Last week, I talked about Marvel holding their Free Comic Book Day 2020 on July 15. Not to be outdone, Diamond soon declared Free Comic Book Summer (FCBS), as reported here at MajorSpoilers! What’s next, Free Comic Book Year?
WHAT DID DIAMOND SAY?
I didn’t realize that Free Comic Book Day had now become a competition! Who can hold it the longest?
Here’s the salient paragraph from Diamond’s news release:
Scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 9, retailers will receive five to six Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) titles in their weekly shipments during each week of the promotional window. Release of these titles may vary from shop to shop, as retailers are encouraged to release the books as they see fit for their unique circumstances. Retailers may release one free title a day, make all of that week’s free titles available at once, or any other plan that works for them. Free Comic Book Summer is designed to be flexible and customizable so retailers and consumers can get the most out the event.
And here’s just one more important paragraph:
Free Comic Book Summer will feature 45 of the previously announced titles from publishers like Marvel Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, DC, and more! The 45 titles are designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes and run the gamut from superhero stories, to TV and movie tie-ins, to sci-fi adventures, all-ages tales, and beyond. There will also be two educational support titles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Gemstone Publishing.
For more specifics, go to the aforementioned link.
WHAT IF EVERY DAY WERE FREE COMIC BOOK DAY?
As much as I’m happy that Diamond is trying to be inclusive here since not every local comics shop has reopened yet, I’m kind of… underwhelmed… by this decision.
There was a story that Disney put out where Donald Duck’s three sons wished that every day was Christmas Day. They discover, to their horror, that getting gifts, overeating, and being kissed by relatives every single day got old in a hurry. They soon longed for the time loop to end, and were they happy when it eventually did stop!
I’m kind of reminded of that story. The moral of that tale applies here, I believe: When you take something special and run it for a long period of time, it loses its uniqueness. It becomes “old hat,” as they used to say. It’s much less fun and exciting when it comes, and comes, and comes again. “Less is more,” as the old adage goes.
Granted, it’s up to every store to decide how they’ll celebrate FCBS. They can give out stuff every day or on a single day, if they prefer. Honestly, I feel sorry for the folks who don’t have their materials handed out until early September. They have to wait and wait and wait some more. That’s not a good thing if you are in show business. By the way, I do notice that most of the “name” comics companies are stacked near the beginning of the season. And Marvel gets not one, but two weeks of handouts. Funny that.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
What made Free Comic Book Day something special was that it drew fans of all types to local shops for a one-time event. You could go and sample what is happening in the industry, meet the folks who work and shop there, and perhaps even find other stuff you might want to buy.
Maybe Diamond wants to encourage fans to shop on a weekly basis. I support that, of course, and so would many local stores. I’ve talked in this column many times about how LCS’s need consistent support in order to keep their doors open. If you only darken their doors once a quarter or once a year, well, that’s no way to run an airline!
Maybe I’m just an old fan who is used to and enjoys the weekly routine of picking up and diving into comics, but making a whole season where people can get free stuff is going to lose its luster pretty quickly. Again, companies who won’t have their materials handed out until the last week or two are going to find the number of people who come to get their stuff very small in number, mostly being the die-hard fans who would have hit the shop regularly anyway.
Now, I applaud the desire to expand the lure of FCBD. I’ve long and loudly supported Halloween Comic Fest each year, but even I have to admit that it hasn’t caught on like Free Comic Book Day. And how will another “free event” being conducted less than two months after Free Comic Book Summer ends do? Will people want to come back and go to stores again that soon for Halloween books? I don’t think so!
I believe that a one-day event is much more likely to draw a crowd than a summer-ful of free books will. Again, I’m not a retailer, so I could be way off base. We’ll know for sure when the end of August and early September arrive. If people have worn out on it, well, it could be bad news for next year’s Free Comic Book Day when it gets here. “What, again?” I can hear people saying. We’ll see!
What do you think? Are we ready to get free stuff at your LCS’s for more than one week? Will we really get new folks in the doors or mostly hand out materials to people who were going there anyway? Are you anxious to get those FCBD books? Whatever your opinions, please share your thoughts in the space below!