Saturday, May 05 2012 17:51

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY - The Rock Father Adventure

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At this point, I am 100% convinced that any ploy to get me into a store - no matter how good the intention - will be capped off with some level of disappointment. I give you FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2012.

I have a love/hate relationship with comics. I grew up on 'em as a DC Comics Kid (Marvel didn't do it for me), and they were especially important to me as an "escape" during some dark times of my youth. If you'd have asked me around '87-'88, I'd likely have told you that one day I would grow up to write and draw comic books. I did achieve the former, and would LOVE to write comics again one day - particularly a SUPERMAN title. I'm sitting on a ton of ideas, and may even do a Children's title, which really brings me to the importance of comic books now. But, producing comics has become ridiculously expensive for an independent, and like any business - there's vultures around every corner, eager to devour any morsel of cash they can. That's kept me away from it for a few years.

I want my daughter (soon to be plural) to experience comic stores.

As a kid, going to "All American Comics" in Park Forest was a weekly treat - the highlight of any week, really.  A trip to the "better" store in Homewood (drawing a blank on the name) was an epic adventure. The way things are headed in this digital age, and there's very few spots left where we currently live. But there is one, and I want the munchkin to start getting a feel for it. Today was the perfect day, and here's why...

FREE titles from YO GABBA GABBA!, TINKERBELL, PEANUTS, and more. Perfect books for kids, to encourage reading and enjoyment. 


Unlike some of the awesome reports I've heard elsewhere on the social networks today, there was no massive line outside - nor special signings or celebrity appearances at our local comic shop, whose name I will not mention, because I don't want to hurt 'em - I'd like people to shop there, but our experience wasn't particularly great.

It was completely 'Eh."

Inside, there were a decent amount of people, and a small line overall. It was enough people that it was definitely cramped. What I liked was that there were parents with little kids in there, and that's very important in keeping the spirit alive. What was disappointing is that the Free Comics this year were limited to "2 books per person." I missed the small sign off to the side, and was scolded by an employee when I started loading up - not with every book - but with ones for Addie 1st, and a couple for me on the side. I understand wanting to "make the books last" as long as possible (hey, share the wealth!), so this was an example of "It's not what was said, but how they said it."

The guy was a dick.

And my wife noted that more than I did.

trfcomicsI politely started putting books back... no AVENGERS, NEW 52, TRANSFORMERS, or STAR WARS for me. With three of us there, we picked six books to fall within the limit. YO GABBA GABBA, a Disney Fairies TINKERBELL/SMURFS split, ANNA & FROGA/MOOMIN split, SUPERMAN FAMILY/GREEN LANTERN Animated/YOUNG JUSTICE sampler, PEANUTS/ADVENTURE IN TIME split, and an awesome hardcover from Archaia called MOUSE GUARD: LABYRINTH AND OTHER STORIES. A good little score.

But we looked around and ultimately decided not to buy anything. Frankly, I'm tired of being abused by people, and I don't need to be scolded. I can be politely told, asked, or corrected. From what I've read online, limits were common this year - and that's totally cool. I'm sure treating customers well is also a common practice. I saw some things I would've gladly purchased, and probably will one day.  

This is just an example of how not to treat a family that made a special trip out of their way to visit your store.

Plus, my wife noted that "few things are worse than a dicky comic nerd." Very true.

Most people never know that I'm planning to blog about an experience when they encounter me, either.

For participating stores for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, check out http://www.freecomicbookday.com 



James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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