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Celebrate Free Comic-Book Day 2016
 - Join the Party at Golden Apple Comics!

Written by: Abel S. Pinedo

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On the first Sunday in May I made my way into Los Angeles for a grand yearly tradition. It's Free Comic-Book Day at Golden Apple Comics! Although the skies were overcast and the weather was dreary, hardcore fans still showed up in great numbers when the doors opened at 9am. Fans lined up early to get some cool free swag and to have the chance to meet some very special guests.

The first guests on the list were Shannon Lee, daughter of the legendary Bruce Lee, and writer Bernard Chang. The pair are collaborating on a new series called Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises. Preview copies and mini posters were free with the first two issues available for purchase. Shannon and Bernard were all smiles as they met fans and posed for pictures.

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Shannon Lee signs copies of Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises

As the skies brightened, the fans started to arrive in droves. The next guest signing started at 10am. Christos Gage the writer of ROM The Space Knight was on hand to promote the return of the popular character. I know the hardcore fans are hoping that ROM makes an eventual appearance in a future Guardians movie. Count me among the faithful even though word is that may not happen for several years due to rights issues.

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Writer Christos Gage holds a copy of the first issue of the new ROM comic book series

The highlight of the day, for me at least, was the next guest. From the upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, was none other than BeBop himself, Gary Anthony Williams. I had the best time standing on the sidelines listening to Gary banter with fans, especially kids as he signed mini posters for everyone. Some of my favorite one liners as Gary greeted each person warmly, "Hi I'm Gary, welcome to my house! Hi, I'm Gary, what's your name and why? Hi! Oh it's YOU!" I don't know who was having more fun, Gary or the fans. Whatever the case, meeting him was a guaranteed smile. Gary knows how to work the crowd and I wish him the best.

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Gary Anthony Williams stars as Bee-Bop in the new TMNT movie

The final guests of the day were Cat Staggs, Jason Badower and Michael Andreyko who were signing prints of Wonder Woman '77. Issues 2 and 3 were available for purchase and autographs as well. By this point, the line was stretching down the block but spirits were high and everyone was greeted  warmly and left satisfied. I was impressed with how quickly the line moved. I think the weather kept most of the cosplayers away but kudos to the woman and her dog who both came dressed as Wonder Woman.

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Wonder Pooch!

As is tradition at Golden Apple, there was a chance to win some awesome prizes. In years past, you purchased a comic grab bag and looked for a golden ticket. This year, the game was to purchase a lollipop for $1 (or 12 for $10) and check the color of the stem. You won a small prize or comic book depending on the color of the stem. If your stem was gold, then you picked an Easter egg of your choice and opened it up to reveal a number that corresponded to a prize. I personally won an awesome Guardians of the Galaxy package which consisted of a couple of Funko Pops, a graphic novel and a pewter chess piece two pack of Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Score!!! Also, there were tons and tons of long boxes advertising 2 comics for $1 and twenty percent off almost all store merchandise. Best deals in town if you ask me.

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Free Comic-Book Day Loot!

For the kids, there were full size and mini posters as well as sunglasses promoting the upcoming animated The Angry Birds movie. There was also a prize wheel you could spin to win various items from the upcoming Ninja Turtles film including posters, character tee shirts and even movie passes.

Free comics, good times, and great deals on comic books. A little bit of luck smiled on me today. You just know that I'll be back here next year for Free Comic Book Day. Thanks to everyone at Golden Apple Comics for an awesome day!

About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He's also an annual visitor to such conventions as WonderCon, San Diego Comic Con, Wizard World and More. When he's not touring the convention circuit he can usually be found at his keyboard telling the World about his adventures.