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!
Mimi Cruz of Night Flight, Salt Lake City, Utah
Free Comic Book Day was a steady stream of people from before we opened until just after close--which is 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (we are the only store in the state open 11+ hours a day, so people kept on coming in all evening). We had coordinated with the Salt Lake City Library System to display Justice League Adventures posters and give away Justice League Adventure FCBD comics. They were only open until 6:00 p.m. Night Flight sponsors a University of Utah student club and we'd also coordinated to distribute free comics at the University from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Union Building Plaza. Everyone worked well with us and all went very smoothly. Luckily we had the books a week early to prepare them all ahead of time and then have them distributed to the respective parties before Saturday morning. Yay!


One of the librarians e-mailed me this comment: 'I was at the Sprague library on Saturday and FCBD was going great over there. We also passed out a lot to teens who went to our Job Fair. I plan on sending a e-mail to managers to ask them how it went at the other locations. Thanks again for including the libraries in this super-fun occasion!'


The Salt Lake City Libraries only gave out Justice League Adventures because it's a perfect book for children and the kids loved it. Some children even wanted to take the FCBD posters and parents called here looking for Justice League Adventure posters. Luckily we have them for sale--thanks to DC Comics (we sold out of the 10 we had in stock, but will be ordering more).


I felt it was a tremendously successful day and extremely positive for a lot of young readers. There were of course the mean-spirited adults who came in to get all they could scoop up--we still gave them free comics, but it was unfortunate they missed the spirit of the event. I witnessed one man bully his three daughters into all asking for the Ultimate Spider-Man issue. The girls obviously weren't interested, much less cooperative, so I threw his plan off track by offering the girls Archie and Sabrina comics. They liked those much better and happily took them in place of the Spider-Man. We also gave the boys and girls candy with their comics and sometimes even more than one comic on the sly. I believe it went as well as could be expected and we managed to have plenty of comics for everyone.


As for crowd control, the stream of people was steady and never overwhelming. Overall a positive event.



Gail Burt of Metropolis Downey, Downey California

I just read Joe Fields' comments about how FCBD went for him. I can corroborate his figures from my store here in California. We did about 2 to 2-1/2 times better than a good Saturday here. Attendance exceeded our expectations by half again -- we had a great turnout on the day. Probably about 900 people, we gave away about a thousand comics on Saturday, and gave out loads of the 'comeback coupons' that Diamond provided. I also think Diamond did a great job of supporting and offering ideas on how to maximize the potential of the day. The best single idea about it was to have it the day after Spider-Man opened -- and the greatest stroke of fortune was that Spider-Man is a good movie! We had a great day, and we'll be a happy and enthusiastic participant when - and I do mean WHEN - we have the event again NEXT year!!



Bob Brynildson of Source Comics and Games, Falcon Heights, Minnesota

In 4 hours we went through 620 bags (6 comics in each bag) and had double the retail sales. Also went though 1000 other single comics. 60 percent of the people were moms and kids and we had a full store for the entire day!


We used: TV Ads; crosspromotion with out local Barnes and Nobles; press releases in 3 major newspapers; posters; bag stuffers; and double staffing on the day.



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'

'Comic Cubicle and Pet Shop Comics on FCBD'


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