“You want a free ‘Watchmen’ poster?” asks Gordo as he sits in front a glass display case with about 15 stacks of different comic books at Hi De Ho Comics & Books with Pictures on Santa Monica Boulevard, a couple blocks away from 3rd Street Promenade. “Wanna free holiday issue?” he later asks a teenage boy eyeing the free comics.
The store participated in the international Free Comic Book Day Saturday, May 2, and Hi De Ho Comics co-owner Bob Hennessy says there’s been a noticeable number of people coming in for the event. At the time of this blogger’s visit, there was a steady flow of 30 to 40 customers at any given time in the 2,300-square-foot store.
“Comic books are a subgenre of literature,” says the 60-year-old Hennessy, who co-owns the Santa Monica store with his 59-year-old brother, Mark. “There are some things that the medium does that other media can’t,” says Bob, sitting in the store’s back office. “It’s enchanting.”
Now more than ever, he says, great comic book writers and artists are emerging. More recently, there have been some great non-fiction graphic novels. “It really is good story-telling,” he says, adding that many of the best writers who earn a living elsewhere and stray from comics eventually return to the art form, “not because of the money,” but because they truly love the genre, says Hennessy.