Part of being a mom is taking my kids out to do awesome things. On top of being a mom, I also homeschool my kids, which means turning everyday things into learning experiences. This year for Free Comic Book Day, we printed out the list of all the local comic books stores that were participating, and then we literally MAPPED the route we would take and the order that we would visit them all in. Our goal was 11 comic book stores total! Along the way, I would have the girls check out the addresses and see where we were on the printed out maps. A paper map? Such an odd concept since the ease of GPS on the phone!
The day before Free Comic Book Day, we got everyone's costumes ready to go. Finding out we were missing some pieces of one, my middle daughter decided to scrap the zombie ballerina and go as Rey from Star Wars to complement her sister's Obi-Wan costume. This meant starting from scratch at 9pm..... This is the first time that she has ever wanted to cosplay as anything other than a princess, so I was not about to discourage her selecting such a strong female lead to cosplay. I found some cheese cloth and white leggings that I dyed with food coloring, some ace bandages, and some old bags from other trade shows and bags from Subway. I found some scrap pleather materials that I had from previous projects, and I used this along with the strap from the trade show bag, some floral wire, tape, and a sonic screwdriver from a previous MegaCon costume.... attached to a broom handle to make Rey's staff. 2AM and a hot glue gun burn on my hand later, and a Rey costume was born!
Our first stop of the day was Smash Comics and Games at the Sanford Mall. Smash's list of artist included: George Perez, Nathan Szerdy, Monica Ravenwolf, Graven Ravenwolf, Josh Bauer, Gambit Melendez, Shawn Surface, The Sticker Dork, Crafty Dork, Phantasmagoria (with special guest Vera Vermillion), Troupe Atiya-Razi and Phoenicia! If you haven't been to their comic book store, it is one of our favorites because they always know how to host an event, they always have great artists, and amazing cosplayers. Just take a look for yourself!
Our next stop was right across the street at Comic Central . The store is small, but I'm so glad that we stopped in because we got to save the store from the dark clutches of Kylo Ren! A quick stop a Coliseum of Comics in Altemonte afterwards is where we were able to get some pick me up lessons from Master Yoda, which is always good after a rough battle against the dark side.
Acme Superstore's Danger Room has always been a pit stop of ours. They host great events, and have a fabulous space. They had a great troupe of cosplayers available to take photos with, as well as some vendors and artists!
A Comic Shop had my favorite marketing ploy. Instead of having a table with the free comics on them, they had them displayed on the shelves among the comics for sale. You had to literally walk through the store and find them all. This shop may seem small, but they have an AWESOME bar in the back full of space for gaming and events. Make sure to check out The Geek Easy and all the amazing events they have going on! From here we hit a store that had run out of comics and had nothing cool going on, decided to skip a couple stores that we had never been to before, and head on to the next big one.
Stop 7 on our list was Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall. This location had a large area outside the store with some great artists set up. We also had a great time with all the amazing cosplayers, again running into Ivy as Wonder Woman. If you have not seen this version of her Wonder Woman costume, you have to check it out, in detail. The construction is PHENOMENAL! If you aren't familiar with her professional cosplay work, you have to check out her FB as well as MC Illusion Photography who takes all her photos. If you are a cosplayer and need professional photos taken, Michael is your man. Also, do you see the Captain America cosplay by Jusnel Gonzalez? He does all that leatherwork himself. Brassroots Leather is his company. I see this man at every steampunk event, and cosplaying all sorts of amazing things. He has created some one of a kind unique pieces for bands such as The Cog is Dead, as well as head to toe cosplays such as this one. This man's talents make my jaw drop to the floor every single time I cross paths with him. One day I hope I can properly photograph his work, or better yet, be able to afford some pieces for myself!!!
Our last stop of the day was Gods & Monsters, which is our go-to all time favorite comic book shop. We adore the atmosphere, the employees, the crazy soda collection, the art gallery, and all the free board games. By the time we arrived, most of the people were packing up, or had already left. We at least got to visit with one of my favorite local artists, Vaughn Belak, whom I own several prints from and have goals of one day owning an original. As for cosplays we found King Arthur.... so I'd consider it a total win. It was late, but we still had a blast. Before our hour ride home, I let the girls LARP it up in the courtyard outside of G&M.... check out my artist Instagram (Della_Morte_Arts) for video of those shananagains!
Total stops: 9 out of 11! Thanks to all the stores, artists, and cosplayers for another great Free Comic Book Day - From my family to yours!