And how was YOUR Free Comic Book Day?

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Fans, pros, retailers — feel free to post your experiences and observations.

Preliminary reports are good, with many stores reporting sales UP from last year. Given the economy, this is pretty remarkable, so let’s share the good news!

Matt Price at Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, OK decided to live blog again:

11:45 a.m.: Response to the “Wolverine” film is mixed among the fans filtering in for FCBD. Most of them are excited about “Star Trek,” which has comic-book tie-ins from IDW but nothing specifically for Free Comic Book Day. Probably the fact that Colin Warde, who worked in Los Angeles on the Star Trek auctions, is appearing here this afternoon, is adding to the Star Trek buzz at this location.

Noon: While there has been rain here and there in the first two hours, so so far it doesn’t look like the rain is keeping anybody away. Still hasn’t been much of a letup of people since the doors opened at 10 a.m.

12:15 p.m.: I know a lot of Nerdage readers are also Sterling Gates fans — he’s signing today with Geoff Johns at Atomic Comics in Arizona. Atomic knows how to put on an event, so those guys should have quite a turnout.

1 p.m.: There hasn’t been much of an opportunity to catch a breath, here, but it’s been great to see so many people coming through and having fun.

Image above from Vinh-Luan Luu at More Fun Comics in Denton.

Comments

  1. Up by 39% from last year, according to the owner of the store that I was signing at yesterday. His third year in business, so still building up.

    /relurking

  2. Scott says:

    Was at Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware yesterday as an artist doing free sketches for kids. There were 7 artists there. I was busy for a while since I do mostly kids stuff that kids gravitate towards. They had a final count of about a 1,000 people there with the street festival that CBH organized around them. There was face painting, drawing lessons for the family to sit in on and draw at the local art gallery next door to CBH, and guys in official costumes walking around taking photos. Certainly a better set up and execution than most stores would ever do. Plus they advertise it on TV and in print and talk it up for months.

    The free comics that were available this year were really kind of weak and Marvel was the lamest of them all with their smaller-sized Wolverine comic. The DC Kids comic was also pretty lame in it’s construction. I could have designed a better book. Luckily CBH had copies of last years books to offer again such as the Marvel Adventures one with Spider-man, Iron Man and the Hulk!

    All in all, I did ok but it was less people than last year. CBH got about 1,500 people last year and it was a madhouse! This year was more laid back and I got breathing room, which was nice. You didn’t have to turn out a sketch every ten minutes. The spotty rain may have turned some away but there were tents all over to keep you dry.

    The people working for CBH (and the artists) got a nice lunch and owner Joe Murray took everyone out to dinner and picked up the tab for it all. Plus you got an envelope with cash in it and a thank card for coming. Class act, which is why I’ve done CBH’s FCBD appearance for 6 years now. Wish more stores would get off their ass and pitch comics more but most don’t want to spend the money and they laugh when I tell them that Murray advertises on TV for it. “He’s nuts. I’m not spending that kind of money,” they say. I’ve been asked to appear at other places and they are really lame in how they treat the talent who appears. They get 15 people in the store and call it a success.

    So what can you do? Out of ten stores, you get one or two who go the extra mile?? Is that it?

  3. I was surprised to see an Anime store in our area participating yet again in Free Comic Book Day, but the most shocking was the fact the comics given out were Adult in nature! Obviously 18+ books with full nudity and very mature scenes, and the kids were taking these books with little or no knowledge of what was in them. I didn’t even know until my 2 1/2 year old was looking through one and pointed out “boobies” on numerous pages! I wonder how many parents know what these Anime books contain?! Anime obviously does not belong with Free Comic Book Day!

  4. I don’t have any comic shops near me, so I resorted to buying a set of FCBD books off of eBay for $20. Kind of defeats the purpose!

  5. We did well over double what we did last year, and had a great turnout and a lot of happy customers. We had several folks signing in the store (Paul Maybury, Paul Benjamin, Alan J. Porter, Thom Zahler and Kristin Hogan) and even had a customer drop by who had designed and worn some amazing costumes, including a Superman and Deadpool.

    If our air conditioning hadn’t broken in the middle of the day, it would have been the perfect Free Comic Book Day. Even with that less-than-perfect disappointment, though, it was our best FCBD ever and possibly the best day in the store’s history.

    Wait, am I only supposed to say something bitchy or snarky about Free Comic Book Day here? :)

  6. Our FCBD in Denton went great this year. Lots of people getting comics, Vinh-Luan and the rest of the crew from Space-Gun Studios were there most of the afternoon and did a great job doing sketches for the fans. In spite of a 90 minute downpour in the middle of the day, the crowds were good and healthy. An excellent FCBD this year!

