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  1.  (2074.1)
    Tis indeed Free Comic Book Day!

    So, what did we all pick up?

    I didn't know until I dropped in for a nose at Orbital in Central [London] this morning and they gave me a Virgin Comics comic with Dan Dare on the front! I was particularly excited to see Garth Ennis was writing it and have just read it over the last hour. I've not thought much to what I've seen of Virgin Comics before but I think I may have to re-evaluate my position: not only did it have an interesting Dan Dare story but also something pretty good yet knowingly-pulp enough to keep me interested by the man who messed up his run on Hellblazer - Mike Carey. The short piece was called Stranded. I liked the small bit I read. I've since read that Grant Morrison may have something in the pipeline for them.

    Please understand, I'm not making a case for Virgin Comics but I'd like to hear people's opinions on today.

    Do people think it's just a marketing strategy? Is it a valid one? Is anything that gives away free comics a good idea? Does expansion necessarily mean quality depletion?

    I'm interested in what you picked up too: anything amazing? Surprising? Utter-shite?

    Come on, feed me knowledge Comic Peoples and I will repay you in Internet sweat.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2008
     (2074.2)
    I picked up the Messiah Complex hardcover in London Forbidden Planet today, and they handed me a free Spiderman trade from the start of Straczynski's run, which was a nice surprise.

    There was some hulk/ironman free comic they were giving to any kids that bought stuff as well.
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      CommentAuthorElana
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2008
     (2074.3)
    I'm posting from my part-time job at a comic shop:

    I'd say the vast majority of people who come in to milk us for free comics, we will never see again until next year's Free Comic Book Day.

    Our best customers don't even want most of our free comics. Anyone who actually wanted All-Star Superman #1 bought it when it came out a year ago or whatever.

    However, we take this day as an opportunity to have a store-wide sale. It's a great day for clearing out crap. When we run out of free comics to give out, we load the table with old CrossGen and Kiss junk.

    Mostly the day is a hassle, although it does pay off when we get to move big-ticket items on the strength of the sale and traffic. Those big-ticket items are not comics, mind you; things like gargantuan Halo dudes or Star Wars models.

    I do think it makes the neighbourhood think on us a little more favourably, but I'm not convinced it brings in new business or new readers.
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      CommentAuthorkaolin
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2008
     (2074.4)
    Y'all've inspired me to give a freebie. Leave some sort of positive comment on GUD Magazine's thread by the end of May 3rd california time, presuming I have some way to contact you, I'll email/PM/whatnot you a PDF of Issue 0. :)

  2.  (2074.5)
    free comic day was quite good, i grabbed a lot of stuff for free for myself/friends/ etc to give away. plus, with the sale got POPGUN vol 1, the new BANKSY art book on preorder and some nice diy minicomics.
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      CommentAuthorGreggN
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2008
     (2074.6)
    As usual, I walk into my comic book store to get some free samplers and walk out having spent 70 bucks. The best thing that I've read so far through my pile (haven't finished yet) has been the Owly/Corgi sampler. It is beyond adorable.
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      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2074.7)
    I walked by a comic book shop yesterday before it was open and there was a big queue outside. Perhaps this explains it.
  3.  (2074.8)
    Elana:

    I do think it makes the neighbourhood think on us a little more favourably, but I'm not convinced it brings in new business or new readers.


    liquidcow:

    I walked by a comic book shop yesterday before it was open and there was a big queue outside. Perhaps this explains it


    Perhaps this discrepancy stems from the difference in country or difference in the type of neighbourhood? Elana speaking from the T[dot] in Canada and liquidcow speaking from southerly Bournemouth in the UK, it's interesting to see how both country's reactions fared to it.

    As an experiment in fanning the flame of interest in comics I'd have to say that from my friends and the amount of people on Whitechapel who picked something up, it has worked. Here it must be stated that interest does not equal business.

    My thoughts, although small and Londoncentric, are that for an industry which is perceived as a lesser literary culture in the UK [by the masses, not the minority - don't worry, I don't hold the view] often discussed as Ghetto-ization by the sci-fi critic Roger Luckhurst and his PhD students at Birkbeck, British Sci-Fi still has to wrestle with its own position in the literary hierarchy yet across the pond, sc-fi is more accepted, celebrated and encouraged.

    Perhaps Free Comic Book Day fared well here in the UK because we think of comics as far less than the Richard and Judy Reader's Club novel of the week. Whereas in the North America, there are far more comic conventions, it is discussed, encouraged and far more accepted as an art form.

    Here, some holes in my argument could be brought to light: Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, our very own Mr Ellis; all are British writers; yet I would say that they are received, published and celebrated far more in North America than they are here in the UK. Although I wish this were not the case and, please correct me everyone if I'm wrong, I think that most headquarters of comics companies - whether small or large and not including 2000a.d. - are in the US.

    So, in summation, North America may see Free Comic Book Day as a day of not so much worth because there is already an accepted burgeoning comic book scene whereas it is an important day to the UK to encourage acceptance and improvement through awareness thus funding so that we may reach the stage that comic books are respected as well as novels or a collection of poetry.

    *You give me reports, I give you [appetising as it is ;-)] Internet sweat.
  4.  (2074.9)
    The comic shop my wife and I own/run is quite fond of FCBD, actually -- we spend the morning delivering care-packages of comics for local hospital childrens' wards, libraries, etc.

