Using its subsidiary, Cover Concepts, Marvel Comics has distributed two million Summer Reading Calendars and two million copies of Marvel Age: Spider-Man #2 comic books to school children in 46 states around the country. The Calendar carries the Free Comic Book Day logo and URL on the July 3 date, while the comic book contains the exhortation, 'For a free copy of the Marvel Age Spider-Man #1 comic book, visit your local comic shop on Free Comic Book Day-July 3, 2004. For more info and to find a comic shop near you, go to www.freecomicbookday.com' on both the inside front cover and on the last past of the comic.
Marvel is piggybacking the FCBD promotion on its Marvel Summer Reading Challenge, which is tied into the popular RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program, and which offers an opportunity to win prizes for kids who read five books during the summer and can write a short essay about their favorite book.
Joe Field of Flying Colors in Concord California, who is the 'founding father' of Free Comic Book Day, is ecstatic about Marvel's outreach efforts. Field told ICv2: 'There's so much potential good in Marvel and Cover Concepts' promotion of FCBD. Effectively, Marvel's distribution of two million comics and calendars significantly extends the promotional reach of FCBD into a vital and growing segment of our market--- the young reader. I may have had prior gripes about Marvel, but I think this is a truly Marvelous promotion---a very solid effort to build traffic for direct market retailers on FCBD.'