And so it came to pass that we did sell out of our new Fantastic Four issue, not to passers-by driven into our establishment by a fancy press release and the promise of earth-shattering change, but mostly to regular customers, most of whom were already readers of the book and just wanted the latest installment, uninterested they were in the publicity shenanigans that surrounded it.
And poor ol’ Employee Aaron, who did his darnedest to avoid spoilers, staying away from the internet, averting his eyes from the news, only to to take a phone call at the shop Wednesday morning whereupon he heard this:
“Hey, do you have that Fantastic Four comic where [name of FF member who allegedly kicked the bucket] dies?”
Oh, Aaron, you and your youthful dreams of a spoiler-free zone! Not in the hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners world of comics retail, my friend!
We did receive another phone call or two inquiring about the issue’s availability, but otherwise…no huge deluge of demand. Just another busy New Comics Day, selling plenty of funnybooks. Also, a photo was taken of me wearing deely boppers, and who knows when and where that’ll turn up, Andres.
In yesterday’s comments, reader Alex asked
“Is there ever an effort at the store to capture more of the potential audience during stuff like this, by say, pulling up a box of dollar bin FF issues, or ordering a few extra reprints of steady selling, intro friendly trades?”
No, if only because past experience has shown that, in general, non-comic-readers who just come in on that one day for the item they saw about on the news will not buy anything else. In this particular case, we didn’t see any new faces this time around anyway, so it would have been a moot point.
A caveat: past experience has also shown that on the very rare occasion a media-driven customer actually returns to the shop after that Hot Item: Day One sales date, sometimes that means they’re slightly more open to the idea of comics as Entertainment Option rather than Means of Putting My Children Through College, Someday. It doesn’t happen very often, but often enough that it’s worth the effort to put on the top hats, polish up the monocles, and be on our best behavior, in the hopes that any of these new faces will remember that nice shop with all the funnybooks and maybe, just maybe, return to us when the need arises.
So, ultimately, at the very least hyped media events and Free Comic Book Days and tie-in movies remind people out there in the real world that comic books and comic shops still exist, and sometimes that’s enough.