On the Avenue: Free comics, blue milk & Star Wars

by Tommy Tucker
Posted 5/15/24

One of Chestnut Hill's newest businesses teamed up with one of its more established favorites for "May the Fourth be with you."

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On the Avenue: Free comics, blue milk & Star Wars


One of Chestnut Hill's newest businesses teamed up with one of its more established favorites on Saturday when Multiverse and Baker Street Bread Co. offered free comics and "blue milk" to all their customers.

They were celebrating Free Comic Book Day, which falls on the first Saturday in May, coinciding this year with Star Wars Day, known as "May the Fourth be with you." The annual celebration by the comic book industry is designed to attract new readers to independent comic book stores across the country.

"We love having events in the store. Our vision has always been to have a community hub, not just a transactional space for sales," Sara Hughes, co-owner of Multiverse, told the Local. "We have programmed a number of different types of events in the store over the last six months since we've been open, from music performances to artist talks."

Customers lined up throughout the day to browse the selection of free comics, and to buy – the store was offering a 20% discount on all books and comics that day. People of all ages packed into the one-room store, which had comics and books on display from end to end.

After leaving the store, comic books in hand, customers crossed the street to pick up their free "blue milk" from Baker Street Bread Co., which was also selling Grogu (Baby Yoda) themed bread. Characters drink blue milk in the “Star Wars” movies and shows, with the drink first appearing in "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" in 1977. The "blue milk" drink was made of lemonade, blue food coloring and sweetened condensed milk.

"They (Multiverse store owners Hughes and her husband Gralin Hughes Jr.) are regular customers at Baker Street and we're really excited about their store, and we wanted to find a way to collaborate with them on what is a very big day for them," said Gregg Ciprioni, operations manager at Baker Street Bread Co.

One customer, Bilal Shell, attended the event with his daughter, picking up a few comics and their free drink.

"We just grabbed some of the few comics they had to offer. We got an 'Encanto' comic, we got 'Unico: Awakening' and we got 'Spidey and His Amazing Friends'," Shell told the Local. "I just Googled May the Fourth be with you activities in Philly, and this popped up."

The event also featured Eric "The Smoke" Moran, a popular cosplayer and Philly native, dressed up as Boba Fett from the original Star Wars trilogy. Moran suited up in his "Mandalorian" armor to greet and take pictures with customers in the early afternoon.

"I know the owners and everything so they asked me if I could make an appearance here. I did last year for them and everything else as Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Moran told the Local. "I'm able to cosplay all these characters I grew up on that I always idolized."

Moran said that Boba Fett is one of his favorite characters to cosplay, in part because of his resemblance to Temuera Morrison, the actor who played the character in "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett."

Gralin Hughes, who grew up in Germantown, said he is a huge “Star Wars” fan and thought the celebration was an opportunity to collaborate with the other businesses on Germantown Avenue.

"’Star Wars’ I think is a very sort of universally loved story," he said. "It's one of those things that draws in all ages and the kids, adults, everybody."

Sarah and Gralin Hughes opened Multiverse in October last year, and describe the store as a "curated nerd space." They wanted to create a space where people felt welcome to engage in fandom, regardless of their background or comic book knowledge.

"We want to be the opposite of Comic Book Guy (a character from "The Simpsons") in this instance, of constantly putting people down or making them feel bad for not knowing things about different storylines," Sarah said. "Free Comic Book Day is very much in that spirit where it welcomes people to have a no-stakes investment."