Sunday’s are known for talking heads sitting around tables on television pontificating about the hottest topics of the week. Well, the Graphic Policy team is no exception, and each week we tackle a topic as a team.
This week’s topic?
Does Free Comic Book Day and Halloween Comicfest really bring in new readers?
Brett: I know none of us work in shops, at least none of us that I know of, but in your observations as shoppers, what do you think?
Daphne: To be honest, if it wasn’t something I’m already reading, FCBD doesn’t really do much for me. I don’t know if it’s because the comics are shorter (are they? they always seem shorter to me) or just not the A material because they’re free, but they never feel as strong or as compelling as the monthly stuff. I can’t think of a comic I ever started reading because of Free Comic Book Day, honestly. So I can say for myself that they really don’t, at least where this one reader is concerned.
Brett: Do you all go to either day at your shop? And if you do, what’s the crowd usually like? It seems to be a mix of regulars and parents with kids by me. I have noticed a lot of parents with kids, and the parents don’t know what to get, which makes me think they’re not regulars.
Daphne: I tend to grab whatever’s released digitally for FCBD. I haven’t been to a comic book store since I moved to Portland a couple years ago. I remember the crowd being mostly dads who wanted to get their sons into comics using the free comics, more than anything else.
Sarah: I don’t know if it brings new readers, but FCBD helped me choose a store when I moved to Chicago. It was a good way to see how well they were managed and how the staff treated people who weren’t the stereotypical comics readers.
Alex: I’ve started one series because of FCBD (The Fox from Dark Circle), but by and large I don’t think either day is as effective at attracting new readers as they could be, rather the effectiveness of those days lays in enticing existing fans to new series.
Brett: The stores around me are usually packed for FCBD, but I’m not sure how much long term it helps. I’d love to know if there’s been studies about that, but doubt there have been.
Elana: I wish there were studies. Like so much in the comics industry nothing is scientific, even when it could be.
I do think I see more kids in the shop that date.
I wasn’t aware of the Halloween event.
Alex: The Halloween one is a smaller event, but there are still some cool comics available.
Brett: Is it mostly kids you all see at your local events?
Elana: Kids with their parents plus the hardcore fans. The time I spent Free Comic Book Day in the Long Island burbs that was the case at least. I gave the free kids comics to my nieces and nephews. The second to worst big 2 comic I’ve ever seen was the DC FCBD book the year that the Green Lantern movie came out. It was dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The best free comic book day book was the Avatar the Last Airbender comic a few years back though all of their’s are great.
Alex: I usually head down relatively late in the day and by that point there are few people in the shop that I don’t recognize (and fewer comics left, too), but I usually see more adults and teenagers than kids.
Brett: Does anyone actually plan on going to the Halloween Comicfest this year? I’m doing a day trip, so can’t it this year.
Elana: I’d never heard of it till now. And I go to my LCS every week.
Brett: Do you know if any of your shops plan on doing anything special?
Alex: I’m pretty are my shop will have a few comics in (they did last year), so I’ll head down for it. If nothing else I’ll probably grab a few comics for some non comic reading friends
Brett: Well, that wraps up this week’s chat. For our readers out there, how is FCBD and Halloween Fest at your local shops? Sound off below in the comments.