MAY, 2011 – I was once again part of a fantastic Free Comic Book Day at Comic Fusion in Flemington, NJ. I missed last year while I was in Pittsburgh but having returned home to “my” shop provided the security I was missing. This year, Bill and Stacy graciously opened the doors to six other costumers besides myself and three of our favorite artists who have been supportive of our Wonder Woman Day fundraiser in the past: J.K. Woodward, Ken Branch and Nick Mockoviak.
Shop doors opened at noon and Nick was already set up at a table in front of the shop to sketch in the rare lovely weather (which later changed to rain and he moved inside). On behalf of Nick, thanks for the tips because Nick is saving for a wedding and the artists weren’t charging a set rate for head sketches.
I somehow managed to avoid the police as I raced across the NJ highways at a mere 80 mph to pick up J.K. and in traditional rock star style I got him to the shop just a few minutes late and escorted him through the back door (to avoid the throngs of fangirls and paparazzi). Ken Branch was able to join us later in the afternoon and all of us were rather wow’d watching him work on a Spider-Man sketch with Copic markers. I sincerely hope all of the artists had a great time and will join us again! We love the variety in artistic expressions that beautifully fuse together like a well-balanced team of geek comradery.
The free comic available that stood out for me wasn’t one of my normal favorites like YOUNG JUSTICE or GREEN LANTERN; my eyes were drawn to the Discovery Channel and Silver Dragon Book’s choice of flip book of TOP 10 DEADLIEST SHARKS and DINOSAURS AND PREHISTORIC PREDATORS. Sandwiched in between the two main stories is one of the ANIMAL PLANET’S WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS ANIMALS stories, No One Survives a Cape Buffalo Attack. Cape Buffalo is presented in a stark black and white style while the other two are full color. Chances are for “kid appeal” the color stories will be more attractive to the young readers. Since I’ve had an unusual fascination with sharks since I was very young, I love that Discovery puts out books like this. The Great White species is presented with facts up front followed by an illustrated true story about Rodney Fox, a well known spear fisherman who survived one of the worst shark encounters ever recorded in history.
While events like Free Comic Book Day successfully bring a ton of people into the store, the zeitgeist of a terrible economy still prevailed. From a business perspective, sales were lower than this time last year, according to shop owner Bill Meccia. People loved the free comics, buttons and Marvel™ candy which was provided by a local independent shop called The Candy Bar; but they just weren’t opening their wallets much for other comics, graphic novels or toys. The best we can hope for is that new people have discovered the shop and seen what we carry so it gives them reason to come back another time when it’s not chaotic.
The very brief downpour could not put a damper on the fun and frivolity that ensues when I’m joined by writer Janine Naimoli Frederick and off-duty costumer Hannah Pagan. We had a phenomenal group of costumed heroes too: Andrew Moser as Inspector Gadget (the only one of us that had a FCBD book available), Jesse Parino as Doctor Strange, Ashley Neuhaus as Black Canary, Cassandra King as Jubilee, Jessica Collier as Supergirl, Rebecca Walker as Rogue, and myself as Power Girl. We had a few drop-in costumed kids but they were a bit camera shy.
As far as I know, our next event would normally be Free RPG Day which is June 18th. However that’s the same weekend as Wizard World Philly, relatively local to us. I know I’ll be at the con so I won’t be able to wrangle anyone for RPG Day. It’s a shame because I love my annual opportunity to throw some die for a friendly D&D round. Otherwise… stay tuned for the fall two-day extravaganza we call Wonder Woman Day or Superhero Weekend, our annual comic art fundraiser for domestic violence victims. It’ll be in October, exact date (and name) to be announced.