Free Comic Book Day, the first-ever industry-wide promotion for comics, was held May 3, 2002 across North America and around the world.  We asked comic retailers to tell us how it went, and they did! 


Corbit Wilkins, president of Captain Comics, Inc., Boise,  Meridian, and Idaho Falls, ID

To let you know how the FCBD went for us:

We ordered 1,000 of each of the Ultimate Spider-Man and Star Wars, and closer to 50 - 100 of each of the other books available.  We contacted the media outlets (only the newspaper followed up with anything), and had a booth at Edwards Theatre for the Spider-Man premier!  Although it wasn't the actual Free Comic Book Day, we handed out our Ultimate Spider-Man books to everyone at the theatre on Friday afternoon with a flyer letting them know that there were more books available at our 2 store locations (along with another comic store in the area).  Our Idaho Falls store had the Edwards booth on Saturday.


On Saturday, our stores sold over double our normal sales, and we had many new faces show up for the free books!  I can't say how this will look in the long run, but it certainly looks like a home run for us right now!  New faces, great movie, and worldwide media coverage spells potential success for the future!  I can only hope that the comic companies are willing to do this every year!  I know I will do it again if the opportunity presents itself!


Steven L. Myers of World of Comics, South Daytona, FL

I entered this promotion with low expectations.  I am a small shop (1000 sq. ft.) in a strip mall and most of my business is a loyal group with the occasional tourist or drive by customer.  I did not promote the event in my store.  I was more curious to see if the outside promotions (like Sci-Fi Channel) would draw in customers.  They didn't have to be new customers but they had to hear about it somewhere else then me.  I did run an ad in a local small press paper to see if advertising in the paper would help.  I figured that if I got five people in the store that heard about it, it would be a success.  I was pleasantly surprised that the day end total was ten.  They heard about the event on the Sci-Fi Channel and the Internet.  One saw my ad in the paper.


I hope this helps.


P.S.: I participated in a comic show in town the next day where I asked the promoter to give the rest of the comics away at the door.


Jerry Ringi, co-owner of Amazing Fantasy, Chesapeake, VA  

Saturday was the first company-sponsored event in which the retail stores of the direct market and the public benefited more than the publisher, printer, distributor, artist, writer, etc., did.


On Saturday I had people waiting for me to open the doors.  Once I was opened I was crowded all day long as people came through the door looking for the free comics.  Most of these people also purchased items for sale.


Since I was there alone all day I had a tough time finding enough time to slip off to the bathroom and lunch was a wash, but it was well worth it.  I had pushed this event to all customers for the last three weeks and posted signs throughout the store.  When parents came in with their young children, looking for a comic for them, I would let them know about Free Comic Book Day coming on May 4th.  They were surprised when I told them to come on in and that no purchase was required.  Also told them that they could get one as well.


At the end of the day we had done over 4 times the amount of money during a normal Saturday at Amazing Fantasy.  Was it a success?  Yes, for that day it was and I'm hopeful that I will see some of the new faces back in the store in the weeks ahead.


The leftover books I keep to give out to my pullers who could not make it in and to young kids who come into the shop in the days to come.  I made sure that I invested in more than I needed in order to continue this program for weeks to come.


Congratulations to all who made this a reality.


What can we do to follow this up?  This was only a first shot and we need additional shots.


Frank Story of The Alternative Factor, Punxsutawney, PA 

I've had the best response ever from not only my regular customers but also my new customers.  

Thank you very much.


For reactions and comments by Joe Field, the retailer that came up with FCBD, see 'Joe Field on Free Comic Book Day.'

For other comments, see:

'Comic Kings, The Bookshelf, All-Star Comics & Games and Atlas Comics on FCBD'

'Anthony Furfferi from Empire Comics on FCBD'

'Ron's Collectors World and Acme Comics on FCBD'

'Tim Davis of Alternate Reality on FCBD'


For background on FCBD, see 'Free Comic Book Day on May 4' and 'Expectations High for Free Comic Book Day.'