Not everyone knows this but I have always been fascinated by comic books, graphic novels and the different characters that are featured therein. I haven’t read many since I was much younger and have never really found a good place to purchase them. Well, that and someone stole the small collection that I did have when I was younger. I never found out who that was. Anyway, I was recently informed about a place called Readers Den Comic Shop and it seems that they would be hosting an event called Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) on the 5th of May. I was in disbelief but I decided to head down to a centre in Claremont, Cape Town called Stadium on Main to check it out.
I arrived at the venue to find that Free Comic Day was no small event; it was more of a festival. I arrived at around 08:45, thinking that I could still get in line before most of the people. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I arrived, there were more than 100 people already waiting. Hell, it might have even been 200.
Shortly after getting into line, owner and manager of Readers Den, Nizar Abrahams hopped onto the microphone and welcomed all the comic book fans to Free Comic Book Day. According to Abrahams, FCBD is an international event in which over 2 million comic books are given away for free and that his shop was handling the Cape Town part of the event. After this welcome by Abrahams, everyone was allowed to purchase discounted comic books, graphic novels, posters and even some figurines. It was like someone told the attendees that free iPhones were being given away. Yes, it was that hectic.
People had also formed a queue in order to get into the actual store. After making my way into that queue, it took nearly an hour to get into the store. However, when I did, I felt like I had walked into a little piece of heaven. Everything had been marked down for the event and the first 50 people also received goodie bags provided that they spent at least R100 inside the store. Unfortunately, I was not one of those 50 people.
In addition to the well known comic books, there were also a few local artists launching their own comic books at the event. Mutabor Sculptures were also present, showing off some of their fine work. Glenn Alexander from 2upGamers attended FCBD in order to let the attendees play one the best comic book games on the current generation of consoles, Batman: Arkham City.
There were also many cosplayers that attended the event. People dressed up as characters from films, comic books, manga and anime. I wouldn’t be able to name them all but I’m pretty sure that I saw Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, The Spirit, a Sith Lord, Black Widow, Loki, the Red Hood, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Harley Quinn. I just loved how everyone’s costume looked so damn good. I’d really like to try my hand at cosplay sometime. Also, their efforts didn’t go unnoticed, the people with the best costumes walked away with some nice prizes.
All in all, I felt that the event was a huge success and really enjoyed myself. It’s a pity that it only happens once a year. Either way, I feel that I’ll be able to start my comic book collection from scratch now that I know about Readers Den. I only had 2 regrets; firstly, I should’ve gone much earlier and secondly, I just wish that I had more money to spend.