- Posted by Johanna on January 17, 2006 at 1:33 pm
- Category: Comic News
Jetpack Press, publisher of Johnny Raygun, has announced that
There won’t be a Free Comic Book Day offering from Jetpack Press this year. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone at Diamond but the bottom line is that we were not invited to participate.
I’m interested (being naturally nosy) in finding out more about the mechanics of how participation works, but I can’t really blame Diamond here … last year, we had a hard time giving away that particular FCBD title. The link cites 20,000 copies of the FCBD book sold, but I suspect what matters more to decision-makers is how many sell of the regular series.
I’ve helped my local shop at every FCBD so far, and based solely on my own observations and opinions, I think that this is a day best for books of interest to all ages, ideally featuring recognizable properties. (Please note, I didn’t say suitable for all ages, I said of interest. There are plenty of comics out there without bad words, nudity, and excessive violence that simply bore kids.) Their book, from what I recall, seemed to have a target audience of fans of old-fashioned pulp science fiction, not a very young demographic.
Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Simpsons, Betty & Veronica, Star Wars, Disney characters — all good, and not just for kids. We had several older customers say things like “oh, I used to read Archies, let me see what they’re like now.”
Busty Tomb Raider or Witchblade — bad. Don’t embarrass me in front of parents.
Not having a kid-suitable book featuring Daredevil when the movie’s in theaters — bad. That year, kids who’d seen the ads on TV wanted Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra, which started with a date rape storyline. Don’t make me disappoint kids by telling them they can’t have what they think they want.
Books that don’t have more material available — also bad. If someone likes the sample, give me something else to sell them, like the next issue in the series or a graphic novel. Much as I love Amelia Rules, I didn’t see the point in putting out a free sampler if there’s no current product on the shelves and there hasn’t been in months. If you’re going to debut something in an FCBD issue, make sure the next new piece is available at least that same month.
Also good are straightforward concepts that can be quickly grasped from the cover, like Owly, or suprisingly, Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai (from last year; it also benefitted from an eye-catching, simply designed cover).
I also like the samplers the more mature-oriented publishers put out, like those from AdHouse, Alternative, Comics Festival, and so on. They don’t bring people in the door, but they’re good to give to adults standing around waiting for the kids to decide.
What would really help would be getting more manga samplers out there, because those were given away first. But I suspect retailers would complain that they don’t want to direct their customers to bookstores.
The number of books available to give out was very hard to manage last year, which might also be a factor in limiting the number of participants. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Diamond’s paying attention to retailer feedback, and some changes might be coming because of it.