Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is a worldwide event that happens on the first Saturday in May every year. The clue is in the name really, you turn up at a participating comic shop and you take away some free comics.
This year it was on May 4 and I took my 10 year old daughter for her first visit to Gosh! Comics in Soho, London. She has heard me speak of Gosh! before but it became clear that she had underestimated the wonderfulness of the place. "I love it here" she said at one point, looking like she wanted to move in - this from a child who generally dislikes shops of any kind.
She was given some comics in the bag you see in the photo and then became engrossed in creating her own comic (something about an evil snake, electricity and a girl) on the "Draw with the Artists" table leaving me free to browse the free comics laid out on benches - one of my best finds was a little comic book called Airship by David O'Connell and Sarah McIntyre. Along with the freebies I couldn't resist buying NoBrow 6 and my daughter bought a comic from the huge selection in the downstairs part of the shop.
I guess I am like most parents, I'd love to be able to share my interests with my daughter but don't want to push her too hard in any direction. I have to be particularly careful because she has learning difficulties and can easily become overwhelmed. The real delight for me during FCBD this year was not that we got free stuff, though that was great, but that for the first time my daughter showed a real interest in comics - both as creator and reader. I think the artists she drew with, the atmosphere of the day and of the shop all combined together to work a little bit of magic on her.
The delights of FCBD did not end on Saturday. I've just found out that my daughter has won a 5 week subscription to the wonderful Phoenix Comic - we are both very happy about this and I promise that I will wait my turn to read them.
Information about Free Comic Book Days can be found on www.freecomicbookday.com and you can find out more about Gosh! on their website www.goshlondon.com. Details about the Phoenix Comic are here www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk.