I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – Free Comic Book Day is one of the most creative and successful ways to attract new readers/customers into local comics shops ever conceived.
Well, following on the heels of that success is Halloween ComicFest, which hasn’t quite caught on with the same vigor. However, I think it’s time to make this event another great one when it comes to spreading the word about our love for comics!
WHAT IS HALLOWEEN COMICFEST?
Here’s a description from the event’s Facebook page: “Halloween ComicFest is the celebration of Halloween and comics! The event takes place (the Saturday before Halloween) at participating comic shops. FREE Halloween themed comics will be available, along with the chance for fans to participate in ‘The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest Ever!’ It is a great event for comic and Halloween fans of all ages! Come and celebrate Halloween this year with FREE comics!”
Made available to local stores are 18 full-size comics (including a special edition of DC’s Batman: Night of the Monster Men and Marvel’s Thor by Walt Simonson #1, among others.) There are also 12 mini-comics, such as the Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha polypack and Archie’s Mad House polypack. It’s not quite FCBD-level yet, but there’s still a lot to choose from! For a full list, go to this link!
As mentioned previously, many shops conduct costume contests as well, giving prizes to the winners. I’ve seen face painting and other related events as well.
You’ll also find many stores hold graphic novel sales in conjunction with events like this, with many of the horror collections available at a reduced rate, as well as others!
For a video about this event, click on the image below:
WHY SUPPORT THIS EVENT?
I don’t have any kids, but I know from watching the news that Halloween, which is already meant to be frightening, has many parents very concerned. I don’t need to go into the details, but we no longer live in the days when we knew our neighbors and could trust them to hand out safe candy and other items.
Free comic books can buck that trend, though. Of course, Mom and Dad need to be certain the books their young ones choose are appropriate for them, but the variety available should provide at least a comic or two that will spook their kids without causing harm.
It’s probably too late now, but it was possible this year to order 25-packs of mini-comics for only $4.99 so you have them to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween night instead of candy or apples. Something to remember for next year, but you might check with your LCS to see if any of these are still available!
Like FCBD, getting the word out about local shops just might encourage potential new customers to come back after the event. This will be really important, especially given that the holiday gift-giving season won’t be far away. (Again let me suggest that, if you don’t know exactly which comic a friend or family member wants, it’s always safer to buy a gift card or certificate. They’ll know what to get for sure!)
While horror is not my favorite genre, I have found many comics that entertained me there. I also like to point out that Scott Snyder, one of THE very best Batman writers ever, was early on exposed to the writings of Stephen King. Results may vary, of course!
Also, I’d say that very nearly all comics shops are family friendly places to explore reading! (I’d prefer to use only the word all, but you have to leave some room for that truly oddball store that doesn’t always keep kids safe.)
Reading, what a concept! I’m reminded of how the Harry Potter books captured the attention of children for a whole generation. Maybe there are comics that might accomplish the same goal! (Say, why aren’t there new Harry Potter comics coming out? I bet they’d sell well!)
WHAT TO DO
If your LCS is celebrating the holiday with their own Halloween ComicFest, be sure to stop by and participate.
Some among us are cosplayers, and I’m sure those folks would love to dress up and enchant the children both young and old. (There are many of us, though, who are too jolly to fit into costumes, like me, so I’m content to let others much more interested in it take the lead.)
If you know families who might enjoy going to this event, let them know it’s happening. If you’re up for driving them there, go for it! Anything we can do to keep the industry moving forward is fine by me!
If you receive your comics by mail from services like Loot Crate and the like, I’d recommend you seek out a local shop you can support. To find local comics shops, go to this link. You just might make new friends who share your passion there!
What do you think? Should we support Halloween ComicFest this year? Or if it becomes too big, might it water down Free Comic Book Day? Any other ideas on how to make this event attain FCBD levels? Whatever your opinion, please share your thoughts in the space below!