Sunday, May 04, 2008

Reflections on Free Comic Book Day

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day throughout the land. From reading reports from all over the country, it sound like the day went quite well over all. I am happy to hear that, and will continue to scour the 'net for entries about it.

Free Comic Book Day in my town was a bit lowkey. My hubby and I went over to the westside branch of our local shop. We were fascinated to see our friend Corey was the only person in the entire shop. Sure it was 2 p.m. in the afternoon, but it was weird. Corey was the employee working there, and he was decked out in the obligatory FCBD shirt. He also had a long folding table which displayed the comics available. The store was ghostly quiet.

Corey said we were allowed to pick out two comics, so we perused our choices. Evidently our retailer had both the Gold and Silver offerings, though I didn't see every book offered there. We each picked out two- I got the X-Men book and the Broken Trinity prelude and we also received an Iron Man Heroclix, which Corey was told to hand out at his discretion.

From our conversation, the store had been busy in spurts, but it never really got intense. Folks would bring in their kids, or would simply come in alone and grab their selections. While we were there, a woman and her kids came in, picked out their books, and left. Corey offered pleasant greetings, and made sure the kids got Heroclix, but that was the extent of it. They left right afterwards.

There was no mention of the Iron Man movie made, nor were there any comic book specials or coupons. It was completely done without emotion or incentive. I was gravely disappointed, but not at all surprised.

The one thing I will mention is that our local library participated in the event and had more success. They advertised on their reader board and made sure that every child that came in got a book. There were also balloons.

I am a realist. I know that my retailer is the only game in town and that the alternative is what we have went to. Online ordering is a salvation for folks with no other options, or little option. I didn't expect them to bring out the ponies or whatever, but a bit of effort would have been nice.

Last night, I couldn't fall readily asleep, so I went to Comic Book Resources and looked at their live blogging site about the FCBD event and that just upset me more. Many retailers put out the whole enchilada. Atomic Comics reunited the entire Image Comics founders group, for God's sake. Why couldn't my retailer at least give out coupons or at least tie into the movie?

For the record, go check out CBR's reporting that I linked above. It gives insight into how the event could and should be done. I was very impressed at how inventive and excited other retailers got and how hard they worked.

The last remark I have about FCBD in my town is this: Iron Man was only playing on ONE SCREEN in my town. I have no chance of seeing it unless I camp out. I will not be able to see it for at least two weeks now. What would have been helpful is if my local retailer and the chain of three theatres in my town could have figured out that the damn movie needed to be on at least two screens and promoted with some cross pollination. Obviously that didn't happen.

So now I sit here, dreaming about living in a town that promotes the day, or at least traveling to either Portland or Seattle for next year's event. Maybe I will make a weekend out of it. Then at least I won't feel disappointed or disgusted.

How did your local day go?


doc said...

hey this is doc from the itunes podcast: Heroes of Science Fiction and Fantasy, here is an example. Episode 23 features an interview with Joe Field Founder of Free Comic Book Day. Joe talks about what his store Flying Color Comics has planned, the history of Free Comic Book Day, Fantastic Four 286, meeting and later working for Stan Lee, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comic Retail Award. Mr. Field does the prep. necessary for success. website voicemail 1-206-333-1297

Lisa said...

Sorry your FCBD wasn't too exciting. I sure didn't have that problem. We had a busy FCBD & weekend overall. Check out my blog for the wrap-up. FCBD, a convention and the Iron Man movie all jammed into two days. WHEW!!

Carl said...

Welp, I got up early and took my girls to our shop, Read More Comics in Brandon, Florida. Bob Layton, Iron Man artist and writer was there, signing away to a good-sized crowd. Our dealer, Scott, had pizza, chips, cookies and all kinds of drinks, soda, fruit and water. And he has never skimped on the FCBD books, he all of them, in the 'new books' rack, top to bottom. The girls got the ones they wanted and I got a bunch too. He also had 50 cents back issues under a tent outside (it got hot later in the afternoon, so that got to be like work), 1/2 assorted graphic novels and inside, recent back issue 1/2 off. And the new minion Johnny (poor guy) was in a Spiderman suit by the road, waving to the folks with a FCBD sign. It got up to probably 90 something on the sidewalk so they hosed him down a couple of times. I also bought some back issues of The Spirit and got caught up to the last issue, some 50 cent comics and got the Iron Man Heroclix. Later, local artists Justin Peterson (Wildguard) and Javier Lugo (Frank NG) followed Bob and did free sketches for the customers. I had a great day, actually helped some people find some books and my girls enjoyed the comics, the pizza and snacks. Then I took them home (got too hot for them) and my bride told me I could come back if I wanted, since she was watching The Derby. So, I hung out, talked comics for hours, helped more people and later, got our anniversary supper at Appleebee's. And while we ate, we watched our first date movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. So, it was one of the best FCBD I've had...