Yesterday, I saw a blurb that today was Free Comic Book Day, and that comic book stores nationwide would be giving away free comics to anyone who stopped in. I’m generally not a comic reader, although I did enjoy some of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics a while back, but I was intrigued by the idea, which is “to reach out to those individuals unfamiliar with the comic book specialty market, not to mention a comic book shop.” I was also curious to see what comics might have to offer, so I dragged my husband and son into our local store to check it out.
I found that I was generally underwhelmed by the selection of free comics. Granted, we didn’t go until late afternoon, and I knew we were in trouble when I saw the sign on the door that said, “We open at 11. Line forms here.” So I assume there would have been a greater selection of comics if we’d come earlier.
However, the problem with the comics that were available is that most of them fell into two categories: kids’ comics, and superhero comics, neither of which interest me. If the point of the promotion is to attract new readers, it seems to me that there would be an advantage in showing a wider range of comics that might appeal to more new people. For example, as a fantasy/sf reader, I had hoped to find some good sff comics to check out. (I know they must be out there). I looked at the list of comics offered on the Free Comic Book Day web site, and there are a couple that would have interested me, but unfortunately they weren’t available in my store.
I picked up the Oni Press Free For All, because it includes a story from The Crogan Adventures, which I was curious to see since Crogan’s Vengeance was a Cybils finalist. I also picked up one called Weathercraft, just because it looked different and unusual, although I’m afraid it might be too unusual for me: on a quick look, I don’t understand it, but I want to spend more time with it and see.
But I’m most excited about the book that I bought: the hardcover of The Stand: Captain Trips, the first part of the graphic novel adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, one of my favorite books of all time. I’m looking forward to seeing the artwork and how the book was adapted to the form (once I can get it away from my son, who is already immersed in it). So for me, at least, the promotion was successful, because I, a non-comic reader, went into a comic store and came out with something that excited me. It just wasn’t free.
FTC Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon.com Associate links, and I receive a small percentage of any sales made through the links