After seeing an Iron Man matinee at the cinemas Saturday, my fiancee and I headed downtown. She planned to pop back into the housewares store that’s one of three commercial venues at which we’ve registered for the wedding, and I was headed to my local comic-book shop. It was Saturday, May 3rd, the seventh annual Free Comic Book Day. I’ve always felt a bit guilty about attending the event, to be honest. It’s designed to reach new customers (or at least I feel it should be), and I kind of feel like I’m in the way. On the other hand, I support the business every week, so why shouldn’t I avail myself of a handful of free comics?
As I pulled my car up to a parking spot right across the street, I was struck by how dark the store seemed. And empty. Emily pointed out there was a sign in the window… Free Comic Book Day — at least at Strange Adventures in downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada — had been postponed for a week.
You see, our area had been hit by significant flooding last week. While the street itself wasn’t flooded, water was seeping into nearby buildings, which meant power to a few blocks had to be shut down. And Strange Adventures was located just on the edge of that dark zone.
Manager Derek Nichols updated customers on the situation on the Strange Adventures website:
“While the flood waters didn’t get closer than a block to the store, we’ve had water in our basement,” he wrote.
He elaborated and updated me by e-mail.
“I had water in the basement, 8 to 9 inches at the peak. We pumped for three days,” he wrote. “Power was off from Thursday at 2-ish ’til Sunday at 6. The problem was not so much water in the basement but that I have the electrical stuff for the building in my part, and the water was getting realllllll close to some of it.”
Still, I’m pleased to learn that they didn’t give up too quickly. He and another staff member were around and doled out a few free comics to people on the street.
“The day was spent out on the sidewalk giving away a comic to the passersby and making sure they knew the real event would be on May 10th … We did though get comics (DC Universe #0 and Marvel Adventures Iron Man) into peoples’ hands who were around,” he said.
“It wasn’t super busy today downtown — after Thursday and the throngs of flood tourists — people have heeded the advice to just stay away from downtown. With power off to over half of downtown, and all major parking lots flooded, there wasn’t a lot of reason to come down.”
I hope plenty of people still turn out for the event this Saturday. In one some way, the delay could be of benefit to Strange Adventures, as it will be the only shop that had copies of the two new Iron Man titles — Invincible Iron Man by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca, and Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas by Jon Favreau and Adi Granov — available for sale to its Free Comic Book Day attendees, whose interest may be piqued by the already popular and successful movie.