Fort Collins, CO is host to three comic books stores, all of which have a different culture about them – one that focuses more on games, one that strictly sticks to comics, and one that…well…smells a little too much like cat. Each store promotes comics in its own way, and brings its own unique culture to the the college city next to the foothills – Free Comic Book Day is just another excuse to bring in more customers, new readers and gamers, and create opportunities to dress up and talk nerdy with like-minded people.
I took time today to visit all three comic book stores just to see what happenings were going on at each store. While I didn’t really get to chat with the owners of each store, I was able to grab a few good photos of the comic book collecting fun.
Over at Gryphon Games and Comics, the store I frequent, their FCBD event was even bigger than last year, with the free comic book line weaving throughout the store, and out into the parking lot. There was also some roller derby promotion going on, as well as four local artists sitting at tables promoting there stuff. Out of the three stores in town, Gryphon had the most FCBD comics stocked, but with a limit of three new comics per customer, just to make sure they had enough for everyone.
New Genesis Comics focuses more on the comics themselves rather than keeping them as a secondary source of income. It’s a steadily growing store that’s been showing a lot of potential at bringing in the hard core comic book fanatics. Local artists there included a woman who took old comic book covers and turned them into journals, as well as an artist who could do a mean dry-erase board drawing! (Made me jealous for those of you who know me) Out of the three stores, however, New Genesis was the only one with cosplayers sporting their costume making abilities and provided bar-be-qued delights!
Over at Haley’s Comics, who’s feline stench makes it hard to do any prolonged shopping, doesn’t really promote their Free Comic Book Day material, and the old guy running it isn’t the most polite person you’ll ever meet. That being said, Haley’s back issue section is immense and its only redeeming quality. I didn’t spend much time there, however, and really have no desire to set foot in there again.
In case any of you were wondering, here’s a brief description of what Free Comic Book Day is From Wikipedia – Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort on the first Saturday of May by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California brainstormed the event in his “Big Picture” column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine. Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry’s single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors.
Free Comic Book Day was originally tied to the release of a major theatrical film adaptation of a well known superhero property, in order to take advantage of the film’s heavy promotion and related press about the comic book medium, but after the third year it was moved permanently be the first Saturday of May. On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer cheaper back issues and other items to anyone who visits their establishments. However, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12–50 cents per copy for the comics they give away during the event. In addition to comic books, some stores also give away other items, including mini posters for live-action superhero movies, keychains, Green Lantern promo rings, etc.
Fort Collins is a perfect place to sell to fans of comics and those who grew up with superheroes in their lives, and despite one little nick in the nerditude that is Haley’s Comics, it’s certainly moving in the right direction!