Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup

twitter Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0facebook Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0google Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0pinterest Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0tumblr Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundupreddit Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0stumbleupon Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup0email Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup

201105091714 Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup
By all accounts, it was one of the biggest Free Comic Book Days yet, with most stores reporting “sell-outs” early on and crowds and — importantly — SALES that rivaled their biggest days ever. It was also a media event as over 200 news stories show.

From coast to coast:
DNAinfo presents a gallery of NYC photos, from which the above is taken.

Caitlin Holland 23 2 Free Comic Book Day 2011 news roundup

And recent CBR Live postings represent the West Coast as with Richard Starkings and friend, above.

Retailer Matt Price live blogged the activities at Speeding Bullet in Norman, OK:

1:15 p.m. Speeding Bullet is on pace to have as many people in as any day in history – breaking last year’s record. The staff tells me they don’t think it will happen, though: They’re anticipating a slowdown when the Thunder game starts at 4.


And this AP story gives a nice overview of whom the event reached:

A rack of assorted comics, ranging from an issue of Green Lantern with a preview of the upcoming “Flashpoint” mini-series to Image’s “Super Dinosaur Origin Special” No. 1, was set up on a wall with many people, including some with younger kids in tow, plucking issues of interest.
[snip]
At New Dimension Comics in Cranberry, Pa., 9-year-old Grace Mitchell was one of those young readers. She picked up a copy of “Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse,” a collection of classic 1930’s comics by Floyd Gottfredson and reprinted by Fantagraphics.


Winning!

Comments

  1. It was absolute crazy day for us….looking at initial numbers for our stores we easily did a 25% increase over last year in sales. That’s *huge*.

  2. Absolutely dug reading the specific regional reports on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Nice to hear the success stories, from the big sales due to increased traffic but more specifically the aggressive methods which Brick & Mortar stores are planting the seeds to new comic book buyers…

    I have some other ideas for stores to rope in new readers too at http://comicCONMEN.com

    As a side note- Richard Starkings sure looks happy in that picture!

  3. Matthew Southworth says:

    I had a great time on FCBD at Comic Stop U-District in Seattle (used to be Zanadu). . .

    . . .however, I was a little disappointed in the choices of available free comics this year. There was clearly a slant toward young readers, which is great–who wouldn’t want more kids to read comics?–but very little that might entice a teenager or college-age adult back to the store.

    I wonder–does Diamond choose what is made available to retailers, do publishers make that decision, do retailers vote on what they’d like to see more of? How does this process work?

    Congratulations, though, to the stores that did well and sold a lot of stuff, too. That’s great news.

  4. Torsten Adair says:

    The publishers decide what to offer.

    Retailers pay for the copies they give away for free. They have some choice in what they offer.

    Among the ten Gold titles, Marvel, IDW, DC, and Archaia offered titles aimed at older readers. Quite a few titles amidst the Silver sponsors… at least twelve seem to appeal to teens and adults.

    What’s interesting, and pretty dang cool, is the number of FCBD titles offered to promote graphic novels, including some by book publishers!

    Oh, and by offering stuff for kids, you guarantee that adults will be dragged along. And those adults will see their kids eager to read, be sold on a great store, and probably return to buy more stuff. Now if there was something similar for the Holiday season…

  5. Matthew – c’mon, the concept of FCBD is geared towards in getting your kids in the stores to read comics instead of sitting around vegetating in front of the tv set being hypnotized to Spongebob Squarepants and iCarly (such as my six year old niece who upon giving her a extra copy I picked up of the Kung Fu Panda/ Reboot Richie Rich, tore the damn thing in half and went back to her littlebigplanet playstation game. Freakin’ little asswipe). What would be the point of making free funny books acessible to adults who already know what THEY are anyway?

    I almost nailed every edition this year as I went and plundered 5 stores in the LA area alone. The ones of importance that I missed out this year was the Archie Pep, Gladstone’s Mickey Mouse reprints, The GI Joe one and the Tick. The Elric one from Boom! looks sweet. Glad I scored that one.

    ~

    Coat

  6. Three things. 1) Best Wonder Woman EVER! 2) You can tell comics have hit the main stream when Discovery Channel is offering free Shark Week comic books. Since when has Discovery Channel had anything to do with comics? To them this was a chance for some press, which means they think enough of comic books to bother doing it. 3) Best Wonder Woman EVER!

