Free Comic Books – One Day Only

Discussion
May 06, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Call them comic books or graphic novels. Whichever name you prefer, you and consumers across the country can pick one up for free tomorrow in stores participating in the fourth annual National Comic Book Day.

Barry Lyga, a spokesperson for National Comic Book Day, told the Gloucester County Times, “It’s basically a chance to celebrate the art form. People tend to forget it’s an art form just like books or music or TV. What better way to remind them than to give them free comics.”

Bill Wurst, manager of A Plus Cards and Comics in Glassboro, NJ said, “All you have to do is show up and get a free comic book.”

The comic book or graphic novel business is in a period of resurgence with sales increasing 10 percent last year to $325 million.

Special editions of top titles will be given away as part of the promotion including: Batman Strikes!, Uncle Scrooge, Marvel Adventures, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Betty & Veronica and The Simpsons.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on National Comic Book Day and the power of demos to drive sales? What is the best demo (giveaway) program
you’ve ever seen? What made it so?

First, we’ve been informed by younger members of our household tomorrow is National Comic Book Day and we will be going to Rogue Comics. Of course,
we informed them that the grass had better be cut first.

Because of our interest in new music, we’ve found that Apple’s free download music has exposed us to artists sometimes even before we’ve heard them on our
favorite free-form radio station, which beats the heck out of the limited selection offered by standard programmed radio.

George Anderson – Moderator

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4 Comments on "Free Comic Books – One Day Only"


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Rick Moss
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Comic books would seem to be a terrific promotional tool. I think many retailers could use them to draw kids and teens into the store with very little effort. I fondly remember, as a kid, riding my bike the 2 miles to the closest five and dime religiously each week to make sure I grabbed a fresh copy of the latest installments. At 7 cents per copy, it was one of the few things I could pay for on my own. Of course, times have changed, but comics are still priced (relatively speaking) at a price point that leave kids with more money to spend…on drinks, candy…you know, other wholesome stuff. If comic books are indeed in resurgence, could be that a spinner rack near the entrance could work well.

Jim Gaylord
Guest
Jim Gaylord
15 years 9 months ago
Being a HUGE fan of comic books as a kid (I have roughly 3,000 in my collection), I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Moss’ observation that comics “are still priced (relatively speaking) at a price point that leave kids with more money to spend…” At $2.99 a pop, that’s a 648% increase from the $.40 cover price in 1980. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s far outpacing the inflation rate. And with more entertainment diversions than ever competing for kids’ dollars (video games, iPods, cell-phones, etc), the comic book industry has not only turned comics into a legitimate art form (which it is), but they’ve alienated their future customers. Gone are the days of pulling the latest issue of Thor out of your back pocket on the school bus. We now have the world’s top artists and writers creating adult-themed tales on high-quality acid-free paper, which is almost too good to be touched by human hands (and certainly too good to be touched by kids’ hands). At this pace, comic books will… Read more »
James Tenser
Guest
15 years 9 months ago
JRG writes like one who knows. Comics have evolved into a legitimate and sophisticated art form, but they are also in danger of becoming art-ifacts. We have a terrific comics shop here in Tucson (named Heroes) that I have had occasion to browse through. The selection is very impressive, but the content and sensibility is no longer kid-oriented. The owner tells me a large part of his clientele are adult males with plenty of disposable income. The grown-up content of many books reflects this. This is a far cry from the newsprint DC and Marvel comics I used to pore over as a boy in the 60’s, costing 12 cents or a quarter. Now it’s short production runs and fancy paper aimed at the collectors’ market. Heroes sells many of its comics in archival sleeves, and it does a nice business in the perfect-bound comic “novels” that sell for $15 or more. This kind of enthusiast-oriented business doesn’t seem likely to fit in well in a grocery or general merchandise environment. Maybe a few of… Read more »
Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 9 months ago

Demos and giveaways are great, especially when done to draw kids and their families. For proof of that, check out attendance figures for major league games on days with giveaways, and days without. Doesn’t seem to matter what the giveaway is, either. Bobbleheads, caps, pennants, hot dogs, flags, pins, socks, pictures, etc. Giving away a comic book seems fairly expensive, but I guess they get ’em hooked. All kinds of retailers can offer freebies to the first xx number of shoppers or kids. Buying in bulk allows giveaways of promotional items to be inexpensive, at least per shopper.

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