Free Comic Book Day has been a staple of the industry for years, but it’s changing in a big way in 2020. Is that for the better? That remains to be seen. As reported by Comicbook.com, Free Comic Book Day 2020 will, instead, be known as Free Comic Book May, taking over the entire month of May. The announcement was made by Steve Geppi, chairman of Geppi Family Enterprises and founder of Diamond Comic Distributors in a memo sent to retailers this week.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced many businesses to close temporarily, as gatherings of more than ