Comics / Cult Favorite

Free Comic Book Day 2024


By Philip Schweier
May 7, 2024 - 10:39

This past weekend was the annual Free Comic Book Day, but I chose to abstain. Two reasons pertain to my local shops (we have 2).

Shop #1 is closer to my home, and has been in business for years. As such, it’s packed to the rafters with Funko Pops, Frank Frazetta posters and vintage comics dating back to the late 1980s. It’s cramped and crowded, and the congestion associated with FCBD would only aggravate my claustrophobia.

Shop #2 is newer, more organized, and more customer friendly. Not that Shop #1 is unfriendly, but #2 is more than just a place to pick up your weeklies. They go the extra mile to appeal to comic book fans with events and activities. But FCBD becomes a madhouse there as well; a mini convention squeeze into a small storefront.

A third reason I bailed on FCBD is my wife and I assisted our nephew moving into his new bedroom. His sister had moved out, and the tiny room he and his brother shared had been too small for too long for the two of them.

Hauling his bed and other furniture across the hall was simple enough, but then it became a matter of spelunking into his closet – more than a decade’s worth of forgotten Legos, school artifacts, and – Hey, Kids! Comics! The young man pulled a box from the depth of his closet and asked me, “Do you want any of these?”

Like any dutiful uncle, I’d tried to lure him in comic book lore, but like any kid with a grown-up’s passion being shoved toward him, he merely tolerated it. Shame on me for not engaging him on his level at first, but I learned. There was a time he felt comics were too dense and the lettering too small; ergo, Tiny Titans, an all-ages title that makes Teen Titans Go! look risqué.

Did I want them? Tiny Titans, not so much, but I knew there should be at least one treasure in there I would want.

Years ago, I’d taken him to a small comic book show, where I shared with him the value of DC’s 100-Page Super-Spectaculars. Back in 1974, 100 pages for 60¢ was a heckuva a deal. Today, those 50-year-old comics cost considerably more, but still a bargain in my eyes. I’d bought him two: Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #205 and Justice League of America #115. Let’s face it, either title offers more heroes than most other titles. The agreement was when he finished with one, we would trade out for the other. It never happened.

Yes, to my wife’s dismay, I brought home that box of comics, all for the single issue of S/LSH #205. I already had two copies; one I was gifted for my tenth birthday in 1974, which has been, shall we say, “well loved.” And some years back, I bought a second, in much better condition.

S/LSH #205 is the very cornerstone of my 50+ years of comic collecting. It introduced me to Mike Grell, whose career I followed for several decades, as well as the notion that comic artists are not a bunch of illustrators following a house style, like the Archie and Harvey titles. They have individual styles, and the discerning eye and easily recognize the work of Novick, Infantino or Simonson beneath whoever may be inking them that issue.

As for the Legion itself, I’d been a casual reader of the title, it being the very first comic I ever bought. But #205 was still early enough in the feature’s revival for me get in on the ground floor as more and more lore was developed – new members, new costumes, new villains. And in the mid-1970s, the science fiction boom was right around the corner.

So did I miss anything, abstaining from Free Comic Book Day? Not really. I got a whole box full of old comics, including one that actually means something ME, rather than its publisher.


Last Updated: May 7, 2024 - 10:52

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