Free Comic Book Day 2014!

Written By: Abel Pinedo

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On a gorgeous Saturday morning, I'm cruising down Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles at 9am. There's only thing that would get out here so early...free comic books! Once again, I'm making my pilgrimage to the house of cool, Golden Apple Comics. Outside of a day of fun, I had no idea what to expect so imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the store and saw the line of people was stretching down the corner and around the block! (My bad for running late this morning.) This was definitely a bigger turnout than last year. After parking the car, I got my spot in line and waited for the 10am opening.

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The line was slow moving as the staff was only letting in a few people at a time. This ultimately made it much easier to maneuver once inside. You weren't scrambling for your free comic books along with everyone else at the same time. It was quite orderly. During the wait, a few cos-players roamed about taking pictures with fans while DJ Pdub kept the crowd pumped with an awesome selection of tunes themed for the day. He had a huge set list of everything from John Williams' Superman theme to songs from Spiderman and Iron Man to classics like the theme from Challenge of the Super Friends.

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There was a temporary pop up shop next door to Golden Apple. This was where the majority of the free comics were as well as the grab bags. The grab bags consisted of ten randomly packaged more recent comics for five dollars which itself is quite a deal. Inside each grab bag was a yellow slip of paper which was stated you had won either a coupon for a future purchase at the store, an additional free grab bag, a coupon for two grab bags for the price of one, a front of line pass for artist Scott Shaw or one of ten awesome door prizes. (Some simply stated 'sorry, try again'. After all, you can't win every time!) Personally I had my heart set on this really nice two foot tall Batman statue but alas, luck would not be on my side.

Once inside, you were queued past the free comics first then the rest of the room was either the grab bags, a free soda courtesy of Jarritos (love me my Mexican sodas) and a freebie table of mini posters. In the back of the room was where artist Scott Shaw was seated for sketches and signings. Kids in particular were thrilled with the Simpsons sketches he was drawing for them. Scott is a real trouper and he stayed until well past 2pm. No one was turned away.

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After I got my freebies, I made my way over to the main store next door. In front of the shop were free mini posters for Godzilla and full size posters for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Inside the store, writer Brian Buccellato was holding a signing until noon. More free comics were also located at the back of the store. There was a busy yet festive atmosphere inside. I love a big grouping of comic fans. It's a chance to see different peoples tastes in comics.

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Back outside, after all the posters were gone, artist Marc Silvestri arrived to sign copies of Rise of the Magi #0 from Top Cow comics. Marc took the time to talk to each and every person in line and pose for pictures. I took my moments with him to ask what his favorite guilty pleasure comic book movie was. After laughing, he thought about it but said that you really just can't go wrong with the 1966 Batman movie. (I wholeheartedly agree!)

By 2pm, all the grab bags had been purchased. I was told there were over 700 grab bags and the estimate was over 1000 customers throughout the day! Yeah, definitely a much larger turnout than last year. So let me recap the day: free comic books, multiple grab bags (no big prizes for me though), free posters, free soda, free smiles, lots of laughs, seeing friends I don't get to see that often. Yeah, I think Free Comic Book Day was a success. See you next year!