  7. Free Comic Book Day started at a 7:45 AM Saturday when our subscribers started showing up for the 8 AM Subscriber VIP Early Open. It didn’t take long for more people to start filing in. By 10am, Derrick West, Scott Shehi, Matt Goodall and David Odams were sketching for FCBD attendees. David Odams (drawntoperfect.deviantart.com) contributed to and put together the layout for our SpazDog Comics Sketchbook, so it’s no surprise that a lot of sketches left the store on the front of those sketchbooks. The crowds were constant. The patio was full of people taking advantage of our 10 cent comic sale. At 12 PM, the second shift of creators took over with 9 fresh creators taking their seats. Dave Baker and Eric Esquivel (www.modernmythologypress.com) raised the bar with their velvety table cover and suits. Brain and Kristy Miller (www.hifidesign.com) were selling copies of their essential guide to digital coloring, Hi-Fi Color for Comics and providing impromtu portfolio reviews for aspiring artists. Daniel Davis provided what is probably one of the coolest FCBD exclusive, 100 limited 4″x6″ prints of his webcomic, Monster Commute (www.monstercommute.com) featuring our store. Jeff Marriotte was signing copies of Presidential Material: Barack Obama. I was almost teary-eyed when he told me that he missed out on the Star Trek premiere to come to our FCBD. Such a great guy. Christian Vilaire and Scott Godlewski never put down their pens the whole time. Scott Godlewski (scottygod.deviantart.com) is one of the best kept secrets that Phoenix has. Things slowed down enough for us by 4 PM for us to have lunch. Although we saw some of our regulars, most of the people we saw today were people who had never been to our store and lived near the store. Great people. Free Comics. It doesn’t get better than this.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/spazdogcomics/

  8. I was one of the artists drawing at Strange Adventures’ hoopla in Halifax yesterday, and wrote/drew a comic about my experiences here: http://smuu.livejournal.com/649353.html

    It was all mad and I enjoyed the heck out of it, and loved the free food afterwards. Really, the best way for stores to get artists out for this thing is to offer free food. That always works with me.

  9. Nate Horn says:

    Jeff, what’s an “anime” book? I would guess you mean manga, but then you say “anime does not belong with free comic book day” so my guess is I don’t know what an anime book is. Manga books absolutely belong on Free Comic Book Day, but I don’t think any of the mainstream manga companies pay much attention to the American comic book world. Kids love Naruto, though….

    I didn’t talk to the guys at my LCS yet, so I’m very curious as to how they did. In years past, they’ve had nothing good to say about it, but in light of numerous people saying it was their best sales day yet, I’m hoping it went well for them.

    Is the Scott above Scott Wegener? The Atomic Robo comic was the all time best FBCD book ever. I had to buy it on eBay for $20, but it was phenomenal.

    Actually, another great book came out of FCBD – Astounding Wolf-Man. I actually got that one out of a quarter box on a day of random digging somewhere, but it was a great find!

    I heard there’s an Owly book out there somewhere, too. Oh well, perchance to dream I guess….

  10. Spent most of my FCBD with Scott McCloud’s workshop at SVA. Yes, I was one of the lottery winners and got a seat there. Thanks for the ‘heads up’ in your column a few weeks ago, Heidi.

    I did zip over to Cosmic Comics during lunchbreak, but gave a stack of our comic, Captain Action, to them for FCBD distribution. ( All in all, we gave out about 1,000 copies.)

    The best part was the dad who had his young daughter dress up like Batgirl. My daughters are SO over that stuff as teenagers!

  11. Just a huge, huge day for us here in Indianapolis. Sales were up considerably from last years Free Comic Book Day. Just a great, great day.

  12. FCBD 2009 at Green Brain Comics was the best one yet.
    1000+ happy people visited the store.
    Every year this event gets bigger.
    Bigger attendance.
    Bigger sales.
    Bigger amount of kids.
    Bigger fun.
    And this is in Michigan.
    I predict FCBD 2010 will continue this upward trend.
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    now I sleep for 12 more hours

  13. Alan Coil says:

    Nate Horn–I believe the Owly book came out for a previous FCBD, as did the Astounding Wolf-Man comic.

    I didn’t go to my LCS for FCBD. It is only 10 minutes from where I live, but I think I’d like to go to Green Brain next year. It sounds as if they had a fun day, and the drive is under an hour.

  14. Hey Alan,

    Plan on bringing a crowbar and your dancing shoes, cuz we can’t fit many more people into this party.

  15. Agatha says:

    Went to the Beguiling with the kids around 5 PM. Lots of artists were still there, all contributors to the ‘Comics Festival’ free comic. Best moment for mom: telling Kate Beaton I love her work; best moment for the kids: Brian Mclachan doing full page sketches from their suggestions (the giant snowman freeze-blasting a surfer was especially fine) and being introduced to Jellabee and Kean Soo and the same time. They love Jellabee now and two days ago they didn’t know it existed. That’s what it’s all about. The artists got to see kids being enthusiastic about comics and the kids got to meet nice people who can draw. The Toronto Comics Arts Festival is next week and they all want to go. It makes a mother proud that she can still be a bad influence on her kids.

  16. Carlo Pagulayan, artist of AGENTS OF ATLAS, did a photo-coverage of FCBD here in the Philippines:
    http://caloyski.multiply.com/photos/album/24/Free_Comic_Book_Day_again

    Photos from the Comic Odyssey event and the Druid’s Keep event!

