- Posted by Johanna on May 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
Free Comic Book Day was created, ten years ago now, to get customers into comic book stores, to show new customers where to buy comics and the diversity of what was available.
In many cases, though, publishers create new material for the special FCBD comics they sell to retailers (yes, they’re not free to stores), which makes fans of featured brands or artists or concepts eager to get them. And publishers want to build interest (and sales) in upcoming books promoted in the sample FCBD comics, so they have incentive to get the material in front of as many readers as possible, regardless of whether it’s through a comic shop or not.
That may explain why Dark Horse has made their two FCBD flipbooks, Criminal Macabre/Baltimore and Avatar: The Last Airbender/Star Wars: The Clone Wars, free to download for the rest of the month of May. Boom! has also allowed CBR to post the story (but not the background text material) from one of their two books, Elric: The Balance Lost, online.
I started thinking about this because I couldn’t attend FCBD this year. I wanted to read several of the books, and while a friend picked up a couple for me, I didn’t feel right asking him to get too many. Our preferred mail order vendor is sending us copies of all the ones we requested, although we have to wait for our next shipment. In the meantime, I know that almost all of them are downloadable online, although not officially. (The only one I couldn’t find easily is the James Patterson/Svetlana Chmakova Witch and Wizard from Yen Press, which oddly was also the only one unavailable through my local comic shops. Was it underordered all over, or just here?)
So should publishers post their FCBD books online? They’re intended to be free samples, after all. But will comic shops be as eager to support the “national comic holiday” if they’re not the only source for the material?