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Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Best Free Comic Book Day Ever

Column by Steve Bennett

Published: 05/07/2007 12:00am

Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by retailer Steve Bennett of Mary Alice Wilson's Dark Star Comics in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett tells us about Free Comic Book Day 2007 -- the best ever.

 

It really was.  The turnout was amazing (we had twenty people waiting to get in when we opened at 10 a.m.), composed of equal parts people who specifically came out for Free Comic Book Day and those who knew nothing about it.  This year it was my turn to pass out the comics and found it fairly easy to find something for either group; naturally Spider-Man:  Swing Shift and Justice League #0 were crowd pleasers but the 'civilians' seemed just as happy with their copies of Gumby or Unseen Peanuts.  A lot of copies of The Umbrella Academy were given out by just saying, 'It's written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance.'  And I can't tell you how many girls (interestingly enough it was always girls) who exclaimed 'It's Owly!' when they spotted his FCBD comic next to Little Archie.

 

But there were some other things of note this week...

 

The Last Issue OF 52

Well it worked, and without a single late issue.  And if nothing else 52 managed to give us a post-modern take on the Metal Men that might actually sell to a modern audience (I'm going to go ahead and give the credit to Grant Morrison; no one else could have come up with his elegant, slightly demented explanation of how they worked).

 

But it is interesting to note the whole point of the original Crisis was to simplify the DC Universe so new readers (let's not kid ourselves; new Marvel readers) could jump on board without having to memorize all the multiple earths stuff.  As an old guy I have to admit it's kind of nice having the multiverse back, but it's hard not to read an 'if you don't get it who needs you?' attitude in back of it.

 

Now the only question is; will those wonderful steady sales (and interest in back issues going back a year) transfer to Countdown?

 

Spider-Man:  Swing Shift

When I finally sat down and read Spider-Man:  Swing Shift I was more than a little amazed to discover a an absolutely wonderful 'classic' Spider-Man story, in short, one absolutely perfect for the people who love the Spider-Man movies.  But sadly Joe Quesada has confirmed it's not in continuity, so anyone who went out and saw Spider-Man 3 (wouldn't it have been cool if they had put a # in the title, just for us?) and wanted to read about a similar character would find themselves hopelessly lost reading current Marvel comics.

 

If nothing else this underlines that there should be at least one title featuring the Marvel 'tentpole' characters (Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, etc.) which has nothing to do with the latest hysterical, over-hyped 'event.'  Especially now that publishing multiple titles featuring the same characters seems to be the cornerstone of Marvel's publishing strategy.

 

Did anyone else out there receive a box of Fantastic Four:  Rise of the Silver Surfer posters in the mail?  Enclosed was a nice little note asking us to hand them out on Free Comic Book Day.  I can foresee the day when contributing something to FCBD will become an essential part of a company's marketing plan, if they're trying to sell their character to the youth market.

 

Say you've been developing an animated series which is going to be launched as both a Nickelodeon animated series and a line of videogames starting in the fall.  What better (and relatively inexpensive) way to introduce your main character to the all important demographic than via a custom comic featuring them?

 

Spider-Man 3

You know you're getting older when staying out late on a school night again becomes a big thing, but even though it meant getting home around 3 a.m. I agreed to join a bunch of guys from the store and go see the Thursday midnight showing of Spider-Man 3. Store manager Tad Cleveland got the tickets from Fandango and we were set.

 

So of course on Wednesday we received free movie passes for a sneak preview of Spider-Man for the following day.  At 7 p.m.

 

Now this came as something of a surprise.  In the past I've mentioned how Dark Star regularly received free movie passes for sneak previews from a marketing firm, but the films have always tended to be either youth oriented comedies (Orange County, Super Troopers) or genre pictures (The Medallion, The Messengers, etc.), smaller movies that needed as much positive word of mouth advertising as they could get.  At least that has always been my interpretation of why they were doing what they doing.

 

So it seemed a little odd getting passes for Spider-Man 3; did someone really think we were unaware of it or be unlikely to go see it?  The only thing I can think of is with all the money riding on a strong opening weekend they obviously didn't want to take the chance we'd wait a week or two before we went.

 

And you hardly argue with $148 million...

 

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.

 

We want to hear your story!  If you're a retailer with a story to tell about your Free Comic Book Day 2007 experience, please send us your report.  Click here for info on how to send us your Talk Back comment.  If you have digital images, just attach them to your e-mail when you send in your story.

 
 
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Column by Steve Bennett
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