There’s nothing bigger this week than the yearly return of Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) on the first Saturday of May, this time on May 7!
Last year, I wrote a pretty comprehensive column on how to approach FCBD, which you can still find at this link.
This time, I thought I’d discuss some other aspects of this “holiday” that deserve attention.
CREATORS MEETING FANS
During several interviews with comics creators, I’ve noticed that many really prefer FCBD instead of conventions as a better way to interact with fans.
Honestly, conventions can be crowded, full of hustle and bustle. While that can help a creator sell his or her wares, it can also limit the time that person can speak directly with fans. Signings, discussion panels, handling financial transactions and all can make it tough for more than a few minutes with each person, depending on how popular a creator is.
On the other hand, FCBD can provide more time for a meaningful chat or time to ask/answer questions. Many fans take their comics seriously, so they love to ask good questions! Stores are often just the right size to allow time for interactions fans will cherish.
Of course, the other side of the coin are those of us who don’t know when to quit! I was introducing myself to a writer at a convention one time, and I had to interrupt a fan who hardly let the writer get a word in. I said my piece, told him how much I love his product, then shook his hand to leave. Immediately, the fan got back to talking incessantly to the writer. I felt sorry for that creator! He didn’t want to be uncourteous, but this guy was forcing others to get only little snippets of the creator’s time.
As I always like to say, please be considerate of others when at an event like this. Creators will give not-so-subtle clues that you’ve pretty much accomplished all you can with him or her, so be sure to keep an eye out for such things!
FANS MEETING FANS
FCBD can also be a terrific time to begin friendships/relationships that can enhance your enjoyment of comics.
There you are, in a shop full of others who like at least SOME portion of a genre you love, too. Granted, not all of them will end up being people you can share your love of comics with, but if you make a good comics friend or two out of a FCBD or a store you shop at, that’ll be terrific!
I remember when Spider-Man got the black costume. I was in a store, had picked up a copy of the issue to look at, then without thinking said, “That’s terrible!” The guy next to me agreed, and a conversation began that lasted for hours. The store was closed, and we were still in a car, talking comics! A good friendship blossomed out of that!
The reason I point this out is, I’ve met several people who truly longed to have someone to talk with about comics, something they love! Their families don’t understand them, their friends try to pooh-pooh anything about comics, and even their spouses don’t get it! How great it is when you find a friend who understands and shares the passion you feel! Be open to that taking place!
TAKE A CHANCE
One of the great things about FCBD is that you can sample a book you may not have read before. Guess what? You may actually like it!
I know so many comics fans who depend on their friends for their opinions regarding what’s good and what isn’t. “None of my friends like this book, so I don’t like it either,” I’ve heard several times before. Maybe you need better friends?
I’ve often been surprised by books I never thought I’d like turning out to be great comics! A recent example is Huck from Image Comics. I saw a brief description of the series and thought, “Not another Superman rip-off!” Not long after that, my brother discovered the series, and suggested I should give it a try. I broke down and read the first issue, and I was hooked! I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it out.
You’re going to see a lot of books and may only have a limited number you can get. I suggest picking up one “mad” book – you know, one that is so way out there, you aren’t sure you’d ever be interested in it. A lot of FCBD comics are great jumping-on points, so you might find yourself liking a comic you never dreamed of reading! There’s no guarantee it’ll be great, but at least be daring with one book! I’ll be doing that with MORE than one book, so give it a try.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON FCBD
A lot of comics fans seem to take their local shop for granted. After all, it’s there every week, isn’t it?
With the industry continuing to be at a turning point, this is a good time to support the those in it as much as you can. I know you have a budget, so you can’t buy a ton of product, but get to know the people who work at the store and let them recommend books you might like. That’s one of the best qualities a store can have – knowing what they sell so they’ll know what you could enjoy after they get to know you.
If you know a person who has stopped buying comics, I’d say you could let them know about FCBD and that there are FREE books there they could take home with them. You just might reignite that passionate flame again in that person. Worth a try, at least!
Are you going to your local shop this Saturday? Have you got some free books in mind you already want to be sure you pick up? What would you suggest that a neighborhood comics store do that might help in their celebration of Free Comic Book Day? Please share your thoughts below!