Free Comic Book Day on Saturday was an immensely successful event which saw hundreds of signings, thousands of comics given away and untold happy faces on people getting their free comic books. It was great.

So, of course, we’re going to report on the two news-of-the-weird crimes that took place during the event.


In Portland, Maine, a drunken man from Westbrook assaulted a Ghostbuster and a Stormtrooper as they stood in line to get into Coast City Comics, on Congress Street. Police were forced to use a stun gun on Adam Barnes, 31, who threw the Stormtrooper to the ground and punched the Ghostbuster.

Wood, (the stormtrooper) who works at the information technology department at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, said he was having fun at Free Comic Book Day before the assault.

“People were stopping and kids were dressed up in little superhero costumes,” said Wood.

Wood said someone grabbed him suddenly from behind. At first he thought it was a friend, but then the assailant started to choke him.

“My helmet fell off and he did get one good punch in,” said Wood.

He said he was then thrown to the ground.

Despite the extremely rare assault, and feel bad vibe, Wood said it would not deter him from participating in future FCBD galas.


MEANWHILE, on the other side of the nation, in Los Angeles, the line for the Golden Apple FCBD celebration was interrupted by a car crash and chase, as a yellow Jeep driven by a disheveled woman in a wig—but not in costume—peeled onto Melrose Avenues, pursued by several police cars. The vehicle stopped in front of the Golden Apple and the woman dashed for the door of the store as customers watched. Owner Ryan Liebowitz kept the door shut from the inside, where Geoff Johns was signing. Police cars and a chopper eventually converged on the woman, who was taken to the ground.

The stunned crowd hailed Liebowitz’s quick thinking. “I sort of instinctively held the door because it looked like a crazy person,” Liebowitz told the LA Times. “I said: Nobody can want free comic books that bad. There has to be a problem here,” adding later “Crazy things happen, but they can’t stop Free Comic Book Day. Everything is under control.”


  1. The Toronto Star had a small story of someone trying to skip the 30 minutes line to get free comics. The guy grabbed a Walking Dead issue and then tried to quickly get away but was stopped by someone (not confirmed but sounded like an employe of the store) and a Ghostbuster. After exchange of insults where the line jumper yelled at the Ghostbuster to “Go catch a ghost!” he dropped his comic and left.

  2. In LA, too much media exposure didn’t make this a happy FREE COMIC BOOK DAY for me (it was all over radio and local news stations that morning as I was heading out the door at 7:30AM) Stores ran out of books too early. I got up early to head down to Hi-De-Ho in Santa Monica – only to have to stand outside waiting for the store to open ONE hour past it’s scheduled opening time which was 10:00 AM only to be told that there was a limit of 6 comics per person.

    This store never had limits before. AND if you wanted the entire gamut of this year’s models – 53 books in all, you had to drop at least a hundred bucks on store merchandise to get the entire set.

    Well, I didn’t have a hundred bucks, so from there I headed over to Meltdown- in West Hollywood and they were completely out of free comics by the time I got there (12:30PM) except for a giant pile of The Walking Dead.

    I think I got over to Golden Apple after that whole police chase melee happened (I did not hear one word uttered about it in the line I was standing in) They had just as big a selection – but the ones I really wanted such as Mouseguard, the Prince Valiant and Buck Rogers reprints were already gone. I can’t fathom why they had Scott Shaw! signing the Bongo book when he had nothing to do with it. @ Aaron, I read on Ryan’s newsletter, that the Wonder Woman cosplayer who you see in that photo was very effective at keeping the line back as the police made their arrest of the carjacking suspect. However, I grew weary of the long lines at Golden Apple and headed back to the valley and visited three more stores – DJ’s Universal Comics – (ditto, their supply was already gone too) and Blastoff Comics in North Hollywood where I had better luck scoring five other free books including a old 1966 Superboy issue of Adventure Comics.

    Last stop: Earth 2 in Sherman Oaks where the most oddest thing I EVER ENCOUNTERED at a Free Comic Book Day occured- a stranger tapped me on the back while I was looking through the racks for those special Image and Valiant dollar issues and said behind me, ‘Hey dude, Free Comic Book Day” only to turn around to find actor Shia LaBeouf handing me these two crudely drawn paperback books that he self produced printed off an Imac. Wanted to tell him after I checked in my free books and paid for my purchases that he should be displaying these books over at APE, but the employee told me he just passed out his books and drove off.

