The full racks of free comics at Rubber Chicken Comics, before the crowds! (Photo courtesy of Jay Pillarella

The full racks of free comics at Rubber Chicken Comics, before the crowds! (Photo courtesy of Jay Pillarella)


Being a huge comic book/strip fan all my life, I’ve always tried to attend Free Comic Book Day – an event that happens in Comic Shops across the globe every the first Saturday in May for the last 12 years. This year was extra special though because it was the first one where I did a store appearance as a comic book creator.

Jay Pillarella owner of Rubber Chicken Comics in Bellingham, MA generously invited me to join in on his festivities this year. And what festivities he had! His Free Comic Book Day celebration has become a mini comic convention with artists, face-painting, and a multitude of costumed folks setting up inside and outside of his store!

The fan turnout was incredible, with lines quickly forming just to reach the racks full of free comic books! But as the morning progressed those full racks were quickly emptied by lines of eager readers. The fan makeup was great to see too, male and female of all ages, happy and very enthusiastic about celebrating the day. Some even came dressed as their favorite characters!

I got to meet lots of nice people, parents and their children‚ many who bought copies of The Graveyard Gang comic book. Those who did not still had nice things to say, one mother in particular said (as I recall) while looking through an issue, ‘What a cool book you’ve made and this is something that your family – your kids and grandkids(!) ‚ will have this forever!’ A nice sentiment. Most were surprised to find out they had a comic book creator living in their vicinity! I even saw some folks I know from the commuter rail I take to Boston (Hi Jen!), during that ride is where I do most of  the drawing for my comic!

Some more folks I met:

New fan of The Graveyard Gang, Al Mega came in with his family. Al has his own comic book endeavor called Comic Crusaders. Check out his Facebook page where he’s always posting great comic art – ComicCrusaders

I shared a table with an amazing local artist Norman Lee. Norman, a super nice guy, is an inker currently working for Marvel Comics and had worked on a slew of comics for DC, Darkhorse and many other companies. He inks with pen and brush and I got to see some of his originals up close and his detail work is amazing! It’s no wonder that he’s kept busy by Marvel! Check out his art at Comic Art House

I met comic creator John Yuskaitis at last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con and he had a table at Rubber Chicken Comics on FCBD as well. John’s comic is called BOOTS AND PUP which is an all-ages comic about 2 alien pals. It was great to see John again and take shop about being an indie, all-ages comic creator. Check out his work at BOOTS AND PUP

And of course Jay and his crew were great to talk to, a super nice bunch!

The crowds were so huge that by early afternoon the racks were cleaned out of comics! Jay even resorted to using some of his back stock to keep them filled as people kept coming! What a great day for Comic Books!

And as if the day couldn’t get better, that evening I got this email from a nine-year-old fan:

Dear Mr. Rich,

I bought your comic at Rubber Chicken Comics today at Free Comic Book Day and you signed it for me. I like your book, and my favorite character is Lope the Wolf Kid.

I have a question for you:

Is it easy to make comics and get them sold?







   (image which Nathan’s included)

Please write back (this is my Dad’s email address)

And this was my reply‚

Dear Nathan,

It was so nice to hear from you and thank you very much for your kind words about The Graveyard Gang!

As for your question, no it’s not easy, it takes a lot of hard work to make a comic book, especially by yourself. You have to practice drawing everyday. But if you use your imagination to think up interesting characters and exciting stories it is very fun to bring it all together and have a book you did all by yourself.

We are lucky that today in 2014 we can make a comic book and get it out online and in stores on our own. Before if you made a comic you would have to send it to a publisher (like Marvel Comics) and hope they would like it enough to print it. So right now I’m saving my money to pay to get the next 2 issues of The Graveyard Gang printed so I can sell them to fans and comic shops.

I’m glad to hear you like Lope too, he’s a special character (I like how you put Lope’s picture in your email). Issues #6-7 (which I’m working on now) is a 2 part story that’s going to explain a lot about Lope, like where he came from and where he lives now with his new family.

Thanks again for your interest,

Receiving that email from Nathan was a great way to end my first Free Comic Book Day appearance.

In closing, I want to thank Jay and his amazing friends so very much for including me and being so thoughtful and helpful. I want to thank all the great artists I met and talked shop with. I want to thank all the amazing fans who flooded the store with their excitement and enthusiasm for comic books. A special thanks to all the parents, like Nathan’s and his twin brother Graham’s dad Patrick, for bringing all the kids to the party, helping to foster a new generation of comic book readers.

Oh and one last thing, follow Nathan’s lead and drop me a line, whether it’s a comment on my posts on this site or drop me an email at, don’t be shy!