Patrick: There’s one question that keeps rolling through my head in reading FCBD issues: who is this for? For retailers, the purpose of the event is self-evident. Stores get throw fun little parties and get some extra bodies in through those doors. And comic fans get to have their own little celebrations as well. But when I’m back in my apartment and it’s just me and books, I can’t help but wonder about everyone’s experience with their new free comics. Did the twelve year-old with Batman on his shirt get a kick of Divergence 1 because it was the “robo-Batman one?” (Those are the comic store employee’s words, not the kid’s). Were any new life-time fans born today? Or were some potential fans alienated? And what about those of us with extensive pulls? Did we get something out of this? Who are these comics for? Continue reading
First held in 2002 to capitalize on the anticipated release of the first Spider-Man film, Free Comic Book Day has grown into one of the most celebrated annual events in comics. For some comics shops, FCBD has turned into a comic con in miniature, complete with artist signing, cosplayers, and food vendors; for others, it’s more of a low-key excuse to come in on a Saturday (and hopefully put comics in some new readers’ hands). Living across the country, we of course had very different experiences this FCBD. Here are our thoughts.
Spencer: I remember being a little disappointed the very first time I attended Free Comic Book Day (nearly a decade ago!) and realized I couldn’t have any comic I wanted for free. Since then, though, I’ve come to appreciate how magical FCBD truly is — especially as done by my local comic shop, Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware. FCBD is a Comic-Con in miniature, a chance to unite a community of nerds of all shapes and sizes, and a glimpse at the next generation of comic book readers as they begin to fall in love with the medium. I couldn’t have had a better time.
Today, Drew and Peter are discussing Phantom Stranger 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Phantom Stranger 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Drew: I don’t remember when it is that I first stumbled across William Safire’s cheekily ironic Rules for Writers, but the last rule, “Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives,” has managed to nestle itself in my editing subconscious. I make a point of eliminating any cliche I see on the site (the odd exception aside), which has effectively lowered my tolerance for reading them. It rarely becomes a problem — this is one of the most well-known axioms in writing, after all — but every so often, I’ll come across a piece that indulges in cliches to excess, it’s beyond distracting. The Phantom Stranger 0 is one such example, offering sequences that are so dense with cliches, it’s hard to remember that this story was published in 2012.
Today, Patrick, Drew, Peter and Shelby are discussing The New 52 1, originally released on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th, 2012.
Patrick: Now that the dust has settled and we’re all able to calm down after a thrilling Free Comic Book Day, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. The issue that DC released was anything but an easy entry-point, packing in more characters and mythology than we’ve seen in any single issue since the relaunch. This book makes a lot of intriguing promises for long-time fans, but I doubt new readers were all that excited to spend 11 pages following a character they’ve never heard of.
Patrick: Comic books are weird. Heroes die, travel through time, visit other universes – and yes, they occasionally punch holes in reality. And yet the biggest barrier most non-readers face is the simple fact that buying comics is a strange process. You have to put together a pull list, visit a special store and you can sink innumerable hours into figuring out what you’re supposed to be reading.
Plus: print media. OH PRINT MEDIA! Magazines, newspapers, regular books – all printed media is becoming increasingly unprofitable. So ten years ago, The Powers That Be decided the only logical conclusion would be to give away free comics once a year at independent comic shops all around the country (oh and Canada too, if that’s your thing).
Now look, you’re at least moderately geeky, right? You’re excited by either The Avengers coming out this weekend or that new Dark Knight Rises trailer, if not both. You don’t even need to invest any money at all to pick up new comics this Saturday. There’s a free Avengers book and there’s a DC New 52 book – and we’re probably going to to write something about it. There are also FORTY OTHER FREE TITLES to grab (I’m so going to get my hands on that Mega Man book if it kills me).
Naturally, all of the Retcon Punchers will be hitting up local comic shops during the day. If you wanna hook up at the store, just sound off in the comments – we’ll be happy to say hello!
Shelby will be at Alley Cat Comics in Chicago, Illinois
Peter will be at Fanfare Sports and Entertainment in Kalamazoo, Michigan