Free Comic Book Day: A Tale of Two Stores
StormWatch Comics - Berlin, NJ
I arrived just about five minutes after opening at 11:00 Saturday morning. A giant "Free Comic Book Day" poster covered each window and the door. Being a bright sunny day, I couldn't even tell if they were open at first. I opened the door to a jingling bell. I hadn't been in here in a few years, but it looked the same; dark, cramped, boxes of books and action figures stacked on the counter, posters covering all the walls, some Japanimation DVD running in the background.
"Free Comic Book day??? Am I first???"
"Yes it is and yes you are. You get a choice of three in the displays there, but since you're first, I'll let you take five. Plus everyone can help themselves to the Dollar Bin as well."
Three??? Five??? I had only prepared to take one, and I still couldn't decide between "Dead @ 17" and "Buzzboy"
I ended up dragging off "Dead @ 17", "BuzzBoy", "Free Scott Pilgrim", "Superman / Batman #1" and the "Star Wars / Conan" flip book. I passed on the dollar bin. Once I started in, I wouldn't be out for hours, but I had things to do.
I felt guilty about peeling out of there without paying for anything, so I browsed a bit. The owner / manager guy was very helpful and even offered to order The Tick for me. I declined but did assure him I would return another day.
I walked out and realized I had forgotten to get the Simpsons book.
No problem I thought, I'll get it at ...
Hall of Heroes - Voorhees, NJ
The "mall" comic book store, bright and open with comics, action figures, DVDs, T-shirts, everything. But no "Free Comic Book Day" display, only a small flyer taped to the glass.
"Where are the 'Free Comic Book Day' books?" I asked.
"Behind the counter. You get one. Would you like ..." and he rattled off all the titles I had NO interest in, in that condescending tone that would make any kid think that these were the only books that mattered. Suppose I had come in with my daughter and she REALLY REALLY wanted "Donald Duck" or "Owly: Breaking the Ice" or "Amelia Rules?" We'd be out of luck. I took the Simpsons book and split.
Epilogue: Mariel is keeping the Simpsons book for herself
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