July 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Free Comic Book Day

The Comic Bug in Culver City was all a-buzz Saturday with hundreds descending on the store and neighboring convention to mark Free Comic Book Day.

Spilling onto the sidewalk, comic book fans, both new and old, were given surprisingly much to do in a relatively small space.

The convention was held in the Culver City Teen Center, which is located a few doors down from the comic book storefront itself. Exhibiting at the convention were comic book creators, artists, publishers and memorabilia vendors as well as other businesses tied in some way to geek culture.

“It’s a great way to bring together fans, creators, and us, being a retailer,” said store owner Mike Wellman. Like many other attendees, Wellman was dressed to impress, in a full suit and tie decked out in colorful comic book onomatopoeias.

Locals of all ages and degrees of fandom were present at the event. Making the rounds through the convention was the robotic mascot of Disney’s Big Hero 6, which was popular with younger attendees. A green screen photo booth, where participants could choose a background to pose in front of, was being utilized by everyone from wide-eyed children to adults in professional cosplay outfits.

WonderCon, which is the Los Angeles-area version of the immensely popular San Diego Comic Con, was held in the Anaheim convention center a little over a month ago. Mirroring what happened to its sister convention, as WonderCon has grown in popularity every year, so have its lines and wait times. The convention is nonetheless a great chance to engage with a ton of fellow fans of whatever it is you may be a nerd about, but be prepared to wait to do so.

The Comic Bug’s convention was a markedly more low-key event, but gave Westside comic book fans a place to really get to know the other members of their community locally, and without insanely long wait times.

Despite its relatively small size, the event was brimming with talent. Over sixty writers and artists were present to sign, sketch and answer questions. Stan Lee even made an appearance!

“It’s a great opportunity to meet new, interesting creators,” Wellman said. Although not all of the creators present can boast Stan Lee’s level of success, it’s these smaller but equally passionate writers and artists who are going to be our generation’s Stan Lees.

Founded in 2002, Free Comic Book Day is held annually on the first Saturday in May. The holiday was created to capitalize on the growing success Hollywood superhero films, in hopes that free comic books would be the key ingredient to spark an interest in comic book culture in fans of these blockbuster films. With only two exceptions, the holiday has been held on a weekend coinciding with the release of a big superhero film. This year, the film was Captain America: Civil War. However, many longtime comic book fans are in attendance too, and likely make up the majority of those present at these events.

As comic book culture grows to unprecedented levels of grandeur, those who visited the convention center got to play part in a decidedly local affair, and were given a chance to mingle with like-minded fans and creators of some of their favorite fictional worlds. Oh, and in the spirit of the holiday, plenty of free comic books were handed out too!

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