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Friday, May 2, 2008

Free Comic Book Day is a Bunch of Bullshit

posted by on May 2 at 16:43 PM

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is, in concept, a great thing. Tomorrow, you can walk into just about any comic store and walk out with an armful of free comics. The event is supposed to pump more money into the long-stagnant comic industry by drawing in new readers and get people to see that (some) comics are more than just a bunch of big dudes in spandex punching shit.

Well, FCBD’s supposed to help change that perception. There are plenty of great independent, non-superhero books on the market right now, but FCBD isn’t doing doing much to push those books on the public and, unfortunately, FCBD is really set up to benefit the big two: Marvel and DC

For FCBD, comic shops can order batches of books at cost—about 12-40 cents a book, depending on the title—but in order to get a break on independent books, retailers first have to buy about 250 copies of ten different mostly superhero books. At cost, that only works out to about $50, plus shipping, but according to one local retailer, that pricing scheme is keeping comic shops from promoting indie books.

Aaron Tarbuck, owner of The Dreaming in the University District—full disclosure: that’s where I get my comics—says he’d rather promote books like Atomic Robo than give Marvel and DC more money. “The independent, [who is] probably not even drawing a profit, he’s the guy who needs me to be buying these from him,” Tarbuck says. “The big guys can write this off.”

It’s unfortunate FCBD doesn’t put as much of an emphasis on indie books, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hunt something down when you’re in a comic store tomorrow.
Look for Ganges by Kevin Huizenga, Glamourpuss by Dave Sim or anything by Oni Press. Or just ask your friendly neighborhood comic book guy for a recommendation.


RSS icon Comments


Leah Hayes has a couple of great books out.

Posted by Paulus | May 2, 2008 4:49 PM

So..I can't help but mention how you forgot to put here is an artist's rendition of what Jonah may look like today below the image.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 2, 2008 4:49 PM

It's mostly useless. But it's fun, and sometimes you can find something unexpected. I picked up Joel Priddy's Preposterous Adventures of Ironhide Tom a few a years ago. Which I love.

Posted by tabletop_joe | May 2, 2008 4:50 PM

Fuck Dave Sim. Fuck him and his fucked up misogynistic psycho-Christian bullshit.

But I have to second the Oni Press recommendation.

Posted by Soupytwist | May 2, 2008 4:59 PM

I hope Jonah gives ECB a copy of Glamourpuss.

Posted by Dave | May 2, 2008 5:03 PM

Sounds like you're cheap, Spaghetti-Lee. I thought guys in Rush made a lot more $$

Posted by Udick2 | May 2, 2008 5:10 PM

Comic nerds are GO!

Posted by Paulus | May 2, 2008 5:17 PM

Aaron's shop is the best in town. It's one of a (dangerously) short list of things that keep me in the U district.

Plus, Aaron is, without a doubt, the nicest man alive.

Posted by Joh | May 2, 2008 5:32 PM

I'm going to go to the Comics Dungeon tomorrow and ask them to explain this to me, but from the link you posted only 2 of the 10 comics are "super hero"/spandex Marvel/DC titles.

Are the required to buy more copies of Allstar Superman/X-Men than they are of Hellboy, Bongo or The Stranded?

I assume the Gold comics are sponsoring the program and securing their required placement?

Posted by Dawgson | May 2, 2008 5:47 PM

Worst. Post. Ever.

Posted by Jeff Albertson | May 2, 2008 6:01 PM

I second 8. Aaron is wonderful.

Posted by Abby | May 2, 2008 6:18 PM

damn!!! free comic book day, federal stimulus weekend, gta4 week-- Its gonna be the summer of George!!!

Posted by j | May 2, 2008 6:53 PM

Well... promote the shit you like more. No ones going to do it for you, commie.

Posted by Art | May 2, 2008 7:11 PM

*wah* People are giving away free things, but not free things that I like! Make them give away stuff that I like! Ben and Jerry's only gives away small scoops on free ice cream day!

Posted by Banna | May 2, 2008 7:57 PM

I'm glad that Dave Sim is still producing comics and not, you know, out murdering whores.

Posted by Kiru Banzai | May 2, 2008 8:04 PM

Way too cynical a post, dude, and maybe you should be putting more of the hate on your friendly local comic shop and less of it on FCBD. Both the shops here in Spokane load up on indy comics every year, even if they do get more DC and Marvel, but that's what most of the kids want to read.

There have been FCBD editions of Owly each of the last two years, IIRC. That's a good book.

Posted by Ryan | May 2, 2008 9:21 PM

Last year had the unseen peanuts book and a few other good ones. Also, some local person put out free copies of their comic zine. It was a good day.

Posted by stinkbug | May 2, 2008 11:52 PM

Dave Sim is still alive and a Christian?! Uhm...I remember cutting him some slack (not much) when he wrote that essay about how being a comic geek is like being gay...

Posted by Cath | May 3, 2008 11:32 AM

Oh, okay, so that's what happened to him:

Posted by Cath | May 3, 2008 12:00 PM

Don't be hating. Let's be honest- the Big Two produce a LOT of very well-written, well-drawn comics. The other publishers, frankly, do not.

FCBD isn't a conspiracy. It's an attempt to promote comics _in general_. DC and Marvel benefit more because they have 90% market share, not because they're trying to keep smaller publishers down. The store I went to today had plenty of alternative comics available.

Posted by supergp | May 3, 2008 3:58 PM

Comics Dungeon had run out of the free X-Men but still had a wide assortment of indie comics. I don't know if this was because they'd ordered more alternative comics or the nature of customer demand. FCBD is a great opportunity to evangelize comics and sample things I wouldn't have otherwise picked up.

And it's right across the street from Rancho Bravo!

Posted by Dawgson | May 3, 2008 5:55 PM

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