What’s a woman to do the day after attending the Prince Tribute Concert in Downtown Los Angeles? Pick herself up in order to pursue her creative endeavors, just like The Artist would have wanted her to do.
How? Why, by putting on her super cape to attend the annual Free Comic Book Day events around town with family and friends, which is exactly what I did this past Saturday.
For those who do not know, there is an annual Free Comic Book Day celebration at comic book stores in the United States every first Saturday of May. Comic book publishing companies would release free comic books specifically for this yearly event in the hopes to entice old and new readers to become enamored with the various serial storylines that would subsequently become available for purchase at a later date.
I have personally attended these yearly events since 2009 as a way to introduce my then only child to superheroes (Wonder Woman!) and my love for graphic art. My husband is a huge comic book fan; he has been since the X-Men series of the 1980s-1990s, and has over the years leaned towards the graphic novel genres such as The Walking Dead and The Sandman.
As our son got older, our family still looked forward to attending the Free Comic Book events as they likewise were able to satisfy his fantasy interests in Star Wars: Clone Wars, DC vs. Marvel superheroes, etc. Here’s my blog post for when we attended the Free Comic Book Day event back in 2013.
This year, we decided to include a few friends during our family bonding event and sought to visit two comic book stores close to our home.
We first walked to our local comic book store, Hi De Ho Comics, on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica. We learned that there are new store owners: Eddie deAngelini, Kristen Parraz and Geoffrey Patterson, so this year’s Free Comic Book Day event was different in that Hi De Ho Comics also hosted its very first “Comic Con” event at its store on May 7th. The usual merchandise and comic book store displays, as well as a decent selection of free comic books for Free Comic Book Day, were available to all. Added this year were the Hi De Ho Comic Con booths where patrons can commiserate with various comic companies and comic book artists/writers. These included Stranger Comics, EMET Comics, Aftershock Comics, 451 Media Group, Imagine Everything Studios, George Wassil (writer, Oh Hell), Joshua Henaman (writer, Action Lab’s Bigfoot Sword of the Earthman), Eddie deAngelini (writer/artist of collectorscomic.com), For The Win Project and Ralph Villalobos (artist). There was also a reasonably priced food vendor outdoors for those who found themselves hungry ($1 tacos, anyone? Yes, 12 for our party, please!), an hourly raffle drawing for event attendees, miscellaneous door prizes and an afternoon Star Wars-themed costume contest.
Fun fun fun!
We arrived at Dreamworld Comics, located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, later in the day. Dreamworld Comics has been around for about 15+ years, but the owner relocated his store a couple of years back to what was once a former automobile service shop on the corner of Centinela Avenue and Washington Place.
Now this is a fun place to visit (and perhaps rent for a couple of hours for a private birthday party). I mean, look at these awesome murals! These fun murals on its exterior walls were painted by local artists and friends of the owner. You can see that a lot of work was put into each of these characters.
The lack of crowds and the hustle and bustle of Free Comic Book Day at Dreamworld Comics (no lunch, no cosplay contests, no free swag, etc.) did not deter us from visiting this local hangout because Dreamworld Comics has more merchandise and a wider selection of comic books for the more serious collector AND it has a wide assortment of unusual, thoughtful and affordable gift items for those who just want to buy a toy or a t-shirt.
Dreamworld Comics also has a bigger outdoor space at the back of the venue, so in addition to selling fresh popcorn and a jump in the Superman Bouncy House, Dreamworld was able to house an even bigger selection of Free Comic Books and host two independent comic book artists for some book signings for the annual event.
There were also licensed, life-sized statues of beloved characters of popular culture on display for the discerning customer to admire, including Captain Rex, R2-D2 & Yoda from the Star Wars franchise, as well as baby dragons for the Game of Thrones fans.
It was impossible for us to pull the kids away from this venue, especially our first born, who spotted a $15 comic book of his new love, The Simpsons. Fortunately, promises to take a drive in the Batmobile, a trip to the car wash and an extra waking hour of comic book reading time before bedtime swayed our kids into leaving this magical place.
Until next time…
Free Comic Book Day
Hi De Ho Comics
1431 Lincoln Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
12402 Washington Place
Los Angeles, CA 90066
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