Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Filler: Bill's Free Comic Book Day

Tomorrow, May 1, 2010, is Free Comic Book Day. For those of you out there who are not  comic book geeks, FCBD is the day your local comic book shoppe passes out free comics to one and all, in a misguided effort to lure new customers into reading comic books. What actually happens of course, is that new customers don't show up, and people who already read comics get a whole bunch of free ones. Still, it's a nice idea.

In the spirit of Free Comic Book Day, and in keeping with my new concept of posting old work I have sitting around, here is a comic from me. For free. It's the first part of Kaptain Keen and Kompany #3, from 1987. This was a comic my dear pal Gary Fields and I produced during the Black & White comic boom of the mid-eighties. If you missed the whole story behind this comedic masterpiece, click here.

Here's Part One. Part Two will follow presently, unless objections from viewers are numerous. Keep in mind this is 23 (!) years old, ignore the typos and other obvious errors, and enjoy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Kaptain Keen! Thank you!

May 3, 2010 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger SNeelyArt said...

Actually new people DO in fact show up for Free Comic Day but they only show up ONCE a year! They grab their new free comic (or buy some of the other Free ones for .50 each) and you don't see them again till next year. Sad but true. That's all I've seen for 6-7 years of doing free sketches for people at Captain Blue Hen...and he has like 1,600 people show up every year! Kids maybe, maybe get one more comic off the shelf for $2.50 but that's all.

People come in and want their free sketch and then their free comic. It's mostly a failure from my point of view from the trenches... The regulars who frequent the shop every Wednesday already got a set of the books (since the stores gets them like a month early)and they stay away knowing that it's a madhouse of families who want free comics... There was a large section of dollar books too that did well.

I don't even read that much anymore when it comes to new stuff. I bought the new Marvel Adventures Spider-man #1 and it's now $3.99! The hell with that! I'll download scans of it. All I read now is the old stuff...

Ah, the good ol days...

May 4, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Anonymous- So you're the one!

Scott- I think you're observations apply to all the stores that participated in FCBD. Running a comic shop must be a rough job. As you noted, the prices they charge don't help, either.

While on the subject of Scott, you young cartoonists out there should check out his blog and watch the videos of him drawing various iconic characters. Great stuff.

May 5, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger SNeelyArt said...

Thanks, Bill for my video plug.

Most stores will in fact say FCBD is a success and can make a decent amount of money for the day if they diversify and have people in costumes there, face painting, kids games, art lessons that I and other artists did, and food. More like a block party event.

A LOT of stores just order small amounts of the books and have around 5 people show up. They then package them up and make complete sets and sell them on eBay to some investor who thinks the comics on Free Comic Book Day from 2004 will be worth something.

There are stores that do a great job with the day but most, if they are honest about it, will say that most of the people who come in will never come back again during the year. But they still call the day a success.

I've done a school speaking engagement or 19 in my time and the last one, which I mentioned on my blog, was for a 'comic book club' at an elementary school. I got a store and DC Comics to donate books to the club. Two long boxes of books! I guarantee that those books are the ONLY books those kids will get unless I showed up again this year with more.

My next door neighbor has a little girl and I gave her some Archie comics. Her mother was like "oh, they still make these?" But her daughter looked them over and liked them but she's not seeking out more on her own unless I give them to her.

I really started collecting comics in 1982 with Amazing Spider-Man #231. It had a great story and a GREAT last page of Spider-Man holding a captured villain called the Cobra as his partner in crime, Mr. Hyde, loomed over Spidey and threatened him. Spidey goes "Oh, Boy." and the caption bar goes "To Be Continued"... needless to say, I simply HAD to find out what happened next!!! I had never read a comic that had to be continued before since most comics I had read in the 70s were self contained stories. And I found out the following week when a friend and I rode our bikes all the way over to another newspaper seller in a different zip code and saw his comics he was selling and he just put out #232! I was in heaven. That does not happen at all anymore. Kids have way too many diversions nowadays.

These movies like Iron Man and Jonah Hex aren't selling more comics and Marvel even cancelled their Marvel Adventures Iron Man comic at issue 13. They COULDN'T sell a very reader friendly Iron Man comic when the series was out at the same time as the first movie which was super what does that tell you?

Most stores, if they've been around for a long time, are still around because they diversify their store and sell many things like card games and minature war game stuff like WarHammer or something.

If you opened a store and just sold comics, you'll be out of business in a year, unless you are also doing online sales to help bring in money. Most people do comic shows to try to sell stuff but even those now are giveaways. I can't wait for Wizard Philly this year! Last year I scored a LOT of stuff for 80% off. People are sitting on stuff that won't sell and now they have to blow it out. Sad but true... even my back issues of old comics are pretty worthless now except I still love reading them.

I sound like the bitter old guy anymore... hahahaaha

May 5, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

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