    It was like a mini-comic con! :)

    –budjette

  17. There were a few artists in my city doing sketches and signing.
    One of the best FCBs was written and drawn by our local school children. The coordinator collected their stories and photocopied them down to an 8.5″ x 5.5″ saddlestitched Black and white comic.
    Thanks to the comic shops working with the local schools, the FCBD turnout at the shops was strong. I love seeing lots of kids at the comic stores, even if it is for only one day a year.

  18. Free Comic Book Ads more likely.

    From what I’ve seen the best of the bunch were:

    - Savage Dragon
    - Bongo Comics
    - Owly

    I’m considering adding both to my pull-list. Owly (and the rest of the kids comics) I’m going to give away to friends kids.

    I didn’t see any TMNT or Disney Comics, which are always a treat. :(

    DC Kids comic felt cheap. Is this the best they can do to promote their kids comics? Shazam felt like a foot-note, which is too bad ’cause it’s a great comic.

    I’m experiencing burn-out for Blackest Night, which is pretty amazing seeing as it hasn’t even started yet. I’m steering clear of this one. And did Marvels comics shrink in the wash? :)

  19. Great turnout but really dumb patrons thinking EVERY comic was free despite the signs indicating which comics were free.

  20. Amie Brockway-Metcalf says:

    Our LCBS organized a treasure hunt of the comics all over town, so the kids went to various shops to get a full set. I’m friendly with a couple of the participating shopkeepers, and they reported lots of new business due to the traffic.

    We had a ball. Our personal favorite was the Nancy book–how about those Seth covers!
    local coverage here:
    http://southorange.patch.com/articles/a-super-hero-stimulus-plan

  21. Okay… Too much stuff happening Saturday in New York to really do FCBD, but here’s my view as a fan:

    Kid’s comics: Archie, Bongo/Simpsons, Cars, Clone Wars, Transformers Animated, and Shonen Jump were Gold Sponsor titles which every store gets and which appeal to kids. (DC made Blackest Night “gold” and “DC Kids” as a silver title.) Among the silver titles aimed for kids: the John Stanley flip book from Drawn & Quarterly, Nascar Heroes, Owly, Wolverine, and Sonic. I haven’t read most of the issues (I got a complete set from my LCS in exchange for a donation to the CBLDF) but most really don’t appeal to me. (Major fail on Image, with Savage Dragon, Cyberforce/Hunter Killer. Why not G-Man, or the True Story comic strips, or Evil & Malice, or Jersey Gods, or just a nice sampler?) Poor IDW… Star Trek, Transformers, GI JOE, Library of American Comics… which one do you choose?

    After the Cooper Union PEN event, I visited Forbidden Planet at about 5 PM, but they had “sold out” all their FCBD issues. Deliberately avoided St. Marks, which never seems to understand the concept behind Free Comic Book Day.

    Major surprise: Mirage “adult” TMNT #1 reprint!

    I heard a rumor that the new smaller Marvel issues were a test. If no one complains too loudly, they’ll cut the size down to save printing costs. (They could offer the “full size” art in a trade collection.) Kids have no problem with digest sized comics, and this size is somewhere between the two industry standards. Only a rumor…

    MAJOR Fail on Midtown Comics. Their Times Square store did not open until 11 AM, and the line ran a city block (halfway to Eighth Avenue). Skipped that store completely. Hanley’s not only had been open since 9, they also opened the back-issue basement that afternoon, AND had artists signing, AND were giving away other non-FCBD issues, like the DC Universe #0. (The story was confusing… doesn’t make me want to read Final Crisis.) Scored an $8 hardcover copy of Astro City: Family Album, which I already own, but my nephew doesn’t. He’ll get it as a “free comic”.

    The Wolverine “origin” issue should have been Marvel’s Gold title. Drawn and written in “Adventure” style, it is all ages, but also a good story. The best superhero story? Again, haven’t read them all, but most likely “Love and Capes”. A great romantic comedy, available in trade from IDW, or free online.

    (And THANK YOU, Wizard, for not reprinting, for the third year in a row, your “how-to” FCBD comic.)

  22. Wrote about my day here: http://www.vitodelsante.com/?p=95

  23. Alan Coil says:

    Nate Horn–I was wrong. Owly was issued this year. And there was at least one in a previous year.

  24. Spent FCBD at Bergen St. Comics here in Brooklyn. ACT-I-VATE did a presentation/Slideshow deal ( EVERY day is FCBD at ACT_I_VATE! ) and a GREAT time was had by all. Thanks to Tom & Amy Adams for their hospitality.

  25. Nate Horn says:

    Hey Alan, it’s cool! It’s hard to keep track of what comes out when on a normal week, let alone FCBD week! lol I’ll be keeping my eyes out for it now!

  26. Should we be calling it Free Comic Book Sampler Day? Free Sample Comic Book Day?

  27. The Boy and I left the ladies to their own devices (a day of shopping) and headed out on our quest for gratis works of sequential art about mid-morning. No half-hour animations for us. No, sir. We returned almost nine hours later with armloads of great FCBD stuff.

    From: http://adamtree.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/free-comic-book-day-09/

Trackbacks

  1. [...] In other news, Free Comic Book Day was an overall success, with sales up as much as 39% at some stores, while others reported at least double the amount of people as last year. [...]

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