacks on sale, and adding to the street party effect, other stores started to join in and offer things like a free drink when you show your Free Comic Book Day comics.
At shortly after 12:00 noon, the Mayor of Concord himself, Ron Leone, made his scheduled appearance in order to later give his proclamation at 12:30. Before he did, however, he mingled with the crowds and even had an unusual conversation with Cobra Commander, who was doing an excellent acting job under that hood.
Then, at 12:30, the Mayor stood with Joe Field and read off the official proclamation. Free Comic Book Day not only promotes business at comic book stores worldwide, but also promotes literacy and goodwill, and thanks past and present comic book fans for their loyalty and friendship.
Joe’s store is located next to a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop, and he got the idea for free comics from their free ice cream promotion. Interestingly, FCBD has in turn inspired other similar events, such as Free RPG Day and Free Magazine Day, making one wonder just how big all this is going to get as the years go on.
For videos of some of the events at FCBD at Flying Colors, including the Mayor’s Proclamation, click here.