Saturday, May 06, 2006

Free Comic Book Day Report!

So today was "Free Comic Book Day". If you don’t know what that means, it’s a relatively new promotion that the industry has been doing for the last 3 years, I think. Pretty much allot of the mayor companies make specific comics that they give away for "free" as a promotion in order to score new readers.

Most of the comics are original stories. Image, Bongo and Archie come to mind that produce actual original work that you can only find in the comic book on that day. Other companies usually give a preview of upcoming storylines. This year most of the local creators joined the band wagon and also gave away free comics to the public in hopes of expanding their readership. But the question is does this really help?

Allot of folks that were there were the regulars hoping to score collectible books for the future or trying to get a heads up for upcoming comics. To that extent I suppose it would help that a free comic might spark their interest in expanding their reading material. But unfortunately the rule of one comic of all of the selection per customer kind of hampered that. I can imagine allot of them chose the X-men free book or if we're lucky the Image one, but those are the books that they always buy. Isn’t the point of free comic book day to put a comic in the hands of someone who normally doesn’t follow that book?

I can understand why most stores did this because they want to ration out the books to last all through the day. After all those books are not exactly free to the retailer, since they still have to pay some fee’s. But personally I think that if you do run out of the x-men books at least you can push some of the local books on them. The point is to push for the markets to cross over in order to expand your sales.

The store did attract people who normally don’t step foot in it. But will they return the next day when the books aren’t free? Now that is the question. Frankly I don’t think so, those folks once again chose Archie or Donald Duck, their common perception of comics. And hell that would be fine but I don’t really see Archie as a book they have to get every Wednesday. If the comic store is near a place they have their lunch hour, or close the movies then yeah I could see an occasional sale but its not going to have a strong of a hook.

Another thing that I thought was a mistake is that certain books had stories that weren’t exactly a good way for new readers to jump on too. Some were just stories for the faithful fans that had been following the books for years. The Invincible story comes to mind when I think of this dilemma. I don’t exactly get too angry at these companies for dropping the ball, its incredibly hard for one to write a story that will satisfy your core audience and yet be reader friendly for someone who is not familiar with ones work.

But still it was nice to see Metro Comics packed full of people. It reminded me of the infamous day of the Death of Superman. Also it was good to see local comics get some nice exposure and appreciation for their hard work. Not to mention it was a great opportunity for me to hand out flyers promoting the podcast.

Also seeing actual children in the comic store always puts a smile to my face, with the core audience of comic fans being 15-30 seeing kids buying comics reminds me of those yesterdays when my then 10 year old self would freak out over the latest issue of The Hulk or Superman. Then again comics back then were only $1.00 and the thought of spending more than $20 dollars was just too much for my ten year old mind to comprehend. Talk about ironic...


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