OR FCBD: this is a worldwide event held on the first Saturday of May every year in every comic book store or book store that carries comics in Australia and overseas. This Saturday, I ventured out to my very first comic book day at Books Kinokuniya in Sydney.
Naturally, it was the first blistering cold day of Sydney’s Autumn, and CityRail’s incessant trackwork made getting into Town Hall a ridiculously long experience. But, by the time I got there, the line at the store had run out of space, and before long, it wove its way down the
If I could use one word to describe the day and the people, it would be: wonderous. Fandom – in general; try mentioning the word and see the looks you receive – gets a bad rap. It’s the bad that almost always seems to make it into the news and public consciousness, but for that day, everyone around me was a fan – from Captain America and the Winter Soldier to a Minion to some amazing characters from manga, whose names I couldn’t quite get (forgive me!) to Star Trek and Star Wars characters. The skill and care take with the costumes was amazing and for a good long time I walked around the store just looking around, afraid I was going to miss someone or something.
In fact, for most of that day I and everyone else there wandered around the store, wrapped up in this cocoon of excitement and glee at everyone who’d come there to enjoy the free comics (duh!), the killer cosplay and the chance to talk to some of their favourite artists. And here’s the thing, without days like this I would never have realised how many talented artists we have in Australia. AND we now have The Ledger Awards, for excellence in Australian comics.
So, first free comics – yes, there was a line and yes it wove its way through the shelves, but goodness, you didn’t really feel how long it was. People were too busy chatting about the comics they were going to ask for, or the artists they wanted to see AND marvelling at the costumes that others were wearing. I was tempted to ask a Dad and his little girl for a pic – she wore a pink superhero cape, with her initial on it.
Until that day, I have to say, I never realised just how immense the store was, but that said, it was far more fun watching the people around me – getting excited about manga, while standing next to someone dressed as a manga character. And singing in Japanese at one point.
The line in Artists Alley barely moved, but no one really seemed to mind. It’s mesmerising watching the artists work and see random lines on a piece of paper become a picture or a sketch of Spock.
Later, that night the store had an afterparty at Luna Park. I couldn’t help but marvel at the cosplay parade – yes, it seems strange, but I can’t fathom the footy “fandom” – but the level of care and creativity on display on these handmade costumes was divine.
To anyone walking past any comic book store, the crowd that day must have looked like a mishmash of their favourite movies come to life, and probably more than a little daunting. But, next year I hope you give it a try and for one day just leave real life outside. Come inside and be a fan.