Nerdlocker – Free Comic Book Day: Las Vegas Edition


free comic book day 2012

It’s that time of the year again; the most anticipated day for nerds has arrived. Free Comic Book Day (FCBD)! What started as a promotional event to help advertise the theatrical release of the 1st Spider-Man movie has transformed into one of most celebrated days for comic book readers, young and old.
Free Comic Book Day has garnered the appreciation of all comic book fans. From sought after collectors, to first time readers. Retail stores around the nation have used the first Saturday of May to give out free books to patiently waiting attendees who line up early to receive specially printed comics published by many of the top leading publishers, which include DC, Marvel, Image, Valiant, as well as independent publishers. It’s a way to introduce newer readers to the type of medium that many have come to enjoy, and continue a tradition that started in 2002.
This year was special, by the power of the nerd gods, it also happened to be Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you), which meant that there was a bit more pride in the nerd community. From comic store to comic store, thousands lined up with the anticipation of getting their hands on the many books that were given out.
I for one was especially excited because I knew what lay ahead. From the moment I woke up, I was as giddy as if I was transformed to a 13 year old kid. My 1st stop of the day was to Maximum Comics store 1, where I was greeted by members of the 501st Legion.
For those who are not aware of the 501st Legion, they are one of the largest groups of Star Wars costume players in the world. With many chapters in the US, and countries like Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Indonesia, etc. They are the diehard Star Wars fans who go above and beyond to dress up as their favorite characters but who also take the time to do activities like fundraising, children’s hospital visits and other charitable work around the world.
The line for Free Comic Book Day at Maximum Comics was mind blowing, it wrapped around the corner. As eager line goers waited in line since 8:30 a.m. When the doors opened at the 10 o’clock mark, a roar of cheers and applauding erupted as it officially kicked of today’s festivities.
One by one, people in an organized manner went to the freebie table and chose from a vast amount of comics, trinkets and free cookies and candy. You could see smiles on faces, a grin from ear to ear, as many of the attendees were parents bringing their children to partake and introduce them comic books for the first time. While the line waited patiently, they interacted with the Storm Troopers as they patrolled the line making sure the kids were entertained and that no one was unruly.
I then went to Maximum Comics third location on the north side of town and just like the first one. A line as far as the eye can see stretched down the sidewalk past the curb and onto the next sidewalk. More members of the 501st Legion Storm Trooper division laid guard outside while a friendly neighborhood wall crawler protected the inside. That’s right the Amazing Spider-Man was there and took photos with everyone from kids, adults and even senior citizens while they too waited in line to get a bountiful amount of comics and snacks that laid the back table.
While people were lined up against the wall for comics, another line formed to get free drawings from Ninjabot (read our interview with them here). Hot from their Origins Kickstarter fundraising campaign. The duo took time off their hectic schedule, coming off of the C2E2 convention in Chicago the previous week and the monthly art festival First Friday in downtown Las Vegas the night before to draw sketches for many of their fans, as well as people curious of their amazing illustrations. If you want more information on Ninjabot’s Kickstarter campaign, click here.
As people pleased their eyes with comics and terrific artwork while treating their taste buds with cookies and candies, Maximum Comics owner Jay Bosworth graciously entertained the crowd as he and his fantastic staff held raffles for the attendees of FCBD. It was also personally gratifying because I ran into fellow Nerd, Lucy!
My next venture of the Free Comic Book Day festivities took me to Comic Oasis. They had a large tent dedicated just to FCBD! People collected their comics and proceeded to go to the store where local artists were having a sketchfest, drawing for waiting attendees, as they had the options of receiving a free drawing and or deciding to do a commissioned work where the artist would draw a personal piece of art for the client. It was a neat thing to see.
My next trip lead me to Alternate Reality Comics, smack dab in the middle of the UNLV area. Owner Ralph Mathieu, greeted people with smiles and free comics and also had a sketchfest going on at his shop. Las Vegas own group of nerds the Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities were also in attendance, cosplaying and interacting with people who came to the shop. It was fun times there as you saw Supergirl, Michonne, Princess Leia (AKA our very own Nerd Kit!), Aida Wong and other strong female characters in comics, movies and video games take over the store.
For the last spot on this eventful day I checked out Maximum Comics store 2 in Henderson, mind you that it’s been over 6 hours since Free Comic Book Day started and the shop is just as crowded as if it was the beginning of the day. By this point at the end of the trip I was told that the influx of customers that came for Free Comic Book Day never died down. This was gratifying to hear.
You see, today was a day dedicated to the comic book readers, new and old. A day to relish in smiles and enjoyment for all. From the retailers, to the attendees of Free Comic Book Day, everyone has something to remember. Whether it was the free comics, sketches and drawings, the interactions from the cosplaying customers or Star Wars 501st Legion. Or the terrific hosting from all the comic book retailers in the Las Vegas and Henderson area. It’s definitely a day that I’ll remember. Check out my photo gallery below for a small sample of Free Comic Book Day!

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