As reported here at MajorSpoilers, Free Comic Book Day will be held on August 14 in 2021. Is this a good thing?
FCBD MOVING TO AUGUST NEXT YEAR
This year, due to the pandemic, Free Comic Book Day was actually spread out over several months with some comics being available on different Wednesdays.
I noticed that several stores and their customers didn’t seem very clear on just what was happening when, though. Several times when I was in local shops, people saw the free books on tables or in the racks and they didn’t quite believe it. I often heard the folks behind the counter having to reassure the fans that, yes indeed, they were free… again this week.
What happened instead of there being one day when everyone was there to look over the FCBD materials, I only saw a few people look at or take any of the materials each week. Many times, people simply didn’t take anything being offered.
I’m sure this uncertainty was just one of the reasons that Diamond Comics Distributors decided to return to a single day celebration in 2021.
A news release from the company stated the following: “Diamond Comic Distributors is pleased to announce that Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), one of the comic book industry’s most beloved and anticipated celebrations, will once again be a single-day event, scheduled to take place Saturday, August 14, 2021. The event, which traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in May, will be celebrated in August 2021 in the hopes that much of the uncertainty and disruption related to COVID-19 will have passed.”
Another paragraph gave important information regarding this event: “Free Comic Book Day 2021 will feature up to fifty free titles available at participating local comic shops. The titles will be comprised of up to twelve gold and thirty-five silver sponsor titles. Titles will be announced to the public in March and will appear in the April 2021 edition of the PREVIEWS catalog.”
This will be the 20th anniversary celebration of Free Comic Book Day. I’m hoping that things will be getting somewhat back to normal by August. We’ll see.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
FCBD is quite the big deal when it comes to local comics shops. It often gets lots of attention from local media outlets, and that can help draw everyone from former customers to people who have never darkened the door of a LCS before.
Almost always, fans and others who go to stores on FCBD do pick up free comics. However, what really helps LCS’s is the fact that many of those same people actually peruse the shelves and buy comics as well.
You get a good turnout that day, and for your neighbor comics shop, it’s Christmas in May… well, Christmas in August in 2021.
I recently spoke with one store owner who mentioned to me that FCBD in May has been a huge help to him. He would pay his taxes in April, which would deplete his funds significantly. Then, on the first Saturday in May, he would get a financial boost because of all the people coming to his shop that day.
I’m sure he’s not alone when it comes to that practice!
Moving it to August will make it tougher on many shops, but if it’s safer for customers to visit the shop at that time, well, it’s worth the wait. I’m sure many store owners would clearly agree with that!
A lot of shops see former customers return to the fold as a result of FCBD. Whatever had been going on in that person’s life that caused them to stop buying comics might have resolved itself by then. A visit to their LCS just might remind them of just how enjoyable reading and even collecting comics can be!
COULD THIS BECOME PERMANENT?
Whether we see FCBD return to May or continue in August will depend on just how things go on August 14. If it’s an even bigger success than previous events, then I expect that initial Saturday in May might go the way of all things.
Do I expect that to be the case? Not really. FCBD is an event that many fans plan their years around much like conventions. It also has tied in with Star Wars fans, especially if it falls on the 4th of May… you know, “may the fourth be with you” and such. A lot of shops get costumers to show up in their Wars gear on that day. I’m sure Marvel in particular is happy when that kind of thing takes place on FCBD.
However, stranger things have happened. August can be a good time for shops because students are out of school for the summer and could be earning extra cash they can spend on comics and related items. However, it’s also a time for them to be preparing to return to school (if they haven’t already), so that month may not be something Diamond wants to make a habit out of. Still, if it goes well, I wouldn’t mind a third version of FCBD in my yearly calendar, augmenting the first Saturday in May and Halloween Comic Fest in October.
One way or another, I’m optimistic about Free Comic Book Day returning to the big event it has been in the past. Depending on how things are going where you live, I would encourage you to visit your LCS on August 14. If it’s a big bomb, Diamond just might think twice about holding many more times. We don’t want that, for sure!
What do you think? Do you feel it’s a smart move to schedule FCBD for August 14 in 2021? Is this likely to become a habit, or will it go back to May in 2022? Whatever your opinion, feel free to share it in the space below!