Jim Crocker of Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts found the change in dates hurt FCBD in his store:


Unfortunately, the choice of date for this year's Free Comic Book Day greatly reduced traffic at our store from last year's levels.


We're in a predominantly college town.  Though we certainly have plenty of customers who are locals as well, most of them fled to the beaches for this beautiful holiday weekend.  As a result, traffic was down substantially from last year (probably about 1/4 what we saw in 2003), despite that being our first FCBD ever.  As far as sales go, we ended the day at a total that equaled what we had done in the first hour of last year's event.


We were also greatly disappointed by the Wednesday's arrival of the FCBD shirts that we ordered intending to wear daily in the store in the weeks leading up to the event.  The company profiting from these certainly saw comic retailers coming from a mile away.  They should properly be made returnable, especially given the fact that they are not 'generically' branded for FCBD, but specifically for this year's date, which of course has already passed.


The two largest comic companies that provide the vast majority of our product each gave us 'kiddy' comics when only a tiny percentage of their output is such product.  I can't help but think that they're missing the point.  Where was the Vertigo sampler?  Where was the 'Ultimates Overview'?  Surely companies with Marvel's and/or DC's resources can manage FCBD offerings that actually might appeal to the largest part of the comics-buying audience, which is to say, not just children?  I think that comics for children are a viable aspect of any well-run shop's repertoire, and should be cultivated when we can, but not letting the larger audience of literate adults in on Bendis' Daredevil or Pulse, or non-spandex  'genre' titles like Y the Last Man or 100 Bullets seems like a missed opportunity, though one that would admittedly only sell comics to the people receiving them, and not action figures, cartoon DVDs, or movie tickets.  The major publications keep crowing in press releases and marketing materials that 'comics aren't just for kids any more...' and then, when they've got a chance to really prove it, the only thing we get, bafflingly, is comics for kids.


It's time for FCBD to grow up along with comics.  Let's get over the conviction that comics aren't interesting enough on their own to support this event without the security blanket of a big superhero movie.  Let's get some literate, adult comics from the major publishers and not just the Indys.  Let's invite the manga publishers to be Gold Sponsors and eliminate the stodgy B&W prohibition (our most popular book after Spider-Man was the Tokyopop sampler, of course, and was the most popular book with the female readers who came in to the store).  And let's have it on a day where we're not competing against, say, the country's birthday for the public's and media's attention.


Oh, and our 50 bucks back for those shirts would be nice, too.


See you next May, we can only hope.
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