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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free Comic Book Day 2008

I took my 12 year old son over to the local comic book shop this morning for Free Comic Book Day. This is an event held nationally, for a few years now, on the first Saturday in May to help promote public awareness of comic books. The publishers provide to the shops free books to hand out, a sampling of titles in their line. Folks can come in and get some free books and, hopefully, become more regular customers or buy more stuff at the shop on that visit.

That's how it's supposed to work.

That's not how it always works, at least from what I saw today.

We got to the shop at 10:50am. The shop doesn't open until 11. Already there were a half dozen folks lined up waiting. A shop person came about 11am, opened up and was disgruntled to find nothing was set up (he hates to have to do things, it appears). So, he had to get help clearing a spot in the store so they could unpack the free books. When all were out, he told folks to go ahead.

That's when the feeding frenzy happened. It was like vultures at a fresh road kill, or women at a half price shoe sale. A dozen folks, mostly adults mind you and many way older than me, were in there taking one copy of everything. Everything! Thirty plus items at least. In some instances, it was a father and son, or a husband and wife - didn't matter. Each one grabbed one of everything. It was free, they wanted it - end of story!

Sad.

I had told my son before we even got to the shop that the polite thing to do would be to get a couple items apiece and that's all. That allows others to get things too. He got some kid friendly comics with Sonic and the Transformers, plus an Iron Man HeroClix figure. I picked up a copy of Love and Capes, X-Men and Tiny Titans, and also the HeroClix figure.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the shop was completely stripped of Free Comic Book Day books by 11:30am - given how things went in those first fifteen minutes. And, very likely, half of that stuff will likely end up on eBay where someone will try to make some money off of free stuff. It all reminded me of the negative side of the big comic-cons, where folks are there just to get whatever free items they can get their hands on. It really gives comic book fans a bad image.

6 comments:

ApacheDug said...

Martin I've never been to a free Comic Book Day, but always wondered how it went over--what you said here didn't surprise me; but it made for an interesting story.
Still, that's a nice tradition you have with your son & nice to know there are decent guys (and fathers) like yourself out there.

Martin said...

Doug, thanks so much.

Yeah, I've been before to the shop I went to in Raleigh, and they limited customers to three items per person. That made folks really consider what they might want to sample AND it allowed for many people to get a chance at some stuff.

The free-for-all at my current local comic shop was evidence that this limiting is probably a good idea.

KC said...

Stopped by, not my normal shop (which is wayyyy out there but I go because I like the owner) but a closer one, and it was pretty crowded and all, but they had plenty of books and encouraged everyone to take what they wanted.

I took Amelia Rules, Simpsons, and Tiny Titans for my nephews, and All Star Superman (I have GOT to get the rest of these now!)for myself.

Of course, recognizing that they do have to pay for those books, I got Alex Ross' Mythology... that ought to make us even :)

Seriously, when I saw what some stores have done (cbr.com) I was shocked - we just didn't get into it that much, it seemed, but there were a lot of people and especially KIDS and that's the best part.

And I really enjoyed the Superman book. Best comic I've read in years!

KC

Martin said...

KC, I think you'll like the Alex Ross Mythology book. I enjoyed it a lot.

KC said...

Already skimmed through the pictures - man, that book is well worth the money! Can't wait until I have time to sit down and read it.

Any yeas or neas on All Star Superman? That's the first book I've bought from the series, but I've reread it something like five times. It's just... good! Really good! I can't wait until they release it in trade (since I already know that getting all the back issues 2-10 would be cost prohibitive).

KC

Martin said...

KC, I haven't read All-Star Superman. I don't read any of those alternate titles. Sorry.