1. Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! Those are always a lot of fun. If you don't know the routine: You can stop by any participating comic book store (Seattle has quite a few of them) and pick up some comics, for the low cost of absolutely nothing. And tomorrow's free comic book day is a special one, because Seattle's newest comic book store will be opening for business on Capitol Hill for the very first time at 10 am. Yesterday, I stopped by Phoenix Comics for a quick chat with owner Nick Nazar. The space, located right next to Dick's on Broadway, is going to need a lot of work to be ready to open tomorrow morning, but it's starting to come together; there's a new coat of paint on the walls and the carpet was just about set when I visited. The back room is stuffed full of boxes of board games, role playing games, and dice.
Nazar says that a big shipment of comics were delayed and won't be in the store by the time the store opens, but all the Free Comic Book Day titles are already onhand. The space, which Nazar says will be about 50% games and 50% comics (including monthly comics and trade paperbacks from all the major comics publishers and some local presses, too), will also have some comfy seating and tables in the back for people to try out games. Phoenix Comics will be open from 11am to midnight Mondays through Fridays, and 10 am to 9 pm on Saturdays. Nazar says the store will be closed on Sundays "for now." It's a tough business climate for comics shops, but Nazar has a great location and experience with these kinds of operations; he worked for Texas comics chain Dragon's Lair for years before moving to Seattle. Nazar is working on the Phoenix Comics website—after a year of planning, the location came together so quickly that the last two weeks have been a blur of activity—but for now Twitter is the best way to keep in touch with the store.
2. And after you've visited a few local comics shops, you should stop by Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery tomorrow night, where young comics sensation Dash Shaw will be showing a short film and debuting his brand-new book, New School. I just got a copy of New School in the mail the other day, and it's a big, beautiful book; certainly Shaw's most ambitious work yet. (I haven't been able to sit down and give it the time it deserves yet—it's dense like a novel, and not the sort of comic you can plow through in an afternoon.) It should be a great cap on a beautiful Free Comic Book Day.