Not only does one have to persevere through the suffocating heat and humidity, you will need solid biceps and core strength to carry those free comic books from venue to venue.
For the last 5 years, Red Dot Diva has been going around the island's stores and hunting down comic books on FCBD. Since last year, she decided to target only two participating stores.
TARGET #1 - Kinokuniya Takashimaya
The night before, being typically kiasu, Red Dot Diva, Max and Jas had strategized to be at the Kinokuniya collection line early in the morning.
Jas was the first to arrive at slightly before 8 AM. She took a spot behind two groups of people. By the time Red Dot Diva arrived at 8:15 AM, there were about 25 people in the queue.
Punctually at 9 AM, a few Kinokuniya staff members came to hand each person her queue number, a small pack of Pikachu snacks, a bottle of water and a pamphlet where one could redeem breakfast at SGD 5 from PAUL's restaurant located just one floor down.
Since you are assured of a FCBD pack once you got a queue number, you could get your croissant/ pain au chocolate and coffee/ tea from PAUL's while waiting for the store to open. Red Dot Diva chose the pain au chocolate, which was very yummy. PAUL's sure did not stinge on the the chocolate filling. Mmmmmm....
When the store opened at 10 AM, everyone headed straight to line up at Crossroads, where the store activities were held. The free comic books were available only for members, but you could quickly sign up for a card before redeeming your pack of comic books.
Red Dot Diva has to give Kinokuniya credit for getting crowd control to a very Japanesque systematic manner. It was so super fuss-free! Red Dot Diva probably only spent 10 minutes tops in line before she got her comic books, which included the following titles.
There were 2 cool FCBD T-shirt designs for sale but she did not buy any.
A store-wide sale was going on, with a lucky draw for those who have purchased at least SGD 80 worth of items. The lucky draw prizes were pretty awesome.
Max decided to shop for his books to meet the minimum spend and tried his luck for the draw.
He won a copy of "My Milk Toof"" by Inhae Lee!
With that done, it was time to head to the next stop.
TARGET #2 - GnB Comics
The train ride to Bugis Station wasn't the most comfortable due to a stuffy train car, and that did not help Red Dot Diva deal with with heat after when the group had to take a short walk to Rochor Centre.
Before heading up to GnB, Red Dot Diva could see that there was a fairly long line snaking round the side of the block for the Public Q. It was about 10 minutes to 11 AM.
On the other side was the line for the Private Sale, specially for GnB's members. Members were allowed entry into the shop to buy discounted items and grab many more free comics.
Red Dot Diva, Jas and Max decided to wait at the Public Q together but it did not take long before the store was officially open for FCBD. The lines got moving and it was all very efficiently managed as the goodies were placed neatly on a table for collection. As long as there were stocks available, each person got a cute BB-8 tote bag, a Star Wars print of her choice, a "The Force Awakens" folder, a Star Wars mousepad and 2 free comics. How cool was that??!!
Due to the extreme weather, Red Dot Diva headed inside the air-conditioned store for a much needed breather. A small crowd, consisting of mainly guys, was inside but it wasn't as crazy as last year's. Most probably because there was no special comic book artist guest and there was no food catered for those who came to the shop.
Red Dot Diva got a text from pre-FCBD contest winner Layla Senin. She was already in the Public Q with her friends. As a contest winner, she was allowed entry into the shop like the rest of GnB's members. Big Thanks to Bernard from GnB!
There was a small prize ceremony for Layla, and then Red Dot Diva accompanied her while she collected her free comics.
Each member or guest was allowed to choose 20 books from the titles offered, plus a same pack of Star Wars goodies as the Public Q, with the exception of having all 3 prints - Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and General Leia.
Red Dot Diva thought the best thing about being at GnB for FCBD was being able to catch up with the fellow geeks whom she hasn't met in awhile, like Melvin, Wern and these two very bicepstous Global Beards guys - Danger Gene Whitlock and Wayne Rée!
No wonder it was SOOOO HOT at GnB Comics! Red Dot Diva was not able to cool down until lunch time!
A big thank you to Gene who found the elusive Rey action figure from Changi City Point for Red Dot Diva. Such a REY of Sunshine on Free Comic Book Day!
The weather was getting too unbearable for Red Dot Diva, so she went straight home after having lunch at Bugis Junction Mall. She knew some folks carried on to visit the Doujin Market at Suntec, and Jason from Come See, Toys returned to Kinokuniya to catch the guest panels and 501st Legion's store appearance. Check out his photos here!
It was only much later that Red Dot Diva realized she had forgotten to pick up "Boom! Studio's Summer Blast" at GnB. No Mouseguard this year. Darnit. But she was glad to have nabbed Dark Horses' "Serenity"/ "Hellboy"/ "Aliens" and Image Comics' "Oddly Normal" by Otis Frampton.
She had extra copies for some titles and has put them aside for geek bro Jedd, who is currently away in Europe for a family vacation.
As a whole, this year's FCBD was very subdued. Perhaps because fewer stores were participating this time round, or maybe because the line management system was efficient to the max.
However, even though there were no special comic book guests doing signings or meet and greet sessions (unlike in the USA), local fans here are very spoiled by the two main participating stores - Kinokuniya and GnB Comics. Just look at the goodies and number of free comics given away!
It is a great way to get a friend acquainted with reading comic books, and for a comic book fan to try out new titles.
With GnB Comics moving out from Rochor Centre this year, who knows what will happen to FCBD 2017. Hopefully, they will find a new home soon and FCBD will be a bigger, better and even more more fun occasion for the local geeks!