Among all other events happening this weekend, it was also Free Comic Book Day! Check out my article about it for my school’s paper, The Sounds, http://www.thesoundsnews.com/. All these pictures by me!
Annual Free Comic Book Day happening worldwide gives old fans the chance to celebrate their comic book obsessions and to create news fans to this growing industry.
Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comic store in Lacey, Washington is one of several comic book stores in the community and nationwide participating in this annual event that is a “celebration of comic book medium” as Olympic Cards sales clerk, Paul Wocken said.
Free Comic Book Day has always been on the first Saturday in May, this year being on May 4.
Owner Gabi Trautmann, said approximately 2,500 people came to her Free Comic Book Day this year, and other years they’ve had as many as 3,000 people.
An Olympic Cards employee, Chris Johnson, said he started work that day at 8:30 a.m. and there were already fans making a line that wrapped around the building, waiting to walk through the doors that didn’t even open till 10 a.m.
There were also autograph sessions with comic writers and artists happening throughout the day. Johnson said even a magician and balloon animal maker had volunteered their time today to entertain customers.
The writers and artists included Greg Rucka, who’s done work for DC and Marvel and Jennifer Van Meter, best known for her Hopeless Savages comic series.
Different stores have different policies on what is free, but at Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics, each customer was allowed three free comics from a designated section, but there were sales on many items, some as much as 90 percent off.
Kids younger than five line up to get pictures with longtime comic fans dressed as their favorite characters for Free Comic Book Day.
TARDIS, Bane, Batman, Wolverine, and Super Girl are just a few of the comic book characters fans dressed up as today that employee, Kelly Okler said she saw.
“I’m pretty much like a celebrity,” said Eli Ramos, who dressed up as Batman for Free Comic Book Day. Fans young and old asked to get a picture with Ramos, especially when he teamed up with two other fans, John Macdonald and Bryan Burnley, who were Wolverine and Bane for the day.
These super fans have been reading comics for years and have no problem admitting they are a, “big comic super hero nerd,” as Macdonald said.
Macdonald, who was dressed as Wolverine, became part of a charity group called Comic Book Characters for Causes (CBCC), after previously going to a Comic Con event in Seattle.
Macdonald said this charity group raises money by dressing up as comic book characters for different events and asking people for donations as they take pictures with them.
Comic Book Characters for Causes “is a non-profit business licensed by the state of Washington. All donations received go to helping improve the quality of life for kids,” as reported by their website.
Macdonald said the CBCC raised $1000 last year for the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The best part of Free Comic Book Day is seeing people coming together as a community and seeing their excitement, Macdonald said.
Cyndy Tanguileg, a South Puget Sound Community College graduate, was at Olympic Cards and Comics as TARDIS, from the Doctor Who comics. She said she shops here often and went to last year’s Free Comic Book Day, and would be going to other stores today to rack up some more of her favorites for free.
Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 as the comic book industry’s first broad cooperative promotional venture. It celebrates several aspects of the comic book industry including the independent comic book store specialty shops and the devoted fans that keep the industry alive.
It is also a day to encourage new fans to start their obsessions with comics, as fan Liesle Messner said.
Trautmann has been running Olympic Cards and Comics for the last 20 years and has done Free Comic Book Day since it started back in 2002. She said this day allows her to share her love of comics with everyone, and she loves the block party atmosphere.
This year Olympic Cards and Comics “blew out all our goals for comics given out,” said Trautmann.