Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on Free Comics Book Day 2018.


From Pompeii Book One by Frank Santoro; possibly my favorite comics spread

Another year, another Free Comic Book Day. I’m mad at myself because I can’t seem to find the stack of free comics I cherry-picked at Copacetic Comics, and am beginning to have the suspicion that I left them at the shop while perusing the sweet deals Bill Boichel was offering. D’oh! There were some real good free comics this year. Jim Rugg’s Street Angel represented Image while D+Q offered an excerpt of Jason Lute’s recently finished Berlin, and I was looking forward to reading some Prince Valiant and Mickey Mouse strips. But if I’m being honest, the deals are really the reason I look forward to FCBD every year. The free comics are the icing on the cake.

Of course, going to Copacetic and talking to Bill is worth the trip in and of itself. When someone mentioned Prince Valiant, Bill pulled out some Valiant Sunday pages from some 1940’s newspaper. You can ask Bill most anything about comics and he probably he has an opinion on it. I like to throw clay pigeons and watch Bill shoot them out of the air.

booty from Copacetic Comics, from top to bottom, left to right; Jews and American Comics edited by Paul Buhle, Betsy and Me by Jack Cole, Gravity Flowers by Bill Boichel, Maggie and Hopey Color Special #1 by Jaime Hernandez, Penny Century #7 by Jaime Hernandez, and Storeyville by Frank Santoro

Like I said, I seem to have forgotten my FCBD comics, but as one does at Copacetic I found plenty of gold. I did mental math to budget my indulgence since I was bringing copies of my comic Poor Little Joanie for restock (they were nearly sold out) and figured they’d help supplement my comics buying. We talked about this we talked about that. Bill gave me some feedback on my latest secret project, and made me feel good about what I’m doing. I left the store with an amplified electric charge.

Then to Spirit, a really cool pizza place slash bar here in Pittsburgh where Juan Fernandez had a zine table set up as part of Spirit Walls 3 where local graffiti artists were collaborating on a mural on the restaurant’s outside wall facing the parking lot. I bought some comics from Juan’s table and he graciously offered me his chair while he sat on two stacked milk crates and we talked comics. Juan has a lot of ideas, so many ideas and so little time. I always learn something with Juan. He told me the Spanish comics magazine TBO was so popular, it became the generic word for comics in Spain, “tebeo.” Think how people in New Jersey call all soda, “coke.”

booty from Juan’s table, from top to bottom, left to right; For the Love of Peanuts! by Charles Schulz, Rust Belt #4 by Sean Knickerbocker, Eightball #7 by Dan Clowes, Pompeii Book One by Frank Santoro, and TBO #37 edited by Miguel Pellicer.

Eventually it started to rain so I helped him pack up, then we got a couple of slices at the bar and talked more comics and life. There was a pro wrestling match going on upstairs which would sound like claps of thunder occasionally. Then J. Malls, the great Pittsburgh DJ, was getting warmed up for Title Town. The bartender told us that it’s a real popular show where Pittsburghers gather and form lines around the block to get down. Juan and I however, needed to get to Schenley Park to catch the end of Pittonkatonk Brass BBQ where we saw What Cheer Brigade and Keleta and Super Yamba Band. Both bands were like snake charmers and all the Pittsburghers crammed into Vietnam Veteran’s Pavilion moved together like a city possessed.

back “cover” illustration for Storeyville by Bill Boichel

I’m happy to be here in Pittsburgh. The city is gradually pulling me out of my shell and reversing some negative introverted tendencies one accumulates when you work from home. It helps that I hang out with a lot of cool cartoonists around here and they help get me out of the house in a way walking my dog can’t.

from Maggie and Hopey Color Special #1 by Jaime Hernandez


if you don’t know, now you know


Suzy and Cecil – 05-07-18 – by Gabriella Tito

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