All the photos in this post were taken at around 14.00. I lost myself in a comic/(medical) drug induced frenzy in the early hours, and was only after my sanity returned that I thought to take some photos for this post. You can check out some better photos of the day at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.451753804840047.126137.130689526946478&type=3

Shortly after I moved to Cape Town, I sought out a small comic book store my brother had taken me to when I first visited 12 years ago. It had since changed location, but thankfully Reader’s Den was still as awesome as I remembered it. It was shortly after my rediscovery of Reader’s Den that I found out about Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). An event that was originally created to promote comics around the world,  it has also become a day for fans and creators to get together and have an awesome time. I have attended FCBD at Readers Den for the last five years, and it amazes me how each year it just keeps on getting better and better.

For the 11th FCBD hosted by Reader’s Den, I had packed a small breakfast of muffins and juice, which I planned to eat when I got to Stadium on Main. I usually arrive around 8 AM to ensure that I’m the first person in the queue to the sales area. When I got to Stadium on Main yesterday at about my usual time, I quickly forgot about breakfast.

The first thing to catch my attention was the artists setting up the promotional area. Where last year there were about two or three tables, this year the entire area was packed. Local artists had really come out in force this year to promote their comics, illustration, sculpture, and clothing lines. Also joining the fray was 2UpGamers, who had a console set up with Batman: Arkham City running.

My friend Ben put on his best smile to try and draw in the customers.

After stopping briefly to say hello to some good friends of mine, I made my way over to the sale area. I stopped for a moment and looked over to the store. No, I thought to myself, that can’t possible be right. There were already about 20 people queued up outside the store. At the same time last year there were about five. I thought about walking over and slapping the person at the back of the queue just to make sure they were real, but that would mean I lose my place at the front of the queue for the sales area. I decided to keep my spot and assume that the people in the queue were not part of some painkiller induced hallucination. (I had early flu symptoms, which I had heavily medicated myself for so that I wouldn’t miss out).

People patiently waiting to get into the store towards the end of the day. Yes, the end of the day.

Needless to say, things got even crazier from then on.

Proceedings kicked off just after 9, and as a veteran who has survived the sales area rush for the last 5 years, it was even crazier this year. Due to the increase in numbers, there was also an increase in pushing and jostling. It’s not quite a mosh pit, but I imagine that all it would take is the right music, and someone to yell out a something like “Iron Man is a pansy!” to really get things going.

Even members of Atatsuki took a break from trying to destoy Konoha, and stopped by FCBD

After much chatting to friends and strangers alike, there were prizes to be given away. As always the prizes were awesome, and I even managed to win something this year! Kind of. A friend of mine gave me his tickets since he was leaving, and I won something with one of his (now technically my) tickets. Even though he had given them to me, a part of me still felt like it was his prize. I let him know that I’d won a Green Lantern hard cover with one of his tickets and would send it his way (after I’d read it of course).

Awesome free prizes are all part of the FCBD experience.

The amount of people who were cosplaying (dressed up) this year also drastically increased. We had a variety of anime, fantasy, sci-fi, and of course, comic characters. There was a competition held for all the cosplayers, which I unfortunately missed, since I was too busy going through my loot.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent hanging out and chatting to the local artists who were promoting their goods. Due to the fact that I’d maxed out my daily limit on my card, I wasn’t able to pick up as much stuff as I would’ve, but made a note to contact the people involved when my card stopped saying “Declined”. (I will list all the locals that I met, as well as their websites, at the end of this post).

What would Free Comic Book Day be without some free comics?

At about two thirty I felt the drugs starting to wear off, and my stomach starting to complain violently as the muffins that I had planned to eat for breakfast had remained untouched. Knowing my body’s propensity for randomly shutting down (fainting) when ill, underfed and under physical stress, I decided to call it a day. It was with a hint of sadness that I said goodbye to my friends, gathered up my books, and headed back home.

It had been a fantastic day, and it’s great to see fans from all over Cape Town getting into the spirit and joining in. FCBD at Reader’s Den just seems to be going from strength to strength, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us next year!

Check out these awesome folks online (if I don’t list you, my apologies, let me know and I’ll add you here):

Advertisements