Thursday, May 7, 2009

So this past weekend was the first Saturday of May, also known as Free Comic Book Day! Free Comic Book Day is a promotional event dreamed up by the comics industry in which people can come to comic book stores and pick up free copies of pre-selected comics. It's always a big day for stores.

Allie is ready to sell you comics.

Most comic book stores open around 11am, but because we offer coffee, we open at 630am on the weekdays and 8am on the weekends. I knew because of our early hours that people would be hoping and trying to get Free Comic Books early. We decided we'd start giving them out at 10am and put up signs in advance relaying this. Saturday we got in at 959am and found around 12 people already waiting for their comics!

Here's a scene from one of the less busy periods of the day:

This year we had a constant stream of families coming in, especially from 10am to 12pm. From 12pm on, the day got slowly less and less busy until it picked up again right before closing at 7pm. I think by the end of the day a lot of the other stores in town had already closed up, which is why we got that last minute rush.

Free Comic Book Day is always one of the busiest days of the year at Guapo and we usually don't go too crazy promoting or setting up for it. Some stores try and get as many artists to come and sign at the store as possible. One year, I saw a store giving out corndogs, which also had a half dozen people dressed up in authentic Star Wars costumes greeting and taking pictures with customers. This is cool, but just not our style.

For Free Comic Book Day, I don't feel the need to try and up the ante and get tons of cartoonists to sign because the day is already crazy enough as is. Plus, regardless of whether you have the "Best Show In Town," lots of people will actually tour all the area comic book stores so they can get the maximum amount of free comics.

This dog came to pick up his copy of the Free Comic Book Day offering "Owly & Friends." He also gave himself a full body mohawk for the occasion.

This year we did have a few special guest however. At 12pm, Dylan Williams, cartoonist and publisher from Sparkplug Comic Books, came by to promote the Free Comic "Bird Hurdler" which he co-published. At the same time, "Bird Hurdler" contributors Andrice Arp and Lisa Eisenberg, both Portland cartoonists, showed up to sign copies of the book from 12pm to 3pm.

Dylan Williams and Lisa Eisenberg are ready to give you comics!

It was great having Dylan, Andrice, and Lisa there because they're all local, they're all friends, and they're all cartoonists putting out work that I enjoy, and personally want to support.

Most stores will put a limit on how many free comics you can take. This year we let customers take three each (plus a "Bird Hurdler"). One of the reasons for the limit is that the comics aren't actually free for the store. Publishers offer them to us at a reduced rate ($0.10 to $0.50 a copy), but when you're buying hundreds of these things, the cost adds up fast.

For lunch, Allie picked us up food from Los Gorditos, a favorite of ours because it has vegan options for all our vegan friends.

Jesse Reklaw came in to Guapo to offer his support and work on inking his "Slowwave" comic strip. He says the air at Guapo was nice and dry, "great for inking." Upon my request, he's "posing" for the camera.

I was beat by the time the day drew to a close. I'm not used to working nine hour days at Guapo anymore. It was a lot of fun though and sales were great. On the coffee side, Megan actually broke her daily sales record which is an awesome feeling. Our next event at Guapo will be a new art show debuting May 30th, curated by local cartoonist Sean Christensen.



  1. I really hate that picture of me. BAD. I look like a turtle with a ponytail.

  2. You look like a very cute turtle though.