As someone who just recently rediscovered his love for comics, I made it a point to have my first Free Comic Book Day experience this year. I’ve seen friends brag about their “hauls” and “loot” on social media in the past. I figured I should embark on a similar quest for experience’s sake. After all, who doesn’t like freebies?
And so 8 a.m. Saturday found me in a queue outside Megamall for Filbar’s FCBD.
Although I knew doors won’t be open until 10 a.m., I went there early because of the free Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 poster that was promised to the first 200 early birds. I enjoyed the movie immensely, so I thought a poster would be an awesome souvenir. The hell with the long wait, I told myself. I can manage. To kill boredom I read Richard Matheson’s Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories. Every now and then I’d pull my head up from my Kindle to watch people. There is something calming about watching a shopping mall stir to life on a fine weekend morning. It inspired introspection.
And then it was 10 a.m. and the doors were open, and what followed was something I didn’t expect: a mad dash inside the mall to… another line! And this one was longer — extending five floors up, I later learned. My mood crashed. Goodbye, Guardians of the Galaxy poster. I should’ve stayed in bed.
But I persisted. I woke up early and traveled far for this, so why give up? Eventually, Filbar’s gave each of us this “flash pass” that showed the time window at which we could go to the store to pick up our two free comics. This way, they said, we didn’t have to fall in line. Cool, I thought. Unfortunately, I was given the 2:51 p.m. to 3 p.m. time window, and by that time it was only a little over 11 a.m. Ugh. How did I handle the long hours in between? Let’s just say that if I don’t set foot in Megamall again in the next 12 months, I’d still be perfectly okay.
2:51 p.m. came and so was another heartache: the free comics I chose were not available. Something about a delay with Customs. Instead, they asked for my personal number and gave me a claim stub. They said they would contact me if the comics are already available for pick-up. I was crestfallen, to say the least. All the trouble for a freaking claim stub! To cheer myself up and in order not to go home empty-handed, I bought two of the discounted graphic novels that littered the store.
And yes, I also bought a Guardians of the Galaxy poster.
By 3:10 p.m. I was out of Megamall and was on my way home. I was tired, my feet hurt, and I was not really sure whether I should celebrate or not. Heck, I was not even sure if I’m going to do it again next year.