2020 has just arrived. Our planning for 2020 has begun. After talking with customers about trying something new on Free Comic Book Day in May, we have not heard anything positive about Free Comic Book Day in itself. We are being told that they are coming in for Rod Deals, not the free comics. The sales that are a part of Rod Deals is what brings them in. It was quite surprising that not a single person said anything positive about the free comics offered for Free Comic Book Day. Granted not every single customer we have has had a chance to give us feedback, but I expected at least something more in terms of feedback than if you do not have the Free Comic Book Day offerings no big deal we will still be here for the sale. When asked, each person said they were not excited for the free comic books that are offered. I was stunned. 2019’s FCBD was on May 4th which was Star Wars Day. Only IDW put out a Star Wars Adventures comic. Disney who owns Stars Wars and Marvel did not put out a Star Wars comic. DC put out reprinted comics again as they have for the previous year’s FCBD along with a 25-cent comic the Wednesday before. Marvel had the most popular free comics in 2018 and 2019. Image had a reprint of Spawn #1 this year.
If the offerings aren’t very good artistically, that could explain why the flat response to FCBD, especially after all these years. Though I do wonder what Marvel had to turn out? If it was reprints, that could explain the allegation they were supposedly popular, though if these were reprints of more recent products from the 2010s, I’d rather not take those.
Looking through what is being offered for 2020 Free Comic Book Day, there are some where I just say, why? There are over forty titles offered this year. That is a lot. An Invincible reprint from Image? Why?
Why have Free Comic Book Day in 2020? Because other stores do? That is not a good reason. Our plan? To offer an alternative to Free Comic Book Day. A day to get people into comics, to actually buy comics, to return again to buy comics after the day is done.
We are putting together a plan. My first thought was to have “Buy A Comic Get A Comic Day”, though that seems too simple and costly.
Here’s my fair suggestion: just make the shift to selling trade compilations and graphic novels only. You could probably even offer a discount on the second item bought. And consider that, if the finished product lacks talent and merit, you can’t be surprised if nobody cares for the free sample either.
No doubt, this could’ve affected the Star Wars comics to boot. Why, look at The Rise of Skywalker‘s reception. It may have theoretically sold huge at the box office, but critical and audience reception on the artistic level has been lukewarm at best, with the 3-4 main stars’ characters remaining stagnant in their development amid absurd feminist preachiness and wokeness, and it’s been the lowest grossing entry in the main trilogy so far. How can you expect anybody to be enthused about the comics when it’s possible they too succumbed to the political correctness now messing the movies?
Does this suggest FCBD could eventually discontinue? So far, that may not be the case, but if any of what’s offered is either tied to a badly written and illustrated mainstream franchise, or if it’s just reprints of something you could probably get in paperback/hardcover, that’s got to explain why nobody finds the occasion appealing anymore. And that’s why it’d have to end, as the industry deteriorates from all sorts of poor marketing directions.
Originally published here.