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FCBD 2007: Atomic Comics

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Atomic Comics' tradition of making Free Comic Book Day the biggest event of the year continues on the North side at both the Phoenix and Paradise Valley locations.

At the Paradise Valley location, hundreds of people lined up to have their pictures taken with Spider-Man while creators like Josh Blaylock, Francisco Herrera, and John Layman met with fans, signed their books, and sketched to raise money for the HERO Initiative. Local talents Raven Gregory and Jonnie Allen also joined in on the fun.

Meanwhile, visitors at the Phoenix store were greeted by Atomic Comics mascot Nuke, and the store played host to the entire creative team behind the smash-hit sold-out Death Dealer series: Joshua Ortega, Nat Jones, and Jay Fotos.

Fortunately, Atomic Comics set aside several of the sold-out #1 issues and had several second prints on hand for those who missed out when the book hit stands weeks ago. "We're seeing a lot of people who bought the book and have been looking forward to having it signed, but a lot of new readers are coming through, too, which is always exciting," said Ortega.

"I had one guy who came in and picked up Stormwatch PHD and Union Jack that he had never read before. It's nice to meet some new readers who may not be familiar with your work, and hopefully turn them on to it," agreed writer Christo Gage. Local favorite Tony Parker also shared the table and sketched for fans.

The Mesa Superstore was literally bursting at the seams--except, not literally since there were no seams, and even if there were, the crowd within the store would still be safely contained. Spider-Man once again greeted throngs of fans, as hundreds of people waited in a line that wove snake-like through the entire back issue section, and stretched to the new release wall.

"With my new book [Philly] coming out, this was a great chance to show off the book, meet new people, sketch for the fans, and help out HERO," said up-and-coming artst Jim Hanna.

Finally, our Chandler location, the last stop on Spider-man's schedule, eagerly anticipated the webslinger's arrival. While they waited, fans met with Mike Kunkel, Patrick Scherberger, Madame M, James Owen, and Jeremy Owen, who happily signed and sketched for a healthy line of excited visitors.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Nat Jones, Jay Fotos, and Joshua Ortega. Josh Blaylock, Francisco Herrera, and John Layman chat and draw.

At last, Spider-man swung in to find a huge crowd, many of whom had just gotten out of a showing of Spider-Man 3 at the Harkins Theatre across the concourse. Children of all ages excitedly swarmed him and he happily posed for photos and signed comics.

"We just got done watching the movie, and finding Spider-man waiting just near the theater door was a huge thrill for my kids," said John Anderson.

Click to enlarge     Click to enlarge

For more pictures of Atomic Comics' Free Comic Book Day 2007 fest, as well as a report of its two FCBD Eve events, hop on over to www.atomiccomics.com.

The Free Comic Book Day site is at www.freecomicbookday.com.

For more information on The HERO Initiative, go to www.heroinitiative.org.

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