The poll to decide the weekend for Free Comic Book Day 2004 (see 'Marvel Gives FCBD Unconditional Love') has now begun, and retailers can vote at the Diamond Comics Website through August 29th. The choice is more than a casual exercise -- it has a lot to do with how Free Comic Book Day will be perceived in the years to come.
The April 2nd weekend, in conjunction with the release of Hellboy, associates the day more closely with the older demographic that has been the core comic audience for the last decade and might help the medium shake the 'just for kids' image that persists in broad segments of the population.
The May 8th weekend, not in conjunction with any movie but on the same weekend as it has been held the first two years, associates comics with the beginning of summer, traditionally the strongest period for releases. Having it the same weekend every year should make it easier to get a repetitive annual flow going at both the business and consumer levels. It also positions the day as more about comics and less about comics as a cross-media phenomenon. This may make it more difficult to draw attention, but easier to send a focused message.
The July 3rd weekend, in conjunction with the scheduled release of Spider-Man 2, takes advantage of the tremendous amount of media attention and promotional activity that will be taking place around the movie. It loses the continuity of having the event on the same weekend every year, but associates it with a huge comic-related event that covers a broad demographic territory.
Most direct market comic retailers have participated in Free Comic Book Day at some level. This is a great opportunity to influence the course of this great industry-wide promotion. Vote today!
Each option has pros and cons -- we've named some of them here. Have you got something to say? Send a comment to our Talk Back section -- Click Here.