On Saturday May 6, Planet Fun was packed to the brim as avid comic book fans anxiously waited in line for this year’s Free Comic Book Day. This yearly event is held nationwide as participating comic stores give specific comic book issues away for free. The event is a way for publishers to grow their audience, but it also brings many people together.
This year, there were over 40 issues available, ranging from series such as Doctor Who, Star Trek, Rick and Morty, The Legend of Zelda, Wonder Woman and more. Surprisingly, staff found guests waiting outside the store before it had even opened and the owner, John Croley, said the line never seemed to end once the doors opened. The store ran out of their 800 free comics after only 5 hours.
In addition to their participation in Free Comic Book Day, Planet Fun also brought in SCAD Sequential Art Alumni and faculty to expand the event by sell their work and to sketch throughout the day.
Eryk Donovan, a sequential major from SCAD’s class of 2013, displayed original pieces for sale as well copies of one of his first books, called “Memetic,” a tale about an internet meme that ends the world in only three days.
When discussing Free Comic Book Day, Eryk said, “Every store is different. The shop I had worked Free Comic Book Day before was in Virginia. It’s hard to tell [the turnout] because that was a much smaller store, but either way [Planet Fun] seems really busy. John, who’s the owner, said that this was the busiest they’ve ever been on free comic book day.”
Shadia Amin, a graduate student, presented sketches of a variety of characters including a sketch of the actual group of artists at Planet Fun. She is currently working on an ongoing web series called “The Automan’s Daughter.” “I’ve never done anything of this scale and I’m really glad to be starting to get some reception and online feedback,” she revealed. “It makes me very happy, very excited, especially because it’s my first project.”
Kit Seaton, a professor of Sequential Art at SCAD sold many copies of her first graphic novel “Afar,” which recounts the life of a young girl who can astrally project when she dreams. Seaton said she enjoyed the day and was pleased with the event’s turnout. “I got to see a lot of familiar faces, I got to meet some new people…it’s been great. I didn’t expect to stay as long as I did and it was totally worth it.”
Donovan said, “We’re in a [comic] Renaissance right now. We’re in a period where there has been this huge influx of new creators, who would not have necessarily – and may still not – get the attention of a major publisher, yet they’re able to use the internet and social media to create a voice and create a following and run a successful business on their own.” These new mediums and voices are helping the comic book industry to grow and reach more people, an effect that had clear results at Planet Fun’s bustling Free Comic Book Day 2017.