Free Comic Book Day
May 3, 2002 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 4th, both in the United States and around the world (even Brunei). FCBD offers a variety of comics to help attract new readers and ride the wave of publicity from the Spider-Man movie. Does the offer of a free comic seem likely to bring you into a comic store? Will this have an impact on the general public's perception of comics?
posted by JDC8 (14 comments total)
Great idea, but unfortunately for us non-superhero* comix fans, it dosen't look like Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly are participating, maybe cos they can't take the financial bath a giveaway would entail, although it looks like Evan Dorkin over at the House of Fun is joining in. And hey free is always good.

*not that I have anything against superheros, I love the Silver Surfer for instance, just not my main bag..
posted by jonmc at 10:06 PM on May 3, 2002

It's not all superhero stuff. For example, some stores will have Hopeless Savages. The page also implies that some stores will have Fantagraphics stuff. I think it's likely that Fantagraphics will get stuff to Seattle stores, but we'll find out for certain tomorrow.

I wish I had a video camera though. Lots of comic book people going for free comics sounds like a frightening site.
posted by gluechunk at 10:14 PM on May 3, 2002

my bad...the fatagraphics logo was so small that I musta missed it. I guess I'm still mourning the fact that Hate's just an annual now. Buddy, come home...
posted by jonmc at 10:18 PM on May 3, 2002

I wish more people knew about guys like Harvey Pekar. Not only a great comic book writer but also a music critic (comic at and even literary critic who happens to work as a file clerk.
posted by vacapinta at 10:30 PM on May 3, 2002

I'd STRONGLY recommend, since I see the Cartoon Books logo down on gleuchunk's last link, that if they are in fact giving away any of Jeff Smith's Bone comics - either already printed stuff, or specially done for the event - that anyone near any site go and grab the thing. The Bone series is the closest in the last three decades to the classic "Carl Barks' Donald and Scrooge comic adventure-type storytelling and art" genre of comic book - which is to say, it's neither superhero or "alternative", just classic. These things tend to come along once in a generation or thereabouts, so get on the bandwagon if you're at all interested.
posted by yhbc at 10:39 PM on May 3, 2002

sorry, forgot to close my tags -

posted by yhbc at 10:44 PM on May 3, 2002

vacapinta: I hadn't heard about Mr. Pekar until your post. As they say, if your message reaches just *one* metafilter reader, you've done your job.

He is a great literary critic and while I doubt I'll find his stuff at a local comic store, I will keep an eye out.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:02 PM on May 3, 2002

Amen to the Bone comic series. It's a shame they don't sell them around my area anymore.
posted by GirlFriday at 4:54 AM on May 4, 2002

Everyone should read Sandman.

In high school, alongside the Odyssey and Beowulf. :)
posted by Foosnark at 7:59 AM on May 4, 2002

Other stuff that may be available and is worth checking out:

El Capitan (Stray Bullets/Matrix Flip Book) -- Stray Bullets early run is some of the noirest comix ever -- the first issue alone is worth hunting for.

Hate and Eightball from Fantagraphics -- not my favorites, but definitely not superheroes (early issues of Hate are worth searching for)

Top Shelf -- whatever they are offering.

I agree that it's too bad more alt comix folks aren't participating -- this free day wouldn't get me in a comic shop because most comic shops are too creepy.
posted by elgoose at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2002

vacapinta: Pekar retired last fall, according to my pal who's a coworker. (Former subordinate of Pekar, now former boss. He even appeared on one cover -- carrying the file carrel down the stairs.)

skallas, I think the comics industry is desperate enough that they'll try anything. Did you know that industry sales have falled eighty percent since peaking in 1995?

The previous time there was a big coordinated event, it was the reprint of Superman #1, which attracted a bunch of people to comic book stores ... to buy a comic book they weren't interested in for a completely hype-driven sense of its future value, which remains barely above the retail price. This was widely viewed as a strategic mistake. The people who bought weren't interested, they were uneducated "collectors".

This event, on the other hand, is intent on introducing people to a variety of titles with a view to turning them into monthly purchasers. That gets them into comics outlets regularly, where they might find more. Will this, by itself, turn the industry around? No -- but it's a lot more intelligent way to approach the problem.
posted by dhartung at 8:58 AM on May 4, 2002

thanks, dhartung. I had heard about the American Splendor movie but the thought of it makes me shudder for some reason.

I'm not too impressed by these comic handouts. I usually try to get intelligent friends into comics by showing them stuff like Concrete or some of the classics (controversial list warning!) in the genre.

I got into comics as a kid via the Fantastic Four. I was introduced to more "mature-themed" comics by my college roommate Hypatia Sanders, now an online culture critic. I've inducted a few people on my own by luring them with bait like Moore's Watchmen.
posted by vacapinta at 9:47 AM on May 4, 2002

Before I mention what comics I like, I'd like to remind everyone about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- preserving free speech rights for cartoonists. S'important.

OK. Besides Action Girl, Milk & Cheese, and Hectic Planet (all of which can be found at JonMC's "House of Fun" link, above) I also love Gloomcookie (awesome gothy comic), Blue Monday (brings me back to my Eighties adolescence), Charm School (about a cute lesbian witch, woo), Artbabe (about all sorts of things -- well-written and drawn, you must read this), Fushigi Yugi (manga!), and any of the aforementioned "Sandman" spinoffs, including "Lucifer" and the now-departed "Dreaming." Watchmen is excellent, as is Kyle Baker's "Why I Hate Saturn." Oh, and Fillerbunny. Mustn't forget Fillerbunny.

OK, I think I'm done now...
posted by metrocake at 1:09 PM on May 4, 2002

Just to add to the Cake's list of great comix, Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson is a phenomenal chronicle of young adulthood,(bound collection here) and Hildy(the blonde with the braids) is the only comix character I have ever developed a raging crush on.

God, I am such a geek
posted by jonmc at 6:38 PM on May 4, 2002

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