  7. Matthew Southworth says:

    Hmm. I missed the more adult-targeted books somehow. I did see a couple of Marvel/DC mainstream capes-n-tights things, but I didn’t see anything a more sophisticated reader off the street might be interested in (not a slight against superhero books, by the way, which I love). Nothing more mature like DAYTRIPPER or LOVE AND ROCKETS or STUMPTOWN, for that matter.

    Re: bringing kids in to comics stores–I agree that that is a great thing and an important goal. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily the only–or even the primary–goal. While of course you’re theoretically building a long-term audience by getting the kids in the door, the other side of the coin is that the kids don’t drive themselves to the stores and they don’t have any money, so if you can interest their mothers and fathers in coming back, you sell to two customers instead of one.

    But I did see some really good kids’ comics. . .the Thor/Captain America thing that Chris Samnee (awesome) did looks great, and of course the Mickey Mouse thing that Fantagraphics is reprinting is wonderful. Just a shame that IDW didn’t have a little sampler, or Vertigo didn’t put something together, or maybe Image could do a special FCBD thing.

    Or maybe I just missed them somehow. In any case, thanks for helping me figure out how it works, and viva la comix!

  8. Matthew Southworth says:

    A quick note re: Cary’s comment about making free comics accessible to adults who already know about them–

    That’s sort of my point, that there are a lot of people who might be interested (especially with the growing media coverage of FCBD) that DON’T know what’s available to their tastes. So I worry that they walk in, see Batman t-shirts and kids comics and miss out on all the other stuff that might bring them back again.

    Anyway, it’s all food for thought.

  9. Al™ says:

    My fave Free titles were the Mickey Mouse Reprint, 12 Gauge’s Loose Ends, and Oni Press’ Spontaneous #1.

  10. We had a fantastic Free Comic Book Day including a great signing with the artist and writers of the GERONIMO STILTON graphic novels. I’ve written a long blog entry about it.

    http://lcomics.blogspot.com/search/label/Free%20Comic%20Book%20Day

  11. Snikt Snakt says:

    My LCS is tiny and couldn’t afford to order all the FCBD comics that were availble. The owner just got the more popular ones, maybe a dozen titles or so.

    He used to order them all, but the “customers” that would come in to get them would just bee-line to the freebies (at the back of the store) and leave w/o bothering to look at anything else on the shelves (y’know, the stuff NOT free), no matter how much we encourage people to do so. If its not free they weren’t interested!

    He’s had enough of this moocher mentality and is considering no longer doing FCBD. I can’t really say that I blame him. Especially since the store is located in the heart of an affluent suburb. Bunch of cheapskates!!!

  12. Snikt, maybe he could implement what I’ve seen around here: One FCB with every purchase.
    Etc. Emphasis on purchase.

    He could tie it to a dollar amount: $20 purchase gets 3 FCBs, $50 gets 5, etc.

    Keep the FCBs behind the counter.
    And put one reading copy of each of his FCB titles on a table, with shipping tape securing it there. People can flip through it for Free. Tough love.

  13. Matthew Southworth says:

    Re: Snikt–I confess to having been one of those guys in the past. I never did the (obvious) math to figure out that these were not just millions of promotional items given out by giant corporations but were paid for by the stores.

    I think a lot of people are unaware that the retailers are paying for them and so don’t connect that they should also buy something. I tried to make that point as often as I could this year.

    I don’t think the “free book with purchase” plan works very well, though, in that it feels a little chintzy (and dishonest) to call it “Free Comic Book Day” if what it is is “Buy One, Get One Free (But Only From This Pile of Books) Comic Book Day”.

    But I do think that somehow customers should be made aware that the store is trying to encourage purchasing along with the free stuff. Just don’t know how to do it.

  14. Nick Jones says:

    “And put one reading copy of each of his FCB titles on a table, with shipping tape securing it there. People can flip through it for Free. Tough love.”

    Because nothing gets kids excited about comics like having to read a promotional copy that’s taped to a table! Somehow I just don’t think that the “tough love” business model is appropriate for an event aimed at fostering goodwill and drawing new people into the medium.

  15. Al™ says:

    Nick, yeah, I know. It does sound pretty mean. The Grinch’s Free Comic Book READING Day.
    But from the sounds of it, this retailer has people racing through his store and stopping just long enough to grab free comics.
    It’s a hard balance to strike. There needs to be some control on the mooching, so I suggested tying the FREE stuff to the purchased stuff.

