2015 Tallahassee “Free Comic Book Day” Review

By Scott Drew on May 29, 2015

Growing up an avid comic book reader, there was always one special day of the year that I looked forward to, the first Saturday of May, otherwise known as “Free Comic Book Day.” Free Comic Book Day is exactly what it sounds like, a special day of the year when certain comic books are given away for free. Special issue comics are printed and often written especially for Free Comic Book Day and then given away to the customers for free.

Free Comic Book Day is a national event, but only available at participating locations. It is up to the local comic shops to decide whether or not they want to participate in Free Comic Book Day and this is why it is important to acknowledge those who do. Although the comics may be free to the customers, they are not free to the shops.

This year’s events definitely did leave me disappointed. Here, in Tallahassee, we have three wonderful comic book shops that participated in Free Comic Book Day. The fact that there are three participating locations is major because a lot of stores limited the amount of free comics that any single customer could get.

Having three participating comic book stores in town meant that if I did not get a certain comic book that I wanted at one store, I could try to get it at another store. In some cities, like my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, there may be just one, or even zero participating locations. Luckily, in Tallahassee we have the three following participating locations:

Fallout Comics

Fallout Comics is located in the Office Depot shopping center off of Apalachee Parkway and is quite nice on the inside. I like their store because it has a lot of open space, as well as a high ceiling. Right away, the atmosphere is inviting. The staff, on the other hand, was not so inviting. Rather than being social with the customers, I felt as if they were watching to make sure no customers took an excessive amount of comics. This store limited the amount of free comics per customer to two FCBD special issue comics and was quite strict in that policy. They did offer one of any of their comics from the $1 boxes for free as well, but many people would much rather have a third choice of FCBD comics.

I, myself, was quite conflicted as to which two comics I should choose. I did not blame the shop for limiting the number of comics because I understand that they have to pay for the comics, but when I tried to make friendly conversation with one of the staff members, while trying to gauge his thoughts on which comics I should get, I received a very minimal response as if to say, “leave me alone.” This is also not the first time that I have gotten this feeling from the staff at Fallout.

I left Fallout Comics with two great issues, but not very satisfied. Luckily, I had another comic shop to go to.

Cosmic Cat Comics

Cosmic Cat Comics is a quant, little comic shop in the heart of Railroad Square. I cannot think of a better location for a comic book shop than an art and artist filled market place. Surrounded by art galleries and vintage stores, Cosmic Cat Comics gets plenty of foot traffic year round, especially during Railroad Square’s monthly gathering called “First Friday.”

On May 2, Cosmic Cat Comics was overflowing with customers. Luckily for me, I got to the shop early, but by the time I was done picking my free comic books and walked out of the store, there must have been at least 100 people in line. The good thing is that the staff was very nice to those in line. They even had a food truck come in case people wanted a treat while waiting in line.                                                                                                                                     

Having gotten to the store before opening time, I was able to have a nice conversation with the owner and one of his employees. I noticed that he and his employees engaged in multiple conversations with customers and it is things like this that the customers appreciate and remember.

Cosmic Cat Comics allowed their customers to choose three special issue free comic books. On top of the free comics, Cosmic Cat Comics also had deals on a lot of the other merchandise, like 50 percent off certain toys and comics. This was clearly a good business move, seeing as how it got me to buy a Doctor Who toy for my brother.

The Bookshelf


The Bookshelf, located on South Monroe Street, is my favorite comic book shop in Tallahassee and the one that I frequent most often. This is because of the quality in selection and the warm atmosphere. Before you even walk into the store, you are greeted with a window full of superhero memorabilia and pictures. Once you walk in, the first thing you see is the welcoming smile of Tom, the owner, sitting behind the counter. Surrounding him is a huge selection of comic books, varying from comics from the 1950s to comics from the present day.

Free Comic Book Day is a huge deal for the staff of The Bookshelf. The Bookshelf goes all out every year for Free Comic Book Day, getting costumed superheroes and face painters to entertain the children. The Bookshelf also does a great job advertising for Free Comic Book Day, doing things like going on local news stations and placing free comics in restaurants with the name and address of the storefront on them.

The Bookshelf seemed to have the best method when it came to giving the free comics out. The staff had split the free comic books up by age group and had filled bags ready for the customers when they walked in. When I noticed that I still did not have a certain comic that I wanted, I asked the owner, who was happy to give it to me. This is a true testament to the friendly atmosphere provided over at The Bookshelf.

* * *

Overall, I would say that this year’s Free Comic Book Day was a success. The comics were entertaining, the conversation was good and the deals were even better. What is better than free?

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