May 5, 2018

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Rob's FCBD 2018 in Portland, OR Liveblog -Final Edition with Pictures


[Last year, I went to five stores for FCBD, and "live-blogged" about it (in quotes because there was some lag in time, as my priority was the stores and I was writing as I had time on the buses in-between). Here's this year's edition. This final version is edited to make more sense, as well as pictures and details, but most of it was written as I went along. I hope you enjoy! - Rob]


8:55 Introduction

Trying this again, though sometimes Blogger app is unreliable. [Today, it worked fine. Yay!]

As many know, Portland is an amazing place for comics. We have a ton of great comic shops! Last year, I visited 5 stores, sharing my impressions as I went. If all goes well, this post will do that again, and this time,  I am going to attempt to make it to SIX stores, because, well, why not?

My first shop is Cloud 9 Comics. This is a new store for me, I've never been there. Will report in on my findings soon.


9:10 to about 9:30 Cloud 9 Comics

I honestly expected a line, but was able to walk in. This is a smaller store, but makes good use of its space. Free comics were on the counter, and it looked like they had most of them, if not all. The limit was only 3, which I think is a little small. If someone could only make it there, they'd face hard choices. I like 5 better, personally. There was also no sign indicating the limit.

There were no guests at that time, but did have a guy making balloons for kids, who were extremely happy. Staff was friendly and checked in on each guest, but not in a rude way. They also engaged people who wanted to talk.

This store is designed more for direct market and single issue collectors, with a focus on the big three. They had some trades 50% off, all the rest were 25%, and singles had various discounts, along with 50 cent singles bins. For those who like singles and primarily mainstream books, this is a good fit and does a great job with the room they have.

Pickups: Bongo, 2000AD, Tick
Purchased: You Are Deadpool, Dead Letters trade, and Treehouse of Horror trade.
Recommended for: Direct Market and Single Issue fans.


10:00 to about 10:20 Excalibur Comics

I was so excited to see a ton of kids in line for comics! Yay! That's a huge part of this holiday.
Excalibur has a pretty solid system and are clear about a 5 comic limit. They have a few people drawing for kids, some pins, and divided the line to ensure kids weren't seeing non kid friendly books. They also asked adults to think about kids before grabbing all the all ages books. (That's hard to do because the best FCBD books are all ages, IMO.) I respected this, getting only Spongebob because it's not to be missed.

Very little sale books, which I still think is a missed opportunity, and the way the line works makes it hard to browse. However, their staff is really cool, they were offering recommendations for those who needed it, and I saw a lot of happy kids. So even if there was nothing for me, it was a big win.

Pickups: Spongebob, Dr Who, Harley, Shadowman, and Bob's Burgers (for Erica)
Purchases: none this year
Recommended for: Direct Market and Single Issue fans


11:00 to about 11:30 Books with Pictures

I love this shop to death. BWP and Floating World are my two main shops in town, and with respect to all the rest are both phenomenal and the first places I point people to when they need a shop.

As with last year, the set up was a very good one. A few greeters, a quick rundown of how today works, comics lined up along the new comic wall in bins, and a limit of 5, which are bagged and sealed so you can shop easily.

Boats! I mean Bellwoods! Eh, same thing!
I made my selections and headed straight to see my friend (and boat expert), adventure cartoonist Lucy Bellwood! She had her books, including the brand new 100 Demon Dialogues, which I picked up and can't wait to read. Anyone who struggles with doubts should grab it, too, as it's designed to help us share our struggles. Watching Lucy interact with people of all ages is so much fun, as her audience covers so many different people.

After the free comics, there was activities for kids and plenty of books featured, which is how I grabbed Scales and Scoundrels. No particular sales, but the FCBD bag offers a discount when you return to the store in May or June, a brilliant piece of marketing.

Here's an example of what I mean by how well they theme things at Books with Pictures. Behold! Anthologies!

Anthologies, many with a queer focus!
Pickups: Fantagraphics, DC Nation 0, Marvel Rising, Crush, and Star Wars Adventures
Purchases: Piskor's X-Men, Puerto Rico Benefit, Scales and Scoundrels, two Vault singles, Lucy's book, and a Lying Cat Pop, because I'm only human.
Recommended for: All Ages, Queer-focused books, Women-curated selection, Direct Market
Lying:


The walking part of trip is over, now to try and time the buses.


