Tag Archives: Free Comic Book Day

FCBD 2017

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017. What is FCBD, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked.

FCBD was started by comic retailer superstar Joe Field of Flying Colors in Concord, California. The first year was 2002, so this year marks the 16th year for FCBD. It’s traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, which also usually coincides with the opening weekend of the summer’s superhero movie. 2002 was Spider-Man, this year is Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

While I was aware of what the day was, the first time I actually did FCBD was in 2011, the ten year anniversary. The fine folks at Heroes and Dreams, a store which regrettably no longer exists, invited me to be a guest in their store for the day. So I drove down to Flowood, MS. for a long full day.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Aaron and his crew over at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall invited me to be a part of the day there. That day was particularly exciting for me as it was the opening weekend to Avengers: Age of Ultron…which included one of my all-time favorite superheroes: The Vision!

Last year I went out to Gods and Monsters in the Artegon Mall. G&M are still around, but unfortunately, they’re not at the Artegon Mall.

This year I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be at one of the top stores around, and one that I’m always sending my students to visit: ACME Superstore! Former Spider-Man artist Alex Saviuk is the headliner, but he’ll be joined by me and my comic creating pals Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte. Come out, grab some free comics (you can find a list of the free offerings here), then spend a buck or two on “local” creators and support our books. Autographs are FREE!

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Free Comic Book Day 2015

Saturday, May 2, was Free Comic Book Day all over these United States. Hopefully all of you reading my blog already know that. If not…well, I’ve failed you.

FCBD300WFree Comic Book Day (FCBD) is the brainchild of comic store owner, Joe Field. I’m fortunate enough to have met Joe during the 90s and enjoyed talking to him about his take on how to run a store. A short history of the day is written here by John Jackson Miller much better than I could attempt. This is the fourteenth year for the annual event. If you’ve never been to one, shame on you. It’s your opportunity to snag free comics and check out new material.

Interestingly, I told everyone I saw on Saturday that it was the second time I’d participated, the last time was two years ago. That’s part true. It was the second time I’d been at one of the cool local stores to promote comics (and myself), but the last time I did it was actually 2011. Wow, that was FOUR years ago. My how time flies. (and I just learned that the store where I signed books is no longer open. Very sad, because Heroes and Dreams was a very good store!).

Me manning the table during FCBD 2015 at Coliseum of Comics Fashion Square Mall. You can see my pal Barry off to my right.

Me manning the table during FCBD 2015 at Coliseum of Comics Fashion Square Mall. You can see my pal Barry off to my right.

This year I was honored to be a part of the creative assemblage put together by Aaron and his crew at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando. To help matters, Avengers: Age of Ultron was playing in the theater right above us. Hundreds of folks turned out there, so I can only guess what it was like all over the US.

The day was also made fun because I got to sit right next to my old pal Barry Gregory (and son, Fox). Barry was there pushing his new comic John Aman: Amazing Man. He’s also got a kickstarter going on to support the next issues, so you should consider going to support it!

Speaking of kickstarters, Chuck Bordell’s Victor’s Horror Compendium was a success, so be looking for it. It contains a short Civil War ghost comic based on a short story I wrote. Chuck will be illustrating it and I’m very excited to see it! If he lets me, I’ll post some sneak peeks here, and also let you know where to go grab it if you didn’t pledge (shame on you!).

Events up next for me are Space Coast Nerd Fest on May 24th (I’ll only be there the one day, but all day); Daytona Comic Con on June 7; and Leesburg Public Library Comic Con on June 13th. If you’re in the area then, come see me!

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Civil War Adventure (FCBD)

Since I’ve been in school the last two years, my “pleasure” reading has piled up. No, I mean that literally. I have a stack(s) of about 40 books that I’m finally getting to work my way through. Oh, I read plenty for school, it’s just that…well, it was for school and so it was kinda like work.

Anyway, I just recently finished reading Free Comic Book Day’s (FCBD) Civil War Adventure, one of the two books I picked up when I was also a guest at Heroes and Dreams down in Brandon, Mississippi. It was actually a book I encouraged Brett to get as he has a growing interest in history and the Civil War. He flipped through it, but it didn’t interest him. Yes, I was a bit surprised.

Now I know why. And, actually, I’m so relieved he didn’t pick it up.

