We recently reported that comic retailers are being asked to vote on which Marvel movie weekend they would like Free Comic Day 2003--X-Men 2 or Hulk (see 'FCBD Gears Up for 2003'). FCBD founder Joe Field prefers X-Men 2, Marvel EIC Joe Quesada prefers Hulk. Here are their essays on why, and don't forget to vote ('Click Here').
The Case for X-Men II from Joe Field
1. The early May date gives all retailers a solid promotion to ramp up into the summer selling season.
2. Retailers located near college campuses depend on student traffic for a good share of regular business. Schools will still be in session in May, not the case in early to mid-June. Also, early to mid-June is a crowded time on the calendar with graduations, the start of summer vacations and Fathers' Day.
3. According to a recent Entertainment Weekly report, the Hulk movie is currently running behind schedule. Hulk director Ang Lee has stated he is unhappy about the film being tied down to a specific June date. If we decide on the June date and then Hulk is late, FCBD will suffer the loss of a critical promotional tie-in.
4. The Hulk film is really an unknown commodity at this point. It will likely be darker in tone than either Spider-Man or the X-Men -- and we don't know yet what Hulk's final rating will be.
5. X-Men director Brian Singer showed footage of X-Men II at Comic-Con, and stated that the film is on schedule for the May 2, 2003 release date. Singer is also a comic book fan who would better promote comics and FCBD in the promotion for the X-Men film.
6. After the strong mainstream success of the first X-Men film, there will be tremendous buzz going into the new film's release. Sequels to successful movies do incredibly well in the first weekend of release, which will be a big help for promoting FCBD.
7. With a longer-term goal for FCBD being the creation of an annual 'holiday' for comic books, the more consistent May date is important.
The Case for Hulk from Joe Quesada
As we begin the initial planning stages for Free Comic Book Day 2003, the one stumbling block we find ourselves with is in trying to find the appropriate event to wrap ourselves around. An argument has been made for the X-Men movie and another has been made for Hulk, but ultimately we realize that this is your event, so you all need to help us decide. I have heard all the rationale given for X-Men, but in my heart of hearts I can't help but feel that Hulk is the more appropriate and even more important, stronger of the two.
My reasoning is simple:
* It's my understanding that the marketing campaign spent on the Hulk will be equal to if not more than what was spent on Spider-Man.
* As much as we in the comic's biz know the X-Men property, John and Jane Q. do not make the immediate connection that the X-Men originated in a comic. For many it was a popular Saturday morning cartoon. Not so with Hulk.
* Do not discount the power of the Hulk TV show that has been syndicated for years. This TV show has made the Hulk even more popular than Spider-Man on a worldwide level. Mothers of America embrace the Hulk, not so X-Men.
* As for Marvel's entry in Free Comic Book Day, a free Hulk comic will be much more accessible for a neophyte reader to understand than the most watered down X-Men title.
* The media likes everything that is new. Because X-Men is a sequel it will naturally receive less attention.
* Four words: Ang Lee and Jennifer Connelly.
* My gut tells me so and my gut has been pretty accurate these last 2 years.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and here's wishing us all success and an even more fruitful 2003!