Tag Archives: a comic shop

AnySoldier Donates Comic Books to any Soldier

Strenuous occupations, family issues, and other uncontrollable situations hinder people’s lives every day. Oftentimes, individuals need a momentary means of escape. In this day of technology, people all over the world can utilize that moment of escape by tapping into the latest video and music streaming services, different video game platforms, or simply dropping your head into a book the old-fashioned way, or, picking up your tablet.

IMG_9233Comic books are adventurous escapes for many people. Most stories take place in grandiose worlds featuring heroes and villains with a distinctive morality— “right and wrong,” “light and dark,” “good vs. evil.” These moral lines skew in the real world. The political world could be considered one of the main moral battlegrounds. With different media conglomerates promoting their own political beliefs, there is no telling which political viewpoint is right or wrong anymore. After the 9-11 tragedy, America’s stance on military deployment overseas was a much-debated topic. In the end, the only individuals who didn’t have a choice in the matter were the American troops. They fight for our freedom, no matter what.

However, in a theater of war, some soldiers—like civilians—find themselves asking whether their position in the conflict is “right” or unjustified. In these times, soldiers need an escape from their dilemmas. In 2003, a military family regularly sent their son care packages to Iraq. He then asked them to send more for troops who never received mail. The packages contained all sorts of items and entertainment. This family’s campaign to make sure all troops received mail turned into the launch of AnySoldier, a website dedicated to making sure all American soldiers receive care packages.

In 2008, Aaron Haaland, owner of A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida, partnered with AnySoldier’s Operation Sequential Art campaign to send troops free comic books for their enjoyment. This allows people to bring in comics they no longer read, or possibly comics taking up too much space, and then donate it to the charity. Since 2004, AnySoldier has donated comic books and other care packages to over 15,500 soldiers around the globe.

Dan Brown, a local comic book retailer explains, “[this escape from their life as a soldier] can definitely boost their moral. One of my friends specifically said it was considered a reminder of what [the troops] are fighting for.” For more information in regards to AnySolider, visit their website. If you would like to donate comic books or any other materials to U.S. troops across the globe, AnySoldier has a list of service members who state their unit’s specific needs.

The men and women who fight for America’s freedom deserve civilian support. Help make a difference. Donate.

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Free Comic Book Day 2017

Since 2002, Free Comic Book Day sweeps the globe on the first Saturday each May. Comic book fans, new and old, flock to their favorite comic book shops to pick up what popular publishers offer their readers at no cost. Usually, there is a big-budget comic book film hitting theaters either the Friday before or the Friday (or Thursday) following FCBD. Comic book legend Jim Valentino was the creator who originally suggested that FCBD needed to coincide with whatever popular comic book movie was about to get released. Who would have thought that fifteen years later, Hollywood would still be pumping out comic book films—let alone publishers pumping out free books for the masses.

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A reminder to customers inside A Comic Shop in Orlando during the FCBD festivities. (PHOTO/Matt de Simone)

One common misconception is that not all the comics are free. Individuals new to the comic book scene often take FCBD at its word. However, shops make sure to let the customers know that only the books marked with the FCBD logo on the cover are the books available to customers free of charge. A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida is no different. Shop owner Aaron Haaland posts signs in the shop’s displays reminding new customers that certain books are not free, despite similar covers or featured characters.

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A Comic Shop retailer, Shaun Schapira, displays a few of the free comics offered by publishers. (PHOTO/Matt de Simone)

FCBD isn’t just about the fans. It’s also a big day for comic book retailers. One could look at FCBD as a comic retailer’s “Black Friday.” Not only are the free comics offered by the publishers, the retailers offer their current stock at discount prices. Shaun Schapira, a retailer at A Comic Shop, looks forward to FCBD each year. “It’s a great way for publishers and retailers to get together to bring in new readers and help make comic books as big as they should be,” Schapira says, “Publishers [can] showcase what they’re [currently] putting out and what’s coming [soon].”

FCBD not only acts as a way for publishers to get new eyes on their comics, but also is a way for comic book fans to use the day as way to come together and enjoy the fellowship of the comic book community. In shops all over the world, people can commune and listen to others discuss their personal feelings on the books that are currently on the shelves, or even about the newest comic book films on the minds of many readers. If there was ever a day where the comic book community’s “peanut gallery” reconvenes, it’s Free Comic Book Day.

For more information about comic book shops, please visit Comic Shop Locator to find the nearest retailers.

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Orlando’s Comic “Strip”

For comic book enthusiasts, one of the best vacation destinations in the world becomes the land of “so much to do and so little time.” Orlando, Florida is home to, not only internationally known retailers, but home to over a dozen comic book shops all within 30-45 minutes of one another (depending on I-4 traffic). Utilize Google Maps and see that there are definitive “loops” natives and visitors can take in and around Orlando.

