Free Comic Book Day 2017: Hitting It Rural Style
Free Comic Book Day kicked off with a bang, here in South Eastern Ontario. We’re currently experiencing long and heavy rains and have areas of flooding but that did not slow the people here down at all.
Stop 1: Need A Hero Comics
I started off the day hitting up Need A Hero Comics where their small but packed store was lined up 45 minutes early with caffeine, children and rain all on hand. The store is like a tiny treasure trove of fun (I got my Spock ears there, not too long ago) and to celebrate FCBD 2017, Aaron gave customers 20% off of all regular priced items.
Nobody was pushy, everyone was polite and friendly. This made what could’ve been a mosh pit, given the small space, more of a Christmas vibe as people grabbed their bags from the helpers and looked through the exceptional selection and pointed and smiled. In line, I heard one guy shout to another “I had no idea we shared this in common” which was probably the coolest. It’s always nice to find that geeky connection you sometimes don’t know exists.
Stop 2: J&B Books
I’ll fast forward to my next stop, the local J&B Books, where my childhood was spent. It’s full of trading card games, secondhand books and comics, collectibles and the warmest owner in the world, Bob. This man is a local celebrity to the geek crowd.
Twenty some odd years ago when Pokemon cards first hit the market, Bob would be open hours after close so kids could play card games in the aisles. At the time, the store was 800 square feet and he was a one man show. This started with wooden covers being put on top of the comic book areas and kids playing on them. Eventually Warhammer, Magic the Gathering, and so many others would be played at this store. The wood from those original coverings on the comic books currently sits on top of the new table legs where our free comic books were today in the now 3000 square foot store where FCBD is being complemented by a 1650 40k ITC Tournament. When I asked Bob why he let everyone start playing in his store all those years ago, his response was simple “They needed a place to play. They’re customers and I think you have to give back to your community.” He’ll likely never realize the true extent of his impact on some of our lives.
It’s not Christmas morning in this store because this man has made it that way every day. His generosity and thoughtfulness is legendary in the area. Just last week, he gave me a Wonder Woman poster because he knows where my love is at. The sign on the FCBD table says there’s a limit of 4 but that’s a formality not enforced, even though they get significantly less. I was told to just take whatever I wished.
In this small area, getting a second comic book store (we have a third but he is where you go for those hard to find comics, that will definitely be a discussion for another day) was an absolute win however what struck me as beautiful today is how encouraged I was to check out Need A Hero Comics features by J&B Books. In this world where the market can be so competitive, the small town love and ability to share the crowd I saw was heart warming. I started the day with a geeky Christmas in May and ended my venture with Bob’s friendly smile and those tournaments I saw growing up, a fond memory still alive and well.