It’s the 13th annual Free Comic Book Day, and once again I will be live-blogging the event from my store, Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, OK! This is the seventh year I’ve live-blogged the comics event that allows people to get free comics from their local stores on the first Saturday in May.
As usual, retailers across the country are putting lots of effort into the day, with giveaways, signings, costume contests and other events. Movie buzz also often ties in, and this year is no exception with the opening of “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ this weekend. Marvel isn’t publishing a standalone “Spider-Man” comic this year for FCBD, but Spidey does appear in both of the Free Comic Book Day books from the company.
DC Comics is kicking off a new weekly series with a free zero issue for “Future’s End.” Overall there are up to 60 free comics that will be available at stores throughout the country while supplies last. (Most stores will have a per-person limit on free issues, so check FreeComicBookDay.com in advance to figure out what you might want, then show up early to get in line if you want to avoid “sellouts.”) Find a list of OKC metro-area participating stores in my Friday column.
At Speeding Bullet, we’ve got three local comic creators who are going to appear in the store for Free Comic Book Day: Derreck Wayne Jackson (“The Raven”), S.A. McClung (“Displacements: Oasis) and Don Rosencrans (“Welcome to Ralton”).
There’s still a lot to do before the store opens at 10 a.m.! I’ll be updating this post throughout the day, so check back to see how Free Comic Book Day is going!
9:59 a.m. The line started in earnest about 9:30 and now it’s at least dozen deep as we prepare to open.
10 a.m. Completely slammed in the first minutes as we try to handle traffic in and out of the store. Everybody seems very excited so far!
10:15 a.m. The Mouse Guard hardcover is an early favorite.
10:30 a.m. The all-ages stuff is moving quickly. Large crowd in the early part of the day.
11 a.m. A good mix of kids and adults in so far. The kids comics are moving the fastest – there are several that we’ll likely be out of by the end of the day, if not sooner.
Noon: We’ve run out of Rocket Raccoon and Power Rangers entirely. Mouse Guard is also gone. The other all-ages stuff continues to move at a fast clip. We’re already supplementing the official comics with additional giveaways.
1 p.m. This may be a year where we run out of all or most of the official giveaways before the end of the day. Of course, we’ll supplement with additional giveaways, so anyone who makes it in before 7 p.m. will get free comics.
1:25 p.m. Derreck Jackson has given away his entire run of his free comic! Check out more of his comics at derreckwaynejackson.com! He’ll be selling his other comics here while supplies last!
2 p.m. We are not even halfway through the day, and already our traffic count exceeds any day except for last year’s FCBD. With five hours left, we have a good chance of exceeding that number as well.
2:05 p.m. S.A. McClung of “Displacements: Oasis” was originally scheduled to sign and sketch from noon to 2 p.m., but since his lines continue he’s sticking it out at least a little longer!
2:40 p.m. We’re just past the halfway point of the day, and have broken our traffic record in the shop, which was set last year on FCBD.
3 p.m. We’re having to heavily supplement our giveaways with additional stock at this point – which means, based on our orders, we’ve most likely exceeded what we gave away last year. Hard to tell exactly what was the most popular, though Guardians of the Galaxy was a popular topic of conversation for sure.
3:10 p.m. Just heard that “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ had a Friday opening of $35.5 million, including $8.7 million in Thursday sneak previews. Marvel didn’t have a Spidey-specific giveaway, though he was featured in backup stories in the “Guardians” and “Rocket Raccoon” FCBD comics from Marvel.
3:30 p.m. We’ve been steadily restocking throughout the day with barely time to catch our breath. Vastly busy. Maybe less time for individual conversations with this size of crowd, though a few people have wanted to talk about “The Walking Dead” and “Star Wars.” Overall people seem to be having a good time. It’s always fun to see kids excited about comics, especially.
4 p.m. Though the store is still plenty busy, we’re seeing probably our first breather from the manic pace. Strong sales and even stronger traffic as we continue to restock the free comic shelves.
4:30 p.m. S.A. and Derreck have stayed past their planned closing time to continue to visit with fans who continue to stream in. It’s a little less intense than earlier in the day, but there haven’t been too many lulls yet. With two and a half hours left, we’re close to last year’s sales and transaction totals, and our people through the door count is up by 13 percent with still quite a bit of day remaining.
4:45 p.m. Derreck is finally calling it a day after signing since 10 a.m. He’s a great guest for any shop or convention looking for a personable, friendly creator. Traffic is starting to look more like a normal day after a full day of being at near capacity.
5 p.m. We’ve basically topped all of last year’s counts for all our metrics with two hours left in the day. Don Rosencrans will start signing his “Welcome to Ralton” comics shortly!
5:45 p.m. Lots of fans are getting sketches and visiting with the artists. Always enjoyable to hear so many people excited about the medium.
6:30 p.m. With 30 minutes left in the day, we’ve had our biggest traffic day of all-time. It’s been a lot of fun to see so many comic-book fans!
7 p.m. We’re wrapping it up after another fantastic Free Comic Book Day! The last few customers are getting their free comics. We ran out of basically all the new FCBD issues, but we had comics to give away until the last customer arrived. It’s great to be able to promote reading and literacy in this way. Thanks to all the publishers, Diamond Comic Distributors, FCBD creator Joe Field, the participating creators and of course all the retailers around the world who participate!