Free Comic Book Day was on Saturday, May 4th this year; it’s always fun when one nerd holiday coincides with Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth Be With You”), another popular nerd holiday.
FCBD is hands-down one of my favorite days of the year, and I have no doubt that this is largely due to the efforts of my “local,” Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, Ohio.
C&J’s does everything well, not just FCBD, and so naturally the shop has a resident cat. (More shops and businesses should have resident cats. I know I would feel much better about going to my bank if they had a cat.)
Winston is perhaps not a natural shop cat. He’s not unfriendly, or mean. He’s perfectly happy to let you pet him, but he has no qualms about letting you know in no uncertain terms when he wants to be left alone.
Winston wears a collar connected to an Invisible Fence-type system to make sure he stays in the store. Even so, a few years ago, he tried to run out the front door, and as a result, lost half his tail.
Undaunted, Winston tried again, a couple of weeks later, this time more successfully. He was found after a couple of days. No one knows how he spent those 48 hours, but I always thought John Dudas (the “John” in “Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop”) had the perfect answer: “Fighting crime as ‘The Manx!'”
I’ve been sketching versions of this comic ever since.
I saw Winston at around 2AM during Carol & John’s post-midnight FCBD 2019 event. (C&J’s also hosts a family-friendly Saturday morning event for FCBD; more about that in the next post.) The crowds had thinned out, but Winston still looked appalled as he lounged on the floor near the front counter. I bent down and gave him exactly 1-1/2 scritches between his ears before he turned around, opened his mouth halfway in a silent half-snarl, and then stomped off.
Catering to the demands of an all-admiring public is exhausting.