Show up and get a free comic - it's as simple as that, folks
For their 13th Free Comic Book Day extravaganza, the crew at Capt. Blue Hen Comics in Newark is still working out the logistics with their new floor plan.
“It’s a bit of a new ballgame. To quote the Joker, ‘We’re gonna ship ‘em out a whole new door,’” said Blue Hen owner Joe Murray. “We’re actually going to have two stations this year, possibly three, not sure yet.”
Murray unveiled the new open floor plan last summer, with the hopes of making traffic flow a little better on the comic industry’s biggest day of the year.
The idea of the event is simple: show up, and you get a free comic from a selection of over three dozen special titles. Millions of titles have been given out for free across North America and the world in the past 12 years.
And, with attendees at CBH well into the thousands, Murray’s goal is to get them in and out quickly and painlessly, so they can get on with the rest of their FCBD festivities.
Now in its 12th year (Murray and Co. did two their first year, they’re that dedicated), the day has become the comic industry’s most popular vehicle to attract new readers – especially the younger generation.
“It’s really a big kids event,” said Lancaster-based artist Jeff McComsey. “As far as being a comic book creator, getting the kids in there early to buy comics, or just to let them know there is a place to buy comics, I think it’s doing a spectacular job.”
McComsey is making his second consecutive appearance at Blue Hen for FCBD, the same shop he frequented as a youngster and into his adulthood.
This year, McComsey is premiering a one-shot story from his FUBAR series, which rewrites American (and world) history with zombies as antagonists through the ages.
Written by legendary comic writer Chuck Dixon, famous as the co-creator of the Batman villain Bane (portrayed by Tom Hardy in the 2012 film “The Dark Knight Rises”), McComsey said he is particularly proud of the comic.
Called “The Ace of Spades,” the piece is based on a Special Ops mission in 2003 to capture Sadaam Hussein … except, you know, with zombies.
“Chuck’s always been cool about short stories, and he intimated he wouldn’t mind doing something longer,” McComsey said. “The day is about as big an event as we have, so we try to pull out all the stops. And Chuck knocked it out for us. It was a little fanboy moment for me, too.”
“They certainly draw attention with that big faux gun,” Murray said of McComsey’s customary bunker-style booth, complete with (fake) cannons, netting and sandbags.
But the bunker, along with the other numerous artists signing books and dashing off custom sketches, adds to the fun of the day, and immerses fans even deeper into the worlds they love most.
“It’s mostly the same mix of artists and creators,” Murray said of the industry talent lined up for the gig. “We try and tweak it a little, and some people move away and what have you. But there’s something here for everyone.”
There’s also something for everyone among the dozens of titles available, including offerings from Marvel that ties in with the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie in August.
“I’m always a big fan of ‘Atomic Robo,’ myself,” Murray said. “There’s also an ‘Uncle Scrooge,’ and for the first time ever there will be variant covers, so that’s cool.”
For more details on the event, including a list of guests and comic titles, visit captainbluehen.com.