The scene is set and the excitement looms as Captain America and The Avengers face off against Cyclops’ X-Men…and there’s no place in Orange County, California, where the intensity be felt more than PHAT Collectibles! Mega Store in Anaheim.
Owner Jason Davis and his staff have packed the nearly 7,000 square foot nerd haven. “We were originally going to only give out free trades to the first 30 customers, but we appreciate that so many people showing up early, and we are going to take care of everyone,” Davis says enthusiastically. The line for the 8 p.m. launch began growing at three o’clock.
“We just learned of the launch yesterday and we thought, ‘Why not show up?’” grins Frank Gandara, a longtime customer of PHAT Collectibles.
The store fills up quickly. Collectors wind through through the aisles and out the front door as they eagerly wait to hold a copy of Avengers Vs. X-Men 14 hours before anyone one else in the county. About 30 percent of the clientele are women, and like their male counterparts, they are debating which of the two factions would win.
“Who doesn’t want to see The Avengers versus the X-Men? You’ve had all these crossovers throughout the years, and this time you want to see what is going to happen,” says Diana Kou, web administrator for Sisyphus Music.
When a customer purchases a book, they receive a ticket for free pizza and a soft drink, along with the opportunity to win raffle tickets for a life-sized Ewok. The store also gave away smaller prizes such as trading cards and signed books.
“Most of my friends are into X-Men or The Avengers. This way I get to say, ‘I got it before you,’” smirks Jamal Williams, a character host at the Disneyland resort.
Store Manager Lenny Sanhueza attempts to begin an X-Men/Avengers chant to see who supports what team, but the crowd is more focused on reaching the front of the line to read about their favorites.
“This series has Captain America in it, and that’s my favorite hero, so I had to get it,” says Gandara.
All the excitement for the AvX at PHAT Collectibles will lead up to a signing session with famed artist and writer Brian Buccellato, on April 14th at the Mega Store in Anaheim, and April 15th at the Huntington Beach Store.
For more information about the signings and Free Comic Book Day, visit PHAT Collectibles’ website at www.phatcollectibles.com.