Free Comic Book Day Wrap Up at CNJComics

Hey everyone, John here, and I thought it was appropriate to write a thank you email to all the people who helped make this year’s Free Comic Book Day a huge success for us. We’re calling it the best Free Comic Book Day ever, and that statement might not be to far off the mark. For some reason, everything just came together really well this year, and my gratitude levels are off the hook.

First off, I’d like to thank the staff.

Free Comic Book Day is run by a ten person crew. John Shearer, Ben, Kyle, Andrea, Kevin, MIsty, Mike, Rafael, Felipe and myself. This year’s attendance was over three thousand people, and when you think about that being run by ten people, it’s pretty remarkable. The fact that we had a good time doing it is part of what made this year so fun. Everyone knew their roles, we rotated positions regularly so everyone’s view of the event wasn’t pigeonholed, and everyone got a break to enjoy the event from the outside. I am always impressed with what this crew is able to accomplish together. So, if you did have to wait in line to long to checkout, or didn’t get that one free thing you were hoping for, please be aware that we are always doing the best we can with a very small crew.

Second, we had a great turnout and balance of cosplayers, in addition to attendees coming out in their Star Wars and Bluey regalia.

Thanks to Lindsay Shepard for leading the crew from the 501st/Rebel Legion and the Heroes Alliance.

The day was not without its obstacles, and one of them was our HVAC system. We didn’t get the problem rectified till after the event, so these fine people had to suit up in the back of our shop in very uncomfortable conditions but were very professional about it. (turns out the problem was a bad economizer, which sounds like something you’d put on a droid to keep it from running away.)

The Ghostbusters: Cleveland came out in full form this year.

Every year their number grows and we are grateful for that. Incredibly engaging people who are always happy to show you their equipment and apparatus. Thanks to Stephan Manchir for being our point of contact on that front.

Chris Blatnick and his daughter came out to provide us with a fantastic Spider-Man to great you as you came into the Free Comic Book room. Chris nailed the character and provided a lot of cool photos for everyone.

I believe these groups and individuals were integral to this year’s success, as they made waiting in line more bearable when it was at its very longest. A cool picture is a heck of a gift, and these people were creating them left and right.

Well, there was Bluey too, but that’s another story…

(For anyone who didn’t get to see Bluey, apologies, but Bluey kept to her schedule and was actually out there longer than scheduled. We all do the best we can, including Bluey.)

Thanks as always to the Rust Belt Monster Collective for the sah-weet Star Wars mural this year. This is one of my favorite parts of the event as I get to keep it and hang it on the wall. I’m also grateful that they let my daughter Zoe paint alongside them, it’s a really big deal to me. So thanks to Erin, Tim, Ben, Craig, and especially Jim, who is also Zoe’s art teacher at BAYArts.

The fact that it was May the 4th was a big part of the event, and that starts with Jameson Campbell and his lithograph and event branding for us. One of the first indicators that it was a crazy year was that Jameson ran out of prints in a little over an hour, which would have lasted him around two hours in the past. We actually ran to the shop and got him more so fifty more people could get one.

In that lane, thanks to Quill Kolat for designing our Winston Memorial lithograph, it was a very appropriate tribute to out little guy on the day.

We went through one thousand prints in an hour and a half, and again we understand the disappointment of anyone who didn’t get one. Good news! We reprinted the 5 x 7 image with updated text (“Force” instead of “4th”) and you can get them for free at the shop right now!

Thanks to Kristen and Sean Burns for organizing our vending space, and thanks to all the vendors who set up with us. Sean and Kristen have been helping us fill the space for years now, and are moving to Italy this year! Good luck to both of you out there.

Thanks to Laura Wimbels for providing the awesome photo set, some of which you see in this email. You can check out all the pictures on our Facebook page here!!

Laura is in the distinguished ranks of CNJ family, always there to help us when needed. Ben and Laura will both be hosting “Midnight Rental Live!” at the Grog Shop this Wednesday at 8pm! Check it out!

A quick shout-out to John Woods for keeping our website and email server running, especially this year during some national email encryption issues. (You can’t stop the signal Mal.) Also thanks to Lisa Kay, who manages the plaza and helps us find our FCBD space each year. Lisa also owns the Kamms Corner Ice Cream Company, so do her a solid and grab a cone next time you come in for your comics.

My favorite part of the event is seeing how my family has found their own place within it over the years.

Zoe’s with the mural crew, Luna draws sketches by request for people, and Apryl hangs out all day watching over them and hanging out.  I see some pretty confident and legitimately happy smiles on our little girls, and that’s the greatest takeaway I can get from this event. (thanks to everyone who got a sketch from Luna btw, I see you.) 

Thanks to Apryl for being there when I can’t, and for basically just being herself. The support she provides me during the event often goes unnoticed by everyone but me.

Hey mom! That comic book shop we opened up 33 years ago is still around!

It was great to see Carol scooting around the event all afternoon, getting to see everyone again. To quote her directly, “I don’t miss the comic books, I miss the people.” She’s the matriarch of our store and her presence is still felt daily, even if she isn’t in the shop directly. (Thanks to our neighbors at Rocking Mobility for loaning her a scooter for the day.)

Lastly, the final person we have to thank is YOU! Everyone came out in full force this year. We only set the stage, you’re the ones who fill it up with great people. I had an old fire chief who used to say “Show up and be awesome.” That’s pretty much what everyone did this year. We were really excited to see that many people enjoyed comic books and engaging in the hobby.

So sincerely, from us to you, thank you for deciding to come out and support our event this year.

So Free Comic Book Day is over. What now?

This Thursday is Late-Nite Comics, from 8pm to Midnight we give 50% off all back issues and fill the shop with dollar stock.

We wanted to go big post-FCBD so this month’s dollar stock will be all BRAND NEW never before dug through books. Marvel’s, DC’s, and Independant Comics. This monthly mini-event has grown and grown, and after all the work on FCBD, we’re happy to just dump some dollar stock out and say have at it.

You can also check out one of the new lines going on. Geoff John’s Ghost World titles are fun hero books without the capes, for small press fans. More art-centric indie fans should check out books from the new publisher DSTLRY, there are great stories in there too. Fans of GI Joe and Transformers will not be disappointed with Robert Kirkman’s new Energon line, all the stories have been so cool. Marvel is going strong with both Blood Hunt (the Marvel Universe versus Vampires) and the new Ultimate line, which is an incredibly easy way to jump onto new titles with no previous backstory to bog you down. X-Men titles will be getting a complete overhaul starting in July, a lot of them going back to their 90’s roots after the success of X-Men 97′. That all starts on July 10th.

We’re also happy to point you to some great Wolverine and Deadpool stories to get you primed for what looks to be one of the best Marvel Movies ever. (It’s about time!) Our new rec wall is now more dynamic than static and is a good place to start when trying out a new line. We are always ready to point you in the right direction if you have any question. Please just ask us, we love to help people find the best stories for them.

That’s it, everyone! Again, thanks for a great year! We’re re-energized and ready for what’s next! Excelsior!