For the last few years cartoonists attempted to make May 5th “National Cartoonist’s Day“, mainly by asking syndicated strip cartoonists to mention it in their May 5th strips. There wasn’t much else to it, really. It was supposed to be meant as a way to make people aware of cartooning as a profession, but I still haven’t quite figured out how a self proclaimed holiday would do that. This year I heard nothing about “National Cartoonists Day” in the funnies, so I don’t know if that idea is ag oner or just on hiatus.
May 5th was a bigger deal this year in that it was the annual “Free Comic Book Day” in participating comic shops, which happens the first Saturday in May. This has been going on for a few years now, and I was pretty skeptical about what kind of effect it would have on promoting comics and comic book shop sales. The premise is that participating shops have a selection of free comics provided by comic book companies and other sponsors. The comic’s selection depends on your particular store, but they range from the very kid friendly to the fairly adult orientated stories, although nothing too nasty from what I saw. There are a lot of sponsors, and this year was the sixth time the event was held.
Is “Free Comic Book Day” making a difference in promoting comics and comic shops? Number one son Tommy and I went to our weekly comic book day store this past Saturday as usual. We always get their about lunchtime and there are always just one or two browsers in the store at the time. This time the place was packed. There was a checkout line and people were buying several book as well as getting their choices of free comics. We were told to take up to one copy of everything if we wanted, and we chose an “Amazing Spider-Man“, “Transformers“, “Justice League” and “The Legion of Super-Heroes“, plus we got some cool Hero-Clix toys. All the freebies were special issues with “Free Comic Book Day” and a stamp with the comic book shop name and info on the covers.
It was great to see the place packed with parents and kids, eager looks on their faces as they had a fist full of comics and you knew they’d be read, re-read, rolled up in their back pockets and shared with their friends.
It reminded me of the old days. Viva “Free Comic Book Day”! I’ll remember to promote it ahead of time next year.
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