On Saturday, May 7, I traveled with my spouse to Smithtown, NY, to visit Fourth World Comics on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016. It was the friendliest, happiest store-based happening I’ve ever experienced.
Prior to the big day, Fourth World Comic’s website and Facebook page announced a schedule for the day, particulars about comics-giveaways and signings, and great information about lines, purchases, certificates, and comics-grading by CBCS (Comic Book Certification Service). [For information about their services and how the grading works, visit the CBCS website.]
We arrived just after 5:00 PM, when artist Sean Chen would be there to sign. We choose that time because I’m learning about Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales comics, and Chen has done penciling and created cover art for numerous issues.
Fourth World staff were everywhere, just where they were needed – doing friendly crowd-control, finding out why people were on the line and then directing them, guiding people to the rack of free comics, and answering questions. We selected free copies of these floppies:
[While preparing this post, I discovered the availability of the 2016 lineup of free comics at the FREE COMIC BOOKS DAY website.]
I asked staff to recommend a comic with Sean Chen’s work, and they quickly selected a copy of Grimm Fairy Tales Issue 103: Snow White and Rose Red Revisited from the rows of floppies in the store. Mr. Chen was quietly signing away, but when I offered my hand, we shook and he answered my question about cover design (he follows the publisher’s general direction). I felt he was pleased to be there. There were original Chen works for sale as well.
I gathered that most of the people attending the event were young men, but there were also women and families with children. Everyone paid attention to the children – many were in costume and there were smiles all around.
Based on my experience with an upbeat event, friendly atmosphere, and very helpful staff, I will definitely attend a FREE COMICS BOOK DAY event next year! (And will probably purchase another comic as I did on May 7 — there was 30% off all purchases, staff knew just where titles were, and I couldn’t resist adding Blankets by Craig Thompson to my home library.)