Yesterday I headed into Manhattan for Free Comic Book Day, which takes place on the first Saturday in May each year. The past few years I’ve gone to Jim Hanley’s Universe, and while I always had a good time there, it seemed like I kept missing out on the really cool promo issues because the store ran out of them early in the day. This year, I decided to change things up. I went over to Manhattan Comics, a cool store on 23rd Street near the Flatiron Building.
Arriving at Manhattan Comics in the early afternoon, I was happy to see that they still had a huge selection of FCBD issues. There was a limit of three free books per customer. Here is what I got:
Atomic Robo – I am a pretty fan of Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener’s super-cool, fun, intelligent, witty series about a crime-fighting robot originally built by Nikola Tesla. Atomic Robo teams up with the Action Scientists of Tesladyne Industries to combat all manner of bizarre foes. Each year Clevinger & Wegener have put out a FCBD special issue, and I finally succeeded in picking up the latest one.
Molly Danger – This is a brand new series written & illustrated by the super-talented Jamal Igle published by Action Lab Entertainment. I’ve followed Igle’s work on various titles for a number of years now, and I’m thrilled that he’s now working on a creator-owned series. I’d read on Facebook that Molly Danger would be making its debut on FCBD, so I’m thrilled I was able to pick up a copy.
Uglydoll Comics – My girlfriend Michele loves the ultra-cute Uglydoll stuffed toys, so I got this one for her. Yeah, okay, I think they’re adorable, as well. VIZ Media will be releasing an Uglydoll graphic novel in August. The FCBD issue also had a Hello Kitty back-up by Jacob Chabot. Once again, Michele loves Hello Kitty, so that was a pleasant surprise. Actually, our cat Nettie looked a lot like Hello Kitty when she was a little kitten.
Manhattan Comics was having a huge storewide sale. Everything was 40% off. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m actually trying to get rid of stuff to make more room in the apartment, I would have probably gone crazy snatching up comics and graphic novels. As it is, I picked up several back issues. I also bought the latest issue of Iron Man, which features the return of the classic team of David Michelinie & Bob Layton for a special story arc. I expect I’ll be blogging about that once the whole storyline has been released.
There were several comic book creators doing signing at Manhattan Comics for FCBD. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder arrived at the store at three in the afternoon. I’ve been a fan of Reeder’s exquisite artwork since she was drawing Madame Xanadu several years ago. Reeder & Montclare created the Halloween Eve one-shot, which was published last October by Image Comics. I was never able to find it when it first came out, so I was happy to see that they had copies for sale. Reeder also did a really lovely sketch in my Beautiful Dreamer sketchbook. I’m looking forward to their next collaboration, which is in the works.
Afterwards, I headed down to the Greenwich Village. A couple of employees from Manhattan Comics had decided to start up a comic book store of their own. Carmine Street Comics is sharing space with a small independent book shop. They’re located about a block off of Bleecker Street. That made it a cinch to locate, which was a huge relief, since I usually get hopelessly lost in the West Village!
There were some good trade paperbacks for sale at Carmine Street Comics, as well as an interesting assortment of independent back issues from the last couple of decades. There wasn’t anything that especially leaped out at me that day, but I’ll definitely be stopping back there again. I certainly wish them the best of luck. It seems like a nice little spot.
A number of small press & independent creators were signing at Carmine Street Comics for FCBD. Enrique Carrion was there with copies of his series Vescell, which is published by Image Comics. Vescell seems to be a risqué supernatural espionage series. Flipping through a couple of the books, it seemed pretty interesting, and the artwork by John Upchurch was really nice. So I decided to give it a try, and I bought a copy of issue #7.
It seems like a lot of people come out for Free Comic Book Day. Maybe it is just the promise of free stuff drawing people, but hopefully some of them will actually become interested enough in what they see to try picking up some stuff. Yeah, I do like to complain about Marvel and DC’s current output. But the fact is, as I have said before, there really is so much great independent and small press material out there. And with any luck, FCBD succeeds in putting the spotlight on some of it.
Oh, yeah, and be sure to buy Molly Danger when it comes out in July, okay? Jamal Igle is amazing.