    I got in six stores by 5 PM which I imagine was when most stores would have been pulling them off the racks or when the festivities were winding down.

    So some good things, some bad. Scoring only 16 out of 53 titles of the OFFICIAL FREE COMIC BOOK DAY titles was the worst ratio that I ever had of collecting. I’m going to have to change my route strategy for next year. I guess the only way you can can score an entire collection of FREE COMIC BOOK DAY editions these days is to get them off of craigslist or E-bay – WHICH is stupid, since they mainly just samplers anyway- they’re no better than hitting the demos at a COSTCO’s or a Sam’s Club.



  3. The drunken man who was arrested for assault was heard slurring ‘Imperial pig!!’, then mumbling something incoherent about avenging the spirits of fallen Rebel soldiers.

    The Ghostbuster heard the last part, and assumed the drunk was possessed by one, so he stepped in.

    I may or may not have made that up.

  4. Limits on the number of free comics you can take are pretty common. My store was only allowing two to a person. But, you know, they were still FREE, so it’s hard to complain.

  5. Someone told me on facebook that Shia was at San Diego last summer doing the exact same thing- just sneaking up on back of people to hand them books.

    Evan – you’d be amazed at actually what a $5 Los Angeles Metro/ bus pass can do.


  6. My local shops had a limit of 4 or 5 free comics. I think this is more than fair. Why should someone expect to walk in and grab 52 free comics? However, I could see allowances being made if you are a regular customer with an active pull list account; the store could slip you a few extra comics on behalf of ‘profit appreciation’.

    As for the fighting and lawbreaking, I can see this unfortunate situation giving some stores an idea for next year: costumed baddies and costumed heroes having a ‘fight’ in the street in front of the store every hour or so.

  7. I just posted this on my facebook after reading the comments here, I wanted to share what i wrote..
    Ok so I just wanted to vent for a few, I know not all of my friends here are Comic Book fans such as I am but bear with me here, I just read an article in USA Today talking about two incidents at the free comic book day on Sat May 4th for those of you who do not know this is one day a year when there are about 53 free comic books given out by different publishers through local comic book shops to try and draw in new readers and give existing readers a little spiff…First of all let me say that out of the thousands of events held across the US I’m sure there were more than just two incidents, however only having two reported on is huge! I applaud he fact that this is the case. Second, after reading the comments posted about the incidents I have to say it was a little disappointing to read people complaining about not being able to get all 53 free comics and stores having limits on how many comics you could get…Look this is an event to draw in new readers to what to me has always been a love of reading great stories by talented writers and artists, to complain that you were only able to get 23 out of the 53 free comics offered is really sad. I took my six week old son with me not because I thought he would understand what was going on, but because I wanted to share my love of this great medium that has brought me such joy over the years. Trish, My fiancée, went with me as well and I can honestly say that we had a blast!! We actually drove about an hour and a half from our home to visit two shops, one that I visit whenever I can, 7th Inning Stretch Comics in Dunnellon Fl. ( by the way Jim is an awesome guy who never fails to greet me and shake my hand every time I come in), and Yancey Street Comics in New Port Richey Fl. Both places were extremely busy, (good for them), and I actually got to meet several pros at Yancey St. who’s work I have admired for years. Ron Garney was nice enough to gift my son a great piece of art and even personalize it with an awesome, ” for Tristan, welcome to the world” message I was also able to pick up a Greg Land Print and a couple of signed Comics by Chuck Dixon! Needless o say these will all be added to Tristan’s collection. OK enough with my rant, just remember folks, no matter what a child is given to read, be it a bible, a comic book or a little golden book the path that is opened to that child by reading is an ever growing road to adventure and knowledge so please help them find that path however possible.

  8. I visited 3 stores, each had a limit – one six issues, two five. Each store also ran a sale to encourage sampling. I’m a firm believer in buying comics on FCBD since the comics aren’t free for the store. Spent more than I would have on any one visit and was happy to do so. Bought issues that were recommended on my favorite podcasts and the Bechko/Hardman Planet of the Apes trades which I enjoyed then gave to a non comic buyer ape fan.

    FCBD is about spreading the love of comics and I saw plenty of it at these stores.

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