Matt Flint draws a character on Saturday August 14th at a “Free Comic Book Day” event in Oneonta. (Kevin Limiti / AllOtsego.com)

By Kevin Limiti • Special for www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Free Comic Book Day has been a tradition for 20 years and Secret Comix Cave continues to honor it through its annual gathering.

Entering the secret cave from the comics is like walking through a dark and grimy dungeon. There’s a dimly lit hallway where a cardboard cutout of a superhero greets guests. Once inside, the amount of comics, action figures, manga, and more is enough to make any geek so inclined to search for the secret cave happy.

Free Comic Book Day is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, but due to the pandemic the date has been postponed to Saturday, August 14. At the store, two artists were invited to showcase their work and attract fans.

Mike Travaag said he had never showcased his art before, but was invited by store owner Gary Bedenham to set a table for his art, which included detailed drawings of Spawn, the hellish creation of Todd McFarlane.

Travaag, who works at Cleinman Performance Partners, said the reason his art is so detailed is because it draws inspiration from other extremely detail-oriented artists, including McFarlane and Greg Capullo.

“This is my first show,” Travaag said. “I’m doing this just for fun. It’s a hobby.

Matt Flint of Syracuse said he takes a lot of inspiration from cyberpunk, including creating a
character who is a “handyman cat girl”.

“I love cyberpunk, I love steam punk, I love the aesthetic of both,” Flint said. He said he particularly liked the coloring of cyberpunk stories.

“Everything I learned, I was self-taught,” said Flint, who had learned to draw digitally on his own when his art teacher gave him a copy of Photoshop, and said it was was the future.

“I thank her every day for that,” Flint said. “She knew where I was going. She knew before I knew it.

At the store, a deal offered anyone who spent $ 20 the chance to spin a wheel for a free giveaway, which included a duck dressed as various characters or candy or a cartoon bag.

A customer said he was only there to purchase a set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.

There was also a raffle that gave everyone who came the chance to win a giant Stan Lee hardcover book and a Marvel 80th anniversary postcard book.

Since it was Free Comic Day, anyone could purchase comic book titles including Batman, Spiderman, and Star Wars. Bedenham, between cashing in from various people, highlighted the success of Free Comic Day.

“Everyone’s shopping,” he said. “I am very busy.”

Jason Slocum, who was helping Bedenham, said the day was a big tradition. “It’s a good way to introduce people to (comics),” said Slocum, who works at Charlotte Valley Central School. “It’s a good way to get young children to read. “