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The loop for a proposed  “comic shop crawl.” (Photo/Google Maps)

The “fastest” loop in the city could start at the northern most point and work in a “J-configuration” all the way down to Universal Orlando. Or, make a “loopy J” and end up inside a mall that has an upstairs movie theatre. Look at it this way: each of these comic shops are a 15-minute drive from one another. There aren’t many places on Earth where you have as many comic book shops in such close vicinity. Unless this article is about “Planet Comic Books.” Unfortunately, this little piece of information is not because a planet of only comic book shops could only exist inside of Ready Player One. 

Orlando is really close, though.

The “definitive loop” begins in the city of Winter Park, which is one of Hulk’s incredible leaps away from Orlando-proper. A Comic Shop is located at 114 S Semoran Blvd. This narrow retailer provides its customers with the most recent issues of comics and memorabilia. It’s located across the street from Full Sail University and proves to be an excellent retailer for the school’s on-campus students and faculty.

About three miles south is Sci-Fi City. This store focuses more on tabletop gaming and all of the different games’ components. The store also provides customers with new comics as well as a heavy stock of back issues and out-of-print graphic novels.

Geographically, this is where the adventurist must make a crucial decision. Either go back a little way from which the adventurer came, or, head toward downtown Orlando. The latter could possibly be a bit monotonous, or a better word: monopolized. For the sake of making the tightest loop possible, the adventurer takes the road back from which he or she came.

Another two-mile trek from Sci-Fi City rests Hudson’s Comics, located at 200 N Semoran Blvd in Orlando. Here, customers will find new and old comics and toys. This store also specializes in the sale of rare statues from companies like Sideshow Collectibles and Bowen Designs. The store’s best feature is its inventory of Funko Pop vinyl figurines.

Next, a few miles back up Florida State Road 40 is Orlando Fashion Square. Inside is one of six locations for Coliseum of Comics in the central to southwestern region of Florida. (Hence: “monopolized.”) If you’re someone who reads the more recent comics and nothing years before, A Comic Shop is the choice retailer for new readers, and reader of weekly comics. “CoC” is for everyone else. It’s hard to argue that another store in this loop, or in the entire Central Florida area, has more to offer for comic book enthusiasts new and old.

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A wall inside Coliseum of Comics (Mall at Millenia) covered in hot-selling, classic comic books. (Photo/Matt de Simone)

Comics, games, models, toys, posters, and t-shirts are just a few of the items that Coliseum of Comics sells. The store inside of Fashion Square Mall features a gaming station in the rear corner of the shop of tabletop gamers. Resting on the tables are massive, intricately designed 3-D maps to give the gamers the most realistic scenarios as possible.

The CoC sitting a couple hundred yards from the Mall at Millenia specializes in their assortment of statues that range from varying degrees of height and detail (and price). This store also displays many classic back issues that are going up in price, or older, lesser-known books that have somehow found a way to climb back up in value—usually due to the book’s story or characters tied to the most recent comic book film.

This brings this loop to somewhat of a close. Orlando also features Living Dead Comics, Mike’s Comics, Epic Comics, Gods & Monsters, and the massive Acme Superstore in Longwood. A comic book fan could spend an entire day driving around Orlando and it’s small, neighboring communities visiting comic shop after comic shop. For comic book enthusiasts visiting Orlando for the first time, be sure to plan ahead. There are comics, shops, and diverse showrooms to be seen.

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Follow Matt de Simone on Twitter and be sure to check out his weekly podcast.

MattyLovesPodcast #61 with Aaron Haaland, owner of A Comic Shop

In the latest installment of MLP, Matty travels to A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida to talk to the store’s owner, Aaron Haaland. Usually, MattyLoves provides visitors with content that revolves around the topics of comic books and pro-wrestling. The blogs are mainly dedicated to comics, while episodes of MLP ebb and flow with whatever Matty’s currently wrapped up within.

Over the past year, Matty’s fascination with the sales of comics has increased. In the last ten years, Marvel and DC have presented comic book readers with an overwhelming number of reinventions. Some were successful, while others failed miserably.

 

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The sun sets behind A Comic Shop, located at 114 S Semoran Blvd in Winter Park, FL. (Photo/Matt de Simone)

How does this affect the retailer? Haaland is internationally known. He has a weekly video blog featured on a pop culture news site, Bleeding Cool. If anyone in Matty’s neck of the woods had a finger on the pulse of the comic book business, it’s Aaron Haaland.

 

From the success of DC Rebirth, to the confusion of Secret WarsMatty asks Haaland about the state of the comic book business for a retailer in 2017. The main question Matty wants answered is how retailers adapt to the relaunches in order to sell comic books to new reader. Also, what do you tell a longtime reader when a series with the same creative team relaunches with a new “#1” as opposed to simply continuing the ongoing series? It’s awesome that Haaland took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Matty and answer his questions. Enjoy this interview with the host of A Comic Show and owner of Matty’s favorite comic shop.

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A Comic Shop’s FB: https://www.facebook.com/AComicShop