Free Comic Book Day in Mesa means guest stars and people dressing up!

That's just how they do things here in the Basin, man!

So this year's FCBD wasn't quite as nifty as last year's event, mainly because Atomic Comics had fewer guest stars, but it was still pretty keen. I was trying to participate in the Mothership's live-blogging thing they did, but my cell phone crapped out recently, so I had no way to take pictures and upload them there. Yes, I suck. I blame Jonah for not flying out here this year like he did last year.

I went first to my regular comics store and picked up a few free comics - the Avengers one, the Green Lantern one, the Love and Capes one, and the Savage Dragon one. I don't like getting a ton of free comics, because the day isn't geared toward me, but I figured I'd get a few. I also picked up a not-bad copy of Greenberg the Vampire for 3 bucks, the hardcover Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born for 8 bucks (something I will not read for years, until I get around to reading the prose epic, but hey! 8 bucks!), and the latest issue of Wizard. Yes, I will write about the latest issue of Wizard soon, trust me. Then it was off to Atomic, where Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver were spreading joy and autographs! [Edit: I apologize for this, but that's not Ethan van Sciver. I've never actually seen Mr. van Sciver, so I just assumed it was him. That's Sterling Gates in the foreground. Van Sciver is apparently deathly ill, so he had to cancel. The line was so very long that I never got close to them, so I suck. Sorry, everyone!]

(I finally got a good picture of the two gentlemen. They kept moving!)

I didn't stay long at Atomic, because I wasn't all that interested in Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver. I'm sure they're swell fellows, but I'm not huge fans of their comic books. The line this year was a bit shorter than last year (the seven Image founders was a HUGE draw), but thankfully, the weather in Hell was a bit nicer this year - it's been overcast all day, so although it's hot, the sun isn't scorching skin off your scalp as you wait. There was still a healthy line, however. The 501st Legion of Stormtroopers was there, too, and a few people dressed up. I'm not sure why FCBD has become a reason for some fans to dress up, but that's just the way it is! There was a Gold Bikini Leia there, too, which sparked some discussion among some of us. The young lady was cute and easily pulled off the Gold Bikini Look, but she was tiny - she was lucky if she was five feet tall. One of the guys I was talking to mentioned that she looked pretty good, and while I agreed, I also pointed out that her tininess made her look 12 years old, which made the whole thing kind of creepy. That pretty much ruined his day. I rule!

(I love getting people in costume being casual. I like it a lot better than the posed photos.)


I went to check out their selection of free comics, as my store didn't get the Atomic Robo one, and I really wanted it. I got their last one, so I was happy, but while I was getting it, I learned that each person could only get one comic. Not one of each title - ONE COMIC. I guess they were worried that they were going to run out, but that seemed a bit draconian. Oh well - I only wanted one, so no worries for me!

(People standing around, with the line in the background.)

I spent the rest of my time talking with an ex-employee and watching the line move. By the time I left, it has shrunk considerably, but was still almost out the door. I have never understood the appeal of getting autographs (I have gotten two comics signed in my life, one by Dennis O'Neil and one by Neil Gaiman, but it wasn't that big a deal), but I guess a lot of people dig it. That's cool. Johns and van Sciver seemed to be having a good time, although I can't imagine signing your name over and over is much fun. They didn't appear grumpy, at least.

(This is Gaby, an employee. She's "dressed" as X-23. Despite that, she's quite cool.)

As I mentioned, there wasn't quite the buzz about the event as there was last year, which was understandable. It was still pretty cool. Atomic always has interesting creators show up. But what was up with Marvel's books being smaller than normal? That reeked of crass cost-cutting, if you ask me.

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