Review: Free Comic Book Day 2013

The first Saturday in May is a yearly event that people can enjoy. As Comic Book stores receive Free Comic Books to pass out to anyone who shows up. In the Detroit area each Comic Book store does their own thing and the event takes place in the store. This is how I thought it was done everywhere, though this year there was two events I wanted to go to that was out of state. I was in for a shock with how one town runs their free comic book day like a Holiday. This day held a few things to make it great, it was Free Comic Book day, there was a new TMNT Comic being given out, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird was going to be doing autographs in locations, it was Star Wars day and my Birthday! Here is my reviews of two different Free Comic Book Day events. One with Kevin Eastman in Rochester, NH and the other with Peter Laird in Wells, ME.

The day started off very early for Miki and I as we were staying in Lynn, MA for the week before these events. We got out the door early that morning and drove up to Rochester, NH. I decided which event to go to first, by which event started earlier. Rochester started at 10am. The location that I got from the website was Jetpack Comics. A Comic Book store which is known by TMNT fans for always having exclusive covers for the IDW TMNT Comics. I have never been there before so was not sure what to expect. Once we got into the line outside we were handed maps, fans were standing around waiting, and talking about what order of places they were going to hit for their comics. I thought they meant comic book stores as I did not look at the map all that closely.

I started to talk to the fans around me. There was these two young boys that was totally excited for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff. I started to show them some of the things I brought to be autographed including Ernie Reyes Jr. script from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. I went to explain who Ernie was to these kids, and right after I mention he played Keno one of these kids said that he was “Donatello” in the first movie. I was in shock. He was so young to know such awesome trivia. I had a handful of autographed cards in my pocket incase I could get some of these signed by Kevin. So I grabbed out one of the cards signed by Ernie and gave it to the boy. Others noticed and said they wanted some, so I held TMNT trivia in the line for the kids to win free autographed cards from Adam Carl, Robbie Rist, Ernie Reyes Jr, and Barry Gordon. With easy questions like “What channel did April work for in the TMNT Movies?” and “Who created the Mousers?”. I called it after giving so many cards away as I want to be able to give most of these cards away online as we have been doing.

After doing the trivia I started talking more with the people here. The line for this comic shop has grown and was stretching in both directions down the street. I was impressed on how many people were here for Free Comic Book day. They then filled us in on how the comics are stretched out all over town at the different stores marked on the maps passed out. Each store has a different one of the free comics. Once the doors open we went through Jetpack they had their comics at the end of the store where you get your hand marked, a free comic book day bag and three comics which a lot of which were from past years of Free Comic Book day. The TMNT Comic was next store at a place called AJ’s. We went there and got our hands on the comic. After that we used the map given to us to find the building where Kevin Eastman was going to be.

On our way to the building, a lady came up to us with her son asking if we knew the way there. So they walked with us. Getting to talk and enjoy the walk, I also took time to look around the full town was buzzing with Free Comic Book Day.. there was people in costumes, everyone with Free Comic Book Day bags and so much more. This was the best looking Free Comic Book day that I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing how much they have turned it into a full town event. An inspiration.

Now there was two ways of doing the line, there was the normal line and the fast line... if you spent so much money there you got a fast pass which would mix you into the line, every other group. Since they walked with us we told the people putting the lines together that they were with us, so we wouldn’t get split up by another group. Like normal for an event with Kevin, the line was long. The first part of it was just waiting for him to get there. So we talked, I tried to talk with the different groups around me in line. At one point I heard a voice just inside the door next to me, I knew this voice so well. I peeked my head in the door smiling to the familiar face. This was Fiona, a good friend that I met through the Words & Pictures Museum. She was working the event for Kevin, and it was really good to see her.

To my surprise someone in line knew me. It is not often I meet an online friend that knows me, without planning in advance. Machias_B said hi and we got to talking. She’s from the Technodrome forums, one of the writers on Go Green Machine and has an account on TMNT-L. We’ve known each other for a long time online, but never met before. So this was a cool meetup. Machias talked with me the rest of the time through the line, as we got close to going into the room that Kevin Eastman was in, we met another fan. Rich from http://www.tmnt-ninjaturtles.com/ was there and took a few moments to say hi to us. He seemed busy around the area. It was still cool to get the chance to say hi.

In that area near the door is where they were selling stuff. I did end up getting the “Treasury Edition * “City at War, PT. 1”” book they had. It was a Jetpack Exclusive for $20. I bought this right before going into the big open room with a lot of artist at tables, it looked like artist alley at a convention. Kevin was right there at the corner table near us. It was good to see him. I had a few things for Kevin to sign, including an autographed card that we gave away last week through a contest. After saying our hellos, getting things signed up and a few photos we were off to try and make it to the event in Wells, ME.

Machias decided to travel with us, following in her own car we make it out to Shellback Artworks. When we came in Peter Laird, Steve Lavigne, and Eric Talbot were off to the left signing autographs. I walked around seeing different things up for sale and wishing I had more money. There was a lot of really cool items around the store. I got up and hand a few things signed by the guys and said hello to them. While in line I saw some members from TMNT-L walk in WolfofMibu and NinjaPlease, I normally only see them at events in New York City. It was cool to see some faces that I knew. We said hi and hung out a bit at Shellback before parting our ways.

Both events were fun and full of TMNT fans. It was really cool to see how many fans went from one event to the other like we did. There was no free Comics at Shellback Art Supplies, but it was still a great stop with tons of cool TMNT things for sale. Personally broke down and brought a few things while there. Before leaving Rochester, NH I did over hear many people going by that the TMNT comic ran out. It was a very successful day for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and this was only two locations that were enjoying comics that day.

I am very happy that I made it to both of these locations. I just learned that there was a third location I wish I knew about, because I would of tried to have gone there too. Check out Rich’s write up on http://www.tmnt-ninjaturtles.com/ and watch for Machias write up on http://www.gogreenmachine.org/. It’s always good to hear different views of events. And great to get to know more TMNT fans out there.

Did you go to Free Comic Book Day? Did you get the TMNT Free Comic Book for this year? Was there any artist or writer signing autographs there? If yes did they work on anything TMNT? Please share your reviews, comments and questions below!

Photos by Miki Ivey

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