I’ve been going to Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) at local comic shops every year since it began about 10 years ago. After my weekend at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH for FCBD 2013, I can now confirm that…
NO ONE DOES FREE COMIC BOOK DAY LIKE JETPACK COMICS DOES FREE COMIC BOOK DAY !!!
Ralph and his entire crew at Jetpack Comics are the best in the world at what they do…and what they do is quite amazing. For one day a year, Ralph turns this small NH town (with a population of 30K) into the place where everyone wants to hang out. It’s the center of the comic book universe and that’s a well-deserved title. You haven’t experienced FCBD until you’ve experienced how Jetpack Comics does FCBD.
I’m not sure really what else to say other than Ralph gave me the honor of spending the entire day at the signing table with Kevin Eastman and Fiona (his amazing assistant). Kevin signed for 5 1/2 hours straight with no break. He signed everything…a Turtles Thermos, t-shirts (while being worn), TMNT #1, Gobbledygook #1 (and this one wasn’t even mine)…he signed everything. Most notable, though, was that I watched Kevin personally interact with each one of his fans. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. He talked with them, he took pictures with them, he signed their shirts, he joked with them, and he signed their stuff (and when I say signed, I mean he made a turtle head sketch with signature on nearly everything). He made them feel special…as if every one of them was one of his friends. He did all this without one single break in 5 1/2 hours.
As you can imagine, though, Kevin’s personal interaction with people and the time he takes with each of them results in a very long and slow-moving line.
However, this line and the resulting long wait for Kevin’s fans provided, perhaps, the most incredible thing I got to witness the entire weekend…Kevin’s fans didn’t care. My station at Kevin’s table meant that I personally got to meet and chat with every single person that was in line to meet with Kevin. As we got into the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th and finally the 6th hours of the line, these fans were weary (for sure) but not annoyed in the slightest. They were excited to meet with Kevin. They knew that they’d get the same Kevin experience in hour 6 that the fans in hour 1 got.
Then, after 6 hours, the line ended. There were no more fans. This amazing event was coming to a close. But then…the call was made for all the FCBD volunteers to meet and spend time with Kevin. Many of the volunteers came to meet with Kevin and get a few items signed and some pictures
taken…and then it was my turn. I can’t find the words for this part of my experience so I’ll let the pictures I’ve posted provide you the rest of the details…a truly amazing Free Comic Book Day @ Jetpack Comics w/ Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The first time I’ve ever met Kevin in over 25 years of TMNT collecting…it won’t be the last.
Thank you Ralph, Fiona, Kevin, Peter, Steve, and the countless others (volunteers, fans, EVERYONE) whose names are too numerous to list but whose generosity, kindness, and hospitality this weekend have forever branded this weekend as one I’ll remember forever. A truly unforgettable experience !!