So, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day.
I like the idea of the day, though after experiencing it as an employee of a comic book store, as well as a guest artist, I am not sure if it’s always executed well. There are some amazing stores that pull off incredible events…retailers who love and believe in comics. But those retailers who love comics, and actually know how to market and promote and execute an event like Free Comic Book Day are truly few and far between.
I have a huge soft spot for the day, though. The first FCBD was a very fun day for me. It was the first time I did a guest signing at a comic book store and it happened about a year after Uptown Girl started. So, this was about nine years ago.
I was invited to Jimmy Jams Comics and Games by the manager Mark, who, along with his wife Susan have become good friends of mine over the past decade. At the time, there were two locations, one in Winona and one in Rochester which has since closed.
Here’s me and my friend David Tea in front of the store. I cannot tell you how much David helped in getting Uptown Girl from a small idea in my brain to the printed page. Simply put, if it were not for David, Uptown Girl wouldn’t exist. Peeking off to the side is Mark.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only guest. I had met Albert Nguyen a few months prior who was doing a comic called ‘The Painted War’. At the time, I thought he was the best cartoonist int he Twin Cities. I have lost contact with him over the years, but the last I heard he was in art school. I’m sure he’s graduated by now.
It was a fun day. I drew a lot of Spider-Man, since the first movie had just opened. Mark really knew how to make the event fun. His enthusiasm for comics is very contagious.
Also along for the day was Tom Nguyen, a super nice and talented guy who worked on everything from Batman to Final Crisis. He also has written many books about art and comics.
I did FCBD signings at Jimmy Jams for about three years. Soon Brian Bastian started to come along, as well as Danno one time. Zach Miller was there once, too. I have a soft spot for FCBD because it was a day I looked forward to for months. I learned a lot about talking to people about Uptown Girl, being nice, meeting colleagues and flexing my creative muscles.
I am not much for looking back, but once I start to reminisce, it’s kind of hard to stop. Since the official release of “All This Time”, a book celebrating ten years of Uptown Girl is only a few weeks away, I imagine these strolls down memory lane will be coming a little more frequently. Sorry.