Saturday, July 03, 2004

My FCBD Adventures... 

Well, I really wasn't quite sure what to expect today. I'd never done a FCBD before, and had heard wildly different stories on the internet. That some shops would limit you to 2-3 different comics, and there was a lost of stuff I was interested in.

I decided to go into cautious mode and plan ahead a bit. Got up early (for a saturday..heh) at about 9am and did two print-outs. One was the FCBD readout of local shops. It listed 6 shops between 0 and 17 miles. Most were in Mass, but one was in Enfield, CT. I'm guessing there was also another in Hadley that wasn't listed (a sister store). I also printed out Dorian's list of FCBD stuff. I figured I could use that as a checklist, and wrote some notes on the back of one sheet about Johanna's opinions as well. We planned a route, I grabbed some energy tea drink stuff, and we were off!

First was the two closest shops in Springfield. The first one was actually closed for the holidays and had a sign on the door saying they'd done the FCBD stuff on wed/fri! I guess the holiday weekend was at fault, but that couldn't have been good for bringing new people in. The second shop was open, but it turns out they weren't doing FCBD. I had thought they were on the list, but I double-checked and I had been wrong. I'd just assumed... His thing was that it was too expensive for them to do, except in people's pull boxed. They'd just moved, so maybe that factored in as well. However, while we were there a big latino family came in (father and three kids.. one of which was a girl) asking about it and seemed pretty disappointed...

At that point we were a little nervous, as we were batting 0 for 2. However, things would get better from here on out. We went to the Card & Comic Co. next (that makes three shops in Springfield!), and they had a nice display on a table right out front. They had about a dozen comics, mostly of superhero or kid stuff. At first I was only going to get stuff that I was pretty sure I'd like, but hey it is free, right? Could take one of each, so that was cool, and after perusing the regular selection, we were off to home to drop off, and then continue our quest.

On the way, I had the unfortunate experience of taking a sip from my bottle (which was half-empty meaning it was about horizontal) when my put her foot on the gas. Luckily it dried without staining..heh... Dried pretty quickly, too, since it was so hot out! I was all set by the time we got to Dragon's Layer in West Springfield. I hadn't been there for many years, so it was fun to go there. It is very much a gaming store at this point with a few comics, but oh well. FCBD stuff was a bit hidden, but they had a good selection and some stuff that the last one didn't have. Also had some neat older GNs (Elric!) off on a lower shelf. I think they've been there a while judging by the dust.. ;) Lots of loud gamers there, but I had the great fun of watching Mom read some Seaguy and be very perplexed. :)

A this point we were going a bit more of a distance, up the highway to Northampton. We stopped off at Bob's first, which was open. They had a good selection, and also some TMNT stuff that wasn't made for FCBD. They actually had some back issues of Tick, which is what Mom is always looking for (but I like it too!). Didn't grab those because we need to make a list of what issues we already have, but now we finally know where it is. A pretty neat little basement area that is less dark and cramped than the other Bob's location. They also had a CD-ROM

At this point the plan was to go to Modern Myths, which I figured would have a more indy selection. Then we'd go a little further north were Mom would get some food at Bread & Circus and we could stop at the other C&CC in Hadley Mall. If we were still missing something, we could always go down to Enfield. That plan would go slightly awry, but in a generally good way.

OK, Jim Crocker is officially one of the coolest guys in comics. :) The first thing I noticed before going in was that he added something to the window (which was previously undecorated besides a posted schedule). Was it a spider-man or witchblade poster? Nonono. This was actually behind the window and was a big cardboard Tokyopop display with a nice variety on it. Everything from a Sneaks to shonen to shoujo etc. What a great idea, and it just fits in with his general marketing savy.

But I was not prepared for what was inside. I figured we'd go to almost everywhere else first so as not to deplete the coolest store, and I wasn't sure if he'd have the various superhero stuff. All of that was wiped aside as I beheld an amazing site. At the back of the store (but in perfect view) was Jim surrounded by a circle of tables, stacked with tons and tons of comics. He just standing there in the middle giving out FCBD bags and cards to people. I wish I had my camera with me, because it was just crazy. He even had left-over stuff from last year out, as well as some stuff that didn't seem printed just for FCBD. He even had little free Hulk heroclix in baggies.

We filled up two bags of that stuff, and you couldn't help feeling guilty by just how big of a selection it was! We ended up having to put them in the car before looking for normal comics to buy, because it was just so heavy. I just counted and we got a full 50 comics just from Modern Myths! And we didn't get any duplicates of what we got from the previous three stores (except the IDW one because Mom liked the CSI cover)! He said it wasn't too busy, since Northampton is dead on holidays. The holiday strikes again, but it seems he uses extras for convention giveaways (another good idea), and for the next year. Another interesting tidbit was that aparantly the Tokyopop offering was less expensive than most of hte other FCBD offerings...

I felt a personal responsibility to buy some stuff (even with money a bit short), because seriously.. 50 comics! I saw the new NewType, and grabbed that. I almost got Planetes 3 and was looking at the Battle Royale novel, but decided to wait. No #2s for Buddha or Hellsing. Some interesting stuff I saw was the new Mermaid Scar digest from Rumiko Takahashi and the Phoenix digests. I have the second Phoenix back when it was a large size, but haven't read it yet. Perhaps I'll grab Dawn some time and get them both together. Anyway, I decided today was a day to experiment and try some new stuff. Me and My Secret wasn't there, so I ended up going for the first Basara (which Mom thought looked good) and Model. I've seen a little of the Basara anime and enjoyed it, so this will be good. Model is just crazily stylish and is my first Korean volume. :) I hadn't seen the lady at the register before, but she was really cool. Even a fan of juggling. :) I grabed a different TP Sneaks volume that I didn't have (wasn't with the free stuff, but they didn't charge for it), and we were off.

By this time Mom was really tired, so we decided to just head home. With a little over 20 comics from the other shops, we made out with somewhere around 70 comics total. I have quite a lot of reading to do!

The total (minus that other TP Sneaks vol)

Just Modern Myths!

In the end, I could have just beelined straight to Modern Myths and forgot about everything else, but I'm still glad we did it the way we did. I got to visit several stores I'd never been to before, and it was just a beautiful day in general to be out and about. Lots and lots of little puffy white clouds in the sky. A couple looked like flying superheroes, but I guess that says more about my state of mind at the time than anything else. Lots of Miyazaki-ish flying ships as well. As far as real flying things go, even got a blimp which ended up skirting behind a mountain. A good day overall. :)

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