The first thing that hit me was that it is very inappropriate for younger audiences. Or, to use terminology of today, it is certainly not family friendly! In an interview with Chuck Dixon, who wrote one of the stories in the book, he said, “Our work is family friendly stuff so there was no concern about content.” Whoa! He must have been talking about a different issue, because this one is replete with language that should earn it a PG-13 rating! And in the end, there is a detailed sequence on how surgeon’s amputated limbs of wounded soldiers. Very interesting, but also very visually graphic and NOT “all ages.”

FCBD’s site advertises the book as “historically accurate stories of the war.” Granted, I read elsewhere (probably the interview) that they were fictionalized accounts—but the publisher is promoting the accuracy. Unfortunately, an amateur’s mistake is made when the text indicates the Emancipation Proclamation “frees the slaves in the South.” Of course, even amateur historians know this isn’t the case, and that the EP was merely political posturing. Effective yes, but still merely a proclamation with no legal power or authority.

And to top it off, the stories are just bad. There’s no real reason to get emotionally attached to the disposable characters. “Gator Bait” (which makes most Southerners think of U of F football) gives all of about three sentences worth of information regarding blockade runners with no actual historical figures to teach us about. The jerk gets his due at the end—no real surprise there. The second story, “I rode with the devil,” is slightly better in that it touches on Bloody Bill Anderson and displays his violence on Jayhawkers. Problem with this story, though, is the central focus is on a fictionalized character that we don’t get the opportunity to really get emotionally vested in.

And to add insult to injury—though this will probably surprise very few Southerners—all the Southerners are portrayed in a negative light, while the one Northern-sympathizer is nice…his off-screen son is portrayed as evil, though. Of course, that portrayal comes from evil Bloody Bill.

Generally, I like Chuck Dixon’s work…that’s partly why I’m so surprised this is just so bad. I mean, he even uses “y’all” as singular!

Geez.

Don’t waste your money on this one.

Wait…it was free.

Okay, so don’t waste your time on it. I can list 50 things better and more accurate!

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Free Comic Book Day and the Comic Book Writer

Some of you know, but many of you don’t, that this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day in comic specialty shops all across the US. This year will be the 10th Annual Free Comic Book Day. What an incredible opportunity for budding comic writers to browse a list of potential “reference” books and come away with one for free! It’s also a great opportunity to meet local and nationally recognized creators as many of them (including myself! More on that below) will be making appearances at comic shops nationwide.

Comic writers will always be asked the question “do you draw, too?” Most comic writers who’ve been around long enough are used to the question and can roll with it. In fact, comic writers should anticipate this question because comic books are such a visual medium.

So what does a comic writer do?

While there are a multitude of variations, there are two basic styles of scripts used in comic books/graphic novels: full script and plot first. Long time comic book readers have likely heard them called “Marvel style” and “DC style” for the simple reason that long ago each company used a different style of scripts. Those styles are more interchangeable today, but some old-timers hang on to those terms.

A full script or DC style script is a finished script and once it is accepted by the editor, the writer is done. A full script contains a detailed panel description for each comic panel (the individual pictures on each page) in the entire comic. Some writers provide very basic art descriptions; some provide camera direction; and some provide very detailed descriptions of every tiny thing in the panel. Not only does the writer of a full script have to provide art direction, but he must include all of the text that the reader will see or read. This includes captions, thought bubbles and dialogue balloons.

A plot first or Marvel style script is done by the writer in two stages. The first stage is a plot only. The writer provides a detailed description of the actions happening on each page. Setting, mood, etc. is also covered, but very little—if any—dialogue is included. Writers will often suggest what the dialogue or thoughts will be simply to give the artist some direction in facial expressions and reactions. The artist then takes this plot and creates the visual, determining how many panels, etc. The finished art then goes back to the writer so that he can add in the captions, dialogue and thoughts, using the same plot that he provided to the editor and artist.

Obviously there are pros and cons to each style, but both work and proven successful over time. Regardless of style, a writer still must be prepared to tell a good story.

So, for all of you in the Jackson/Pearl/Brandon/Reservoir area, come out to Heroes and Dreams in Flowood this Saturday and pick up a free comic from the boys there! Hours are from 10am until 8pm. While you’re there, say hi to me and pick up my book, not one of the free ones—sorry. I will sign it for free, though! I’ll have to leave before 8 to get home—so come early! J

To find a comic shop near you participating in Free Comic Book Day, click here.

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