    Maybe others have ideas.

  16. Torsten Adair says:

    “Since when has Discovery Channel had anything to do with comics?”

    Since December, when they teamed with Zenescope [yes, Zenescope] to produce the 200-page graphic novel this comic is adapted from. There’s also a dinosaur book as well, and others in the works! (Via the Silver Dragon imprint.)

    Matthew: FreeComicBookDay [dot] com has all the issues.

    IDW had Locke & Key.
    Vertigo usually doesn’t participate. DC uses their Gold title to promote the next event (War of the Supermen, Blackest Night) and the Silver to promote their kids comics.

    Spontaneous, by Oni, has a good Vertigo vibe. As does “ICE” by 12-Gauge.

    Image has been a sponsor since the very first FCBD in 2002 (Tomb Raider). This year, Super Dinosaur was Gold (and well worth it!) and Darkness was silver.

    As for the moochers… Some stores let you pick two titles from the smorgasbord for free. I got around this by making a donation to the CBLDF (after the whole Salon kerfuffle) in exchange for the comics shop pulling one copy of every title for me. Of course, I was a regular customer, always polite, so they were accommodating.

    As for encouraging people to shop, your store should offer a special sale during that weekend, as well as including future coupons and sales to get those customers to return again. The Eisner-Award-Winning Tate’s Comics does a pretty amazing job of merchandising! They give out five copies, plus have stuff going on in the parking lot. Check out their photos from 2010! And then they have future events which are just as crazy!

  17. Well, there you go. Thanks Torsten. I’m really happy to hear that. My daughter is going to dig the dinosaur book when I find it for her. She’s crazy for them.

  18. Both local stores here in Pasadena had the full count of free books, and let customers grab 10 books each. They both had the same sale going, “buy 2 get one free” that applied to anything in the store: comics, books, t-shirts, toys, etc. Both had crazy long lines to the register. I saw lots of folks with their kids who looked like new customers. Probably the biggest turnout I’ve seen yet!

  19. Snikt Snakt says:

    “Both local stores here in Pasadena had the full count of free books, and let customers grab 10 books each. They both had the same sale going, “buy 2 get one free” that applied to anything in the store: comics, books, t-shirts, toys, etc. Both had crazy long lines to the register. I saw lots of folks with their kids who looked like new customers. Probably the biggest turnout I’ve seen yet!”

    My store had a 50% sale off on back issues and tpb’s. No one gave a s***! Comics are dead in this town, apparently only FREE one’s will get people in the door in droves…

  20. TonyJazz says:

    My LCS allowed strangers to pick two comics from a list (for free). It was a smart approach, as the people seeking freebies got something that they really wanted. The regulars who had pull-lists were given the ability to pick more free books, which is also fair. A good scheme for everyone!

  21. Kat Kan says:

    I worked at my main LCS, as I have done for the past 5 years. He also has a small operation, and sees mostly the once-a-year-pseudo-customers who come in only for the free comics. However, I’ve been doing my part to promote FCBD at my school, and we’re starting to see more families come in. I talk to people, encourage them to browse the new comics shelves, even took one grandmother to show her all the kid-friendly titles in stock when she said she wanted to see what’s available. The owner did report he had some sales. Plus, I purchased about 300 assorted kids/teen FCBD comics (owner gave me a 50% discount on his cost) that I took to my school on Monday. Each student could get a free comic. Most of the teachers took one as well; I gave the 8th grade teacher two – he grew up reading Marvel and DC superheroes, and we talk comics whenever he gets a chance.
    I’m still trying to get the local public library to do more cooperative programming with the comics shops for FCBD.

  22. Nick Jones says:

    “But from the sounds of it, this retailer has people racing through his store and stopping just long enough to grab free comics.
    It’s a hard balance to strike. There needs to be some control on the mooching, so I suggested tying the FREE stuff to the purchased stuff. ”

    I’d say that people coming just for the free stuff and then running off is the price paid for the regular/sporadic customers a store should manage to pick up. One hopes that the books people get for free will be appealing enough that they’ll come back and pay for future issues, and other comics as well. If that doesn’t happen, it may well be a matter of quality control on the FCBD offerings (fewer “preview” style issues which are not terribly interesting on their own and more self-contained stories might help).

Speak Your Mind

*