    For us, it's not about generating "new" sales or anything*; in many cases, it's young children -- in some cases VERY young children -- who are having their first experience ever SEEING a comic book. We use FCBD to make sure that the experience is as positive and fun as possible. May not translate into immediate sales, but we typically see them back, often the very next day.

    Our big winners were OWLY, which a whole bunch of kids instantly fell in love with; oddly, the GYRO GEARLOOSE Disney issue did well for us, as well. The grownups gravitated toward Dan Dare, Hellboy, and All Star Superman, so that was nice. Good books all.

    Other retailers' mileage may vary, but FCBD is always a shot in the arm for us, and a great form of community outreach, if properly marketed. If I had one gripe, it was the very short-sighted move by Marvel, not having a standalone IRON MAN for FCBD, because a rather large number of people came in looking for Iron Man. The trio issue of Iron Man, Spider Man and Hulk was okay, but most of the younger crowd were really in the throes of Tony Love after the movie--just didn't WANT Spidey or Hulk getting in the way. Sigh.

    * (Somehow, we seem to manage to do quite well there, too; record breaking day for us, second only to the Grand Opening of our new location on March 1.)

    -E
  5.  (2074.10)
    Here, some holes in my argument could be brought to light: Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, our very own Mr Ellis; all are British writers; yet I would say that they are received, published and celebrated far more in North America than they are here in the UK.

    There's not really a British comics industry for us to publish in, any more. Can't speak for Alan or Grant, but I'd love to publish in Britain. However, the only option right now is 2000AD, and I don't want to give my rights up.
  6.  (2074.11)
    Our big winners were OWLY


    In a just comic world: every child on the planet would have Owly stuck in their hands, and Andy Runton would live in a house made of money.

    And yes, Marvel should have had more Tony ready; Marvel could have launched Fraction's book this week*, but I think it is next Wednesday right?

    * I am aware this week was the last issue of the The Order, an April solicit, and more so Invincible Iron Man is a May solicit.
  7.  (2074.12)
    we spend the morning delivering care-packages of comics for local hospital childrens' wards, libraries, etc


    @ Eric:

    That's a really pertinent point: I think that Free Comic Book day should be about this and it's great that you're doing that. Just for interests sake, can I ask where you live? Oh, and congrats on the record breaking day.

    @ Warren:

    My friends and I have been looking into buying a printing press for the last two years. It's a surprisingly little amount of money if a few of you club together for one but I've no idea how we'd go about setting up a comic/monthly magazine publishing business. We've been talking about being able to publish creator owned stuff by fueling a steady income with something niche but accessible with good, regular writers. Although seeming a tad 'long game' we've been gathering writers for those two years also and simply knocking into walls due to other engagements and so on. Do any of your other forums have anything comprehensive in that direction?

    Edited to add: Sorry Warren, I'm scouring Panel and Pixel now - ignore my previous question. Cheers.
    •  
      CommentAuthorElana
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2074.13)
    ap Minos:

    Mine and liquidcow's comments don't describe a discrepancy. My shop had a queue outside when I got there in the morning as well. This does not mean that there are now more people paying for comics in the world.
  8.  (2074.14)
    I thought FCBD had pretty slim pickings this year, except for Hellboy, which was ace! Stranded was ok, I'm always a sucker for Carey and Daniel Daring was more interesting than I thought it would be but not enough to get me to fork out the hard earned for it.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2074.15)
    I was mostly grabbing for others this year, the only ones I picked up for myself were All-Star Superman and Hellboy, both of which were tops. Big Brain was certainly more packed than usual, from one 50-something guy educating another about some of what's out there(looks like another new Buffy reader) to a mother bringing in a half dozen or so little kids for at least the freebies, certainly made the store fairly lively. Dreamhaven, for whatever reason, doesn't do FCBD, but they do put on a big sale, and in combing through the bin, I snagged a trio each of (Elsa) Bloodstone and X-51 comics, worth it just to see what they were like before Warren got ahold of them. And of course, ended the day with a $50 hole in my wallet thanks to some DC trades(starting in on Batgirl, Birds of Prey, and Manhunter).
  9.  (2074.16)
    Elana:

    Mine and liquidcow's comments don't describe a discrepancy. My shop had a queue outside when I got there in the morning as well. This does not mean that there are now more people paying for comics in the world.


    Indeed, I agree. Sorry if my point came across like that but I was trying to address "interest..not...business." I think it's great that both had queues outside in both countries and it's good to see the day doing its job.

    @ProfSructure - I'm hoping Dan[iel's] Dare[ing] will take some dark, absurd and in-depth gruesome turns due to Mr. G. Ennis' previous works with our good hero Dan Dare's stiff upper lip flinching only once - when someone stole his pipe tobacco! ;-) I think I'll get the first ten and see how it goes.
  10.  (2074.17)
    @ ap Minos

    That's a really pertinent point: I think that Free Comic Book day should be about this and it's great that you're doing that. Just for interests sake, can I ask where you live? Oh, and congrats on the record breaking day.


    Our shop can be found in Lacey, Washington, US. (Not sure if it's cool to post the addy here, as that pretty much counts as "spamming," in my book, but contact me privately, and I'll be happy to point you at us. mercuryeric - at - gmail.)

    And thank you! It was a pretty good day, all told. :)
  11.  (2074.18)
    As far as I'm aware the only place in Glasgow that took part in FCBD was a place in the less than desirable area of Castlemilk.

    People would probably have picked up 'All-Star Superman' for the fact that Frank Quitely was signing in the shop too.


    Will