Marvel Releases Free Comic Book Titles in July, FCBD Still TBD
This is the problem with tying your Free Comic Book Day titles into storylines and events. That’s what a big superhero comic publisher has to sell, though — continuity and a shared universe.
Free Comic Book Day has been indefinitely postponed. As “comics’ national holiday”, organizers need to be sure that all stores that want to can participate. More importantly, big group turnouts are a bad idea right now, and there’s no vision for when they will be safe again.
Because the holiday isn’t happening as promised, but because their comics were intended to be teasers for upcoming stories, Marvel has announced that their two FCBD titles will come out in July from “participating comic shops” and they “will announce new titles for the rescheduled Free Comic Book Day at a later date.”
Originally part of May’s Free Comic Book Day, Marvel will be now be releasing two never-before-seen titles for fans to get a first look at some of Marvel’s biggest upcoming events. Each issue will contain two separate extraordinary tales involving the X-Men, Spider-Man, and more by Marvel’s most acclaimed creators!
The headline of this announcement, “Marvel and Comic Book Retailers to Provide Free X-Men and Spider-Man/Venom Comic Books”, was a bit presumptuous. It comes across as “You, shops, will do as we tell you.” Which has been their attitude in the past, true.
Anyway, Free Comic Book Day 2020: X-Men (that’s its title) will be available on July 15 and “will lead into the game-changing X OF SWORDS crossover!” Free Comic Book Day 2020: Spider-Man/Venom will be out on July 22 and will connect to “coming major storylines”. Retailers will find out how to participate later this week “as part of Marvel’s Back in Action program.”
Marvel was nice enough to remind those interested by these comics to check in with their local shop to determine “current business policies” — whether they’re doing curbside pickup or require social distancing or other restrictions.
I think comics like those miss the point of Free Comic Book day, which is to draw in new readers. Each comic should be a complete story, and not a tease of one. The best example of this was Usagi Yojimbo ( which was Halloween, not FCBD but a similar kind of release).
I use “Free Comic Book Day” to try out comics I wouldn’t ordinarily buy and avoid the crossovers.
Ah, but the whole point of FCBD is to create customers with free tastes, so while I agree a satisfying experience is a better choice, Marvel is doing the only thing they know how to do — trying to get people sucked into their “universe”.
(That big comic publishers don’t know how to put themselves in the shoes of customers explains so much that’s wrong with the industry.)