A few pieces about Free Comic Book Day.

§ May 8th, 2017 § Filed under free comic book day § 5 Comments


And that was your 16th annual Free Comic Book Day, completed this past weekend at your local funnybook emporium. If you’re a fan, hopefully you had fun at your shop and got the comics you wanted. If you’re a retailer, hopefully you had plenty of happy folks come through your doors.

Not much to report from my end, aside from a nice increase in business over the previous year, making this once again a huge success, not just in terms of profitability, but in getting lots of free comics into the hands of an enormous amount of people. Didn’t have a special guest this time, but that didn’t seem to quell the crowds. We had a full house from the get-go, and I could barely turn away from the register for more than a moment for at least the first couple of hours. I only managed to snap a couple of photos this time around, and only after the initial rush slowed just slightly, which you can see on the store site.

Other notes/observations:

  • Saw lots of little boys and girls picking out comics, including one four-year-old girl who told me her favorite character was Swamp Thing and thereby became Sterling Silver Comics’ #1 Customer.
  • Had a couple of folks visiting from out of town thank me for not putting a limit on the number of different comics they could take. Longtime readers know that I prefer no restrictions, though I have learned to be sympathetic to stores that place limits if, like for financial reasons, they don’t have a lot to go around. But these folks told me their store only allowed two FCBD books per person, and, hoo boy. That’s not “Free Comic Book Day comics are free with purchase” wrong, but man, that seems awfully stingy. I mean, who knows what that store’s particular situation was, but if things were that tight, I’m surprised they participated at all.
  • Related is the fact that despite the fact that I had no limits, the nightmare scenario that I’ve had thrown in my face in the past by people objecting to this particular policy did not come to pass, and all my FCBD comics didn’t disappear into the hands of the first customers through the door. Yes, some people did take one of each, and that’s totally fine, but a lot more people were a little more selective this year versus previous years. Many voluntarily took only two or three comics, despite constant reassurance that yes, you could take whatever you wanted. Despite having more people come into the shop for this year’s FCBD (and more people spending money!) the actual free comic stock didn’t diminish quite as quickly.
  • The most popular books for me this year were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob and Rick and Morty. There were many requests for a Sonic the Hedgehog freebie, and perhaps Archie should have gone for one of those again this year, given the somewhat lackadaisical performance of their Betty and Veronica and (surprisingly) Riverdale comics this time around. The Marvel/DC titles did fine, with Guardians of the Galaxy being the big winner, which should come as no surprise given the timing. (Also sold a bunch of the regular GOTG issues, from all dozen or so current series, off the new comics rack.)
  • Saw a few faces I hadn’t seen in a while (“Hey, didn’t you manage Ralph’s Comic Corner?” I heard a couple of times).
  • No real problems this time. One person did try to hold up the line at the register a bit by asking me about pricing and grading his old comics, and, uh, yeah, maybe right now isn’t the time for that?
  • Nothing to do really with FCBD, but I did open up a coin roll for the register at one point, and it was filled entirely with Bicentennial quarters. I took that as a good omen.
  • It was a tad rainy that morning, which I thought would curtail my usual FCBD plans for having a table of bargain comic boxes in front of the store for perusal. Thankfully, rain wasn’t a problem…though it did get pretty darn windy later in the day.
  • Alas, Batman only made a cameo appearance this year (as opposed to last year). He was clearly in stealth mode, since I didn’t even notice him come in…I just looked up and there he was!
  • The one downside for a having a big in-store sale on FCBD…having to restock everything. Not that my shelves are bare or anything, and some things I’m glad to see the tail end of, but the racks are a tad bit leaner than what I prefer.
  • Despite not having discounts on toys, I did seem to move a few…especially the Funko Pops which are still going strong after all this time. Amazing the lifespan these Funkos seem to have.

So, Free Comic Book Day…it’s done, it paid for itself, and now everything’s back to normal until…what’s next? Wonder Woman Day? I think that’s right. Had some people ask “why don’t they do FCBD every month?” and I believe my answer to them was “because it would kill me.” But once a year is enough, because I’ll forget how much work it is by the time the next batch of free books pop up in Previews. Anyway, thanks to my girlfriend Nora, my dad, and pal Dorian for helping out, and thanks to everyone who came into the shop…and to all of you for reading all this. Let’s do it all again next year!

5 Responses to “A few pieces about Free Comic Book Day.”

  • Dave Carter says:

    Archie appears to have lost the Sonic license, or at least they aren’t publishing any Sonic comics any more.

  • Randal says:

    My local store allows three per customer. And then +1 for military ID, +1 for student ID, +1 for teacher ID, +1 for costume (even a batman shirt is fine), +1 for bringing in a canned good…and I have three kids I drag along so I really don’t have a problem getting the comics I want…

    Until this year…

    My 5 year old daughter snags the Super Hero Girls and Spongebob books…she’s very excited. My 7-year-old wants the Loud House, so he gets that. My 8-year-old also wants Loud House…OK, sure. I pick up a couple that I want, and start giving them to the kids so they each have three.

    My 7-year-old starts screaming in the middle of the very crowded store: “You’re stealing! That’s against the law!”

  • Dean says:

    Mike, as a retailer, what’s your opinion of Marvel’s HYDRA FCBD promotion?

  • MrJM says:

    I always pass on FCBD for the same reason I pass on Record Store Day, i.e. doesn’t do the retailer any favors to have new potential customers see a big ol’ goon roaming the store.

    — MrJM

  • Casie says:

    Awww, that four-year-old girl Swamp Thing fan. Adorbs.
    So glad the day was a success, Mike! Your store looks so awesome!

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