About 11:45 to 12:15 Floating World

And wow, was it busy! So happy to see a bunch of people in for the day. That's what you want on FCBD. I'm always excited when people are going to my other favorite shop in town, which really scratches my itch for indie comics between conventions and provides those who can't convent (Is that a word? I mean, yes, it's a different word, but can we make it work for this, too? Maybe?) with a dose of cool stuff that can't easily be found elsewhere.

This time the FCBD limit was 10 and I picked up pretty much everything I really wanted that wasn't on my must grab list, like sampling the Marvel offerings.

Floating World is a great shop for indies as well as established stuff, especially if, like me, you prefer trades. Their sales were really solid: 10% off new issues, 25% off new trades, and 50% off the clearance room.

I...kinda went a little silly in there.

The free comics were at the front of the store, clearly marked, thematically organized, and the limit nicely posted. They are a little more chill at this store than others, with less people offering help. But they had people posted at the entrance, explaining things and offering help. Plus, they know me well there (that's my pull bag shop) so no need to direct me. Except maybe to a budget, lol!

Pickups: The Marvel issues, CBLDF, Street Angel, Kodansha, Adventure Time, Sun Bakery 2 (exclusive to this store), and Starburns Presents
Purchases: A bunch, including Walt Simonson Visionaries 3 and 4,  an old Tini Howard jam, and an old Madman collection.
Recommended for: Indie fans primarily, also good manga selection and solid mainstream. Especially cool clearance section. And Direct Market, of course (as noted, this is my pull bag store)


12:40 to 1:00 Cosmic Monkey

Aaron Duran, of prose and comics
Yay! Got here just in time to see my friend Aaron Duran, of Lazarus and other comics. He was alongside several other creators, towards the end of their time at the store. Cosmic Monkey had set their creators up in shifts.

This year, the sidewalk sale was all single issues instead of small trades, which probably is a bigger draw. They also had t shirts on clearance and I couldn't resist. 

I picked up some more free comics, which had a limit of five. They had them on a table near the new singles, with featured trades at the front, as they did last year. Nothing new for me, unfortunately, till I saw Liz Prince's Coady and the Creepies, which I snagged.

Lots of kids again, which was awesome.

I really like the layout of this store, which I visit whenever I can. It's a great source of trades and new issues.

Pickups: Tank Girl, Barrier, My Hero Academia, First Second Sampler, Scout Comics Sampler
Purchases: cool cat/jla t-shirt, Coady and the Creepies
Recommended for: All Ages, Trade hounds, Direct Market, and little gifty things


1:30 to 1:45 Things from Another World on Broadway

I was disappointed I missed Gail Simone, but it was Gail or friends, and friends won out. I am sure I will see her at a con soon. Things had two tiers of free comics, all ages and not all ages, and I noticed they had the Maxwell's Demons reprint in the right spot despite the cover.

Things is a very mainstream oriented store so not as much for me. Their limit was 10, and they had signs and friendly people to discuss the limit and make suggestions. New this year, I think, was a place for highlighted volume 1s. From that, I snagged Wicked + Divine, which I read in digital and now want to own.

By this time, I was pretty tired so not a lot of notes. But very happy to see more kids and my horror boss, Dave, picking up his books.

Pickups: Howard Lovecraft, Disney Princesses, Maxwells Demons reissue, Transformers (on Mike and James's recommendation), Overstreet Guide just for the cover, Overwatch/Black Hammer, Pokemon, Riverdale, Aspen Sampler, Strangers in Paradise
Purchases: Wicked + Divine
Recommended for: Big Two and large indie (Image and Dark Horse), Direct Market, and collectibles

Final Thoughts:

I'm exhausted!

Seriously, all of the stores were great in their own way. Each different kind of comic fan can find their preference in Portland, and mine may not be the same as yours. We are so very blessed to have that ability here in Stumptown, and I couldn't be happier. I saw a lot of kids with a lot of comics and that warms my heart. Now I can't wait for next year...