Comic Bug brings the Free Comic Day party ‘back home’
by David Mendez
This year’s Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 6, is a homecoming of sorts for the crew of The Comic Bug.
Over the past two years, owner Mike Wellman and his crew have split their energy between their Manhattan Beach store, 1807 Manhattan Beach Blvd., and their relatively-new Culver City location, 4267 Overland Ave.
“Things have been good here, but not as great as they used to be,” Wellman admitted. Customers understood: You could pick up books in Manhattan Beach, but the party was in Culver City — after all, they had to get the new shop entrenched.
“But we wouldn’t have had that [shop] if it wasn’t for here, so we’re bringing it back this year,” and they’re bringing the big guns, Wellman said.
Rick Remender, the creative mind behind “Fear Agent,” “Uncanny X-Force” and “Low” among many, many other comic books, is the headliner for the Manhattan Beach’s edition of The Comic Bug’s Free Comic Book Weekend.
To mark the occasion, the Comic Bug will give away variant-edition covers of Remender’s “Seven to Eternity” issue 1, with art done by artist Andrew Robinson, artist on the acclaimed “The Fifth Beatle” graphic novel. Both will be on hand to hang out and sign autographs, Wellman said.
More than 40 creators will be in attendance in Manhattan Beach, including members of the Sketchy Bug and Lady Bug groups, creator fellowships that make The Comic Bug their home base for weekly art and writing sessions. The Lady Bugs will celebrate their latest release, “The Man-thology,” a cheeky, gender-bent collection of stories sending up sexist storytelling tropes.
The next day, May 7, will have the good times rolling northward to Culver City, where the day will be headlined by the duo of Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder, signing a variant cover of All-New Guardians of the Galaxy issue 1.
More than 15,000 comic books are around to be given out over the weekend, Wellman said. However, the big prize for many will be the chance to win one of 100 spots in a meet-and-greet with Stan Lee, the legendary co-creator of Spider Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, which will take place in August.
Wellman will also be participating at both locations as a creator, as he and artist Rafael Navarro will kick off a tour for their time-traveling fantasy-western series Guns A’ Blazin’, with proceeds going to a few favored charities.
But while Wellman is happy to share his news, he’s more excited for the South Bay to once again be the epicenter of Free Comic Book Day.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people who didn’t come to Culver City the last two years…there are a lot who only come a few times a year, for Free Comic days,” Wellman said. “I’m just excited. This is my home.” ER