Free Comic Book Day Highlights
By PJ Hultstrand
Many fans offered hearty phrases of, "May the 4th be with you," on Facebook, before their trek out to their favorite comic book shops on Saturday, the 4th of May for FCBD. What does this mean, you may ask? It stands for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, and just the idea that you didn't know leaves those who do know, with the tell-tale sign that you are not a geek.
Free Comic Book Day is the, "Christmas Eve for comic book stores in America". The proof of this is in the keen marketing plan by most of the comic book companies and their idea, that giving away product will yield prosperity for all. And it must be working because last year's sales for this holiday for the comic book industry yielded increases in sales, over the previous years.
John Jackson Miller, who tracks industry sales figures and estimates, said that sales of single-issue comic books were up nearly $60 million to $474.6 million in 2012, compared with $414 million in 2011 and $310.6 million in 2003. And Miller stated that sales of digital comics were an estimated $75 million in 2012 compared with about $25 million the year before. "It's definitely tripled," he said. "and the heartening thing to everyone in the business is that it happened alongside gains in print sales." *
Drue, owner of the Tempe, Arizona based comic book store, Ash Avenue Comics & Books, confirmed when asked how well he thought he was doing this year. Drue stated while smiling, "Last year was the best year I've ever had in sales for FCBD, and this year will be even better." And this optimism was met when there were still a few more hours in sales for Saturday.
Of course, the trick here is in the marketing, with advertising on the part of every comic book store all getting a focused eye on these artistic wonders on paper, if at least for that one day. According to the website, http://www.freecomicbookday.com, "Free Comic Book Day is administered by a panel representing all parts of the comic book industry: retailers, publishers, suppliers, and Diamond Comic Distributors. Each year, publishers apply to provide comic books at cost to retailers, who in turn give them away for free. Diamond handles marketing and logistics for the event, shipping comics to shops and handling marketing and PR for the event."
Free Comic Book Day is not just celebrated in the U.S., but is an international event. The first FCBD was in 2002 and with the way this industry is riding the limelight, we should see more great years for Free Comic Book Day.
* Quotes from www.today.com; Rick Schindler, article - "Free Comic Book Day set to unleash heroes, zombies, talking mice"
Here are a few of our readers and Facebook friends who gave us their thoughts on the experience of this year's Free Comic Book Day:
From Jess Hurley
I went to Jesse James Comics on Friday night when they started theirs. It was the most epic of all the events and I really have nothing against the other stores. I am a creator, but a comic fan as well. Jesse had a $1.00 sale on most of his shop so I bought a total of 9 comics that way. As for the free offers, you got to pick 3 of the standard variety FREE COMIC BOOK DAY comics, but then 7 additional comics from another room. These were all back issues, awesome stuff to be had. I was looking forward to getting THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ Issue 1 and was able to do that. The rest of the visits were all about getting out and hanging out with my 13 year old son. Saturday we picked up 2 comics for him at Samurai Comics (I didn't buy anything there). We picked up 7 comics at All About Comics paid full price for 2 which allowed us to get 5 free. They also had a great atmosphere and a great selection. Drawn To Comics had a special where you could go into the store and pick up a comic for free, but had to go to other stores in the area to get most of what they were offering. It was a huge line and generally a pretty negative experience, but we did grab an issue of Superman there. I didn't dislike the store, but thought it was a really odd way to handle things. We then checked out Dr. Fantasies and Logan picked up a comic there. Great shop - great atmosphere. I didn't buy anything there, but will be going back now that I am aware it's there. I went back to Jesse James on Saturday night and on Sunday and bought 1 comic each time. I was there the second and third time mostly to get to know some of the creators here in the valley because my first con is coming up this month at Phoenix Comicon. Lots of great guys, had a good time and it helped out with some of my decision making when it comes to what tables I will be going to and what comics I will be buying while at the Con if I get some spare time.
From Mark Greenawalt
I had an artist table at Samurai Comics in Phoenix. 3TV was there and CBS showed up later. Free comics included Walking Dead, Shadow, and my choice was Red Sonja. It was very crowded the whole time I was there from 7am till about 4pm. Nancy Kartoon was on site doing Facepainting and a grilled cheese truck was there. I had the pulled pork barbecue and macaroni and cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. Delicious! A good time was had by all!!!
From Julia Stevenson
My son went to Gotham and got a Bogo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. He also bought four or five comics while there...
Pictures from; Ken St. Andre - http://atroll.wordpress.com/category/free-comic-books-day/
Some information found on website: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/984