Sunday, May 8, 2011

Free Comic Book Day To The Max

I attended Free Comic Book Day yesterday for the recap check out my blog here:
As much as I enjoyed the event I had a few thoughts coming out of it.
I couldn't help but wonder: does FCBD really bring in new fans or is it really about rewarding the families of your regular customers?

I think either of those are fine pursuits but I believe the idea behind FCBD was to bring new people into the store that don't regularly read Comics and get a current Comic in their hands for free in the hopes they will enjoy the experience and start collecting Comics as a hobby. As I looked at the free Comics that were offered by the publishers I wondered which ones were really going to get kids (new readers) to want to read comics. In fact looking at the Super Dinosaur Free Comic I couldn't help but think it was just the Animation pitch bible reprinted in comic form. I wondered if that was the right product for the event.

I would think if you were going to pitch the hobby of comics to new people you would pitch them the very best stories and art the medium has to offer. Perhaps with the release of THOR they could have reprinted a Simonson Thor or a combo book with stories from Kirby, Simonson and Copiel. That would have landed perfectly within the idea of the event and meanwhile piggybacking on the larger mainstream movie marketing. DC seemed to be right in their thinking with a Green Lantern book but am I the only one who thinks photo covers from the movies (GL,THOR, CAP) should have been a must? If you have this huge marketing machine of the film industry behind these IPs why not push those people who have heard about the movies into the store and to these free comics?

Fans don't see the finer points in terms of the difference between what goes on with characters in a movie a video game or the comic books so why not combine the experience for them and use that to buffer the introduction of comic books into their geek/hobby sphere. FCBD is a great idea but with some missed opportunities for publishers to help retailers spread the word on Comics.

In terms of it being a reward for customers and their families. I think it's a huge success at doing that. The Comic fans I met seemed to be really into introducing something they already love to their kids and having an event for the whole family. The discounts/sales combined with the free Comics seemed to generate of ton of excitement. In today's economy I think they should do two of these a year just to remind the local customer fan base that Comic stores are (or at very least should be) a place the whole family can have fun at. Offering a fun experience to the customer is what I think is missing in a lot of stores. FCBD can help reinforce that with loyal and new customers