Monday, May 4, 2009

Late FCBD Recap

I realize this is almost two weeks after the fact, but I still wanted to post a Free Comic Book Day recap. Thanks again to the more than 30 stores that handed out the Candy or Medicine Free Comic Book Day Special and all the friends of Candy or Medicine (or Candy or Medicine International Crew- C.O.M.I.C.- as I like to call them) for handing out more than 700 copies.

The first stop for my son and I was Bullseye's, where I was very tempted to purchase a carded Super Powers figure, but I didn't have the money for that at the time (instead, a carded Orion figure will be my Father's Day present to myself). Randy was nice enough to have copies of the CorM FCBD Special at the counter and placed them in customers' bags as they were rung up. His wife is a big Candy or Medicine fan and I gave her some issues she didn't have. My son, who is almost 3, was pumped to get a grab bag with two lollipops and commenced to eat them both in a matter of minutes. He also received a Superman pencil which he is no longer allowed to play with because he continued to poke himself with it. He was also kind of freaked out by the guys dressed up like Spider-Man and Captain America (to be honest, they were a bit creepy), so we didn't stay there long.

Next stop was across the street to Comix Zone, where I picked up the Nancy/Melvin book and I'm kicking myself in the ass for not picking up the Comics Festival book. Comix Zone had a "take only 3" sign and I think that might have detered some people (especially those who aren't into/unaware of/disinterested in mini-comics) from not picking up Candy or Medicine. Now I know for next year to have a small card or Post-It stating "This does not count toward your three free comics." I also picked up a copy of Devil Dinosaur #2 for $3.50. After discovering the Devil Dinosaur Omnibus goes for $20 online, I kind of wish I would've just applied the $3.50 to that, but I also like having the original Kirby comics because I'm in the camp that does not like the recoloring jobs in reprints (plus I love the moldy paper smell).

When we arrived at Cloud City about 11:30, the store had almost run out of free comics. After picking up 20 comics for just 10 cents a piece (including Zot! 14 1/2, illustrated by Candy or Medicine contributor Matt Feazell, a coverless Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen comic, a couple Steve Gerber Omega The Unknown comics and a Little Nemo in Slumberland 3D comic from the '80s), Daredevil Vol. 1 No. 13 (bringing my Daredevil collection to within six issues of a complete 497 issue collection), Fantastic Four 91 and Thor 136 (all at half off), all that was left on the free comics table was the CorM Special. This was kind of a good thing because people came in asking for free comics, and the people working pointed to the table and said, "We're running low, that's all we have left," which hopefully inclined people to pick it up becuase, hey, it was the only free comic left. When Cloud City opened at 10 that morning, there was a huge line of people waiting.

Outside Cloud City, before the doors opened. Courtesy of Cloud City.

On a side note, Jeff, the owner, held a raffle the next day where everyone received one ticket for every dollar spent on FCBD. I won a copy of Amazing Spider-Man signed by J Michael Straczynski for having my number called and my son won a Green Lantern action figure for making everyone in the store laugh. After calling the first number, Jeff then went on: "The next number is..." to which my son exclaimed, "Six-five-two!" All 30 or so people in the store bust out laughing and Jeff said, "Hand that kid the Green Lantern figure," which he now proudly displays on his bookshelf (even if he was a little embarrassed when it happened).

"It's a major award!"

I didn't make it to Play the Game, Read the Story because we took the kids to grandma's house, and althought I didn't get to pick up the Owly or Comics Festival books there, Mikey, one of the guys who works there, informed me that they were very busy and handed out all of the comics I gave them. Sweet!

Also, Candy or Medicine (kind of) made the news that day. If you look closely in this video from Channel 10 News, you'll see the Candy or Medicine Free Comic Book Day Special.

"Only three, please."

And thanks to Shannon Smith and Richard Krauss for giving the FCBD Special a shout out on their Web sites.

I'm not sure how I'll approach Free Comic Book Day next year. On one hand, I'd like to top this years print run and shoot for 1,000, but at the same time, that could be costly. I think I'll stick to 500 and send them to fewer stores. Ideally, I'd like to have them in as many stores as possible, but I think in this case the whole "quality over quantity" factor would have to apply, meaning it would be better to have it in stores like Jim Hanley's Universe and Comic Relief rather than stores that cater more toward just the superhero crowd. Similar to what Sparkplug did with the Bird Hurdler comic, which, by the way, is an excellent comic and well worth the $2 for shipping.

Then again, I'd like to attract new readers who might be unfamiliar with mini-comics, but I don't know if that's a feasible strategy. Obviously, if I had the money I'd print as many as I could and send them to as many stores as I could, but that certainly can't happen in my current financial situation. I think this correlates with what comic retailers, and to an extent publishers, are trying to accomplish with Free Comic Book Day -- keep the core customers satisified and returning, spark a customer's interest in a new title and, and this is the most difficult, attract new customers/readers.

Obviously I'm not in it for the money, otherwise I wouldn't be handing out/mailing 700 comics for free, but what is important to me is to give comics I publish to people who are or who might be interested in them. After leaving the Syracuse Heroes Expo last year, I saw one of the 2008 FCBD Specials in a garbage can and that was very disheartening. I hope there aren't too many (or any) people doing that with the FCBD Specials they pick up in stores, but one has to wonder. So I think for next year, the best bet would be to have the 2010 FCBD Special at mini-comic friendly stores. Until I make my millions, of course, and then I'll be flying over major cities in a helicopter every first Saturay in May showering the streets with free comics.


JB inks said...

well told.

Colin Tedford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Tedford said...

I haven't been back to the stores I left comics at to see how they did, but I gave away all the CoMs I tabled with.

I think focusing on the indie-friendly stores is smart. Personally I would still devote some small percentage of the print run to the quixotic "making converts" impulse, but that's me. I guess I'd only do it for local shops, though.

Anyway, nice writeup and inspiring activity!

JB inks said...

I was thinking. This would make a great 2 or 3 page story for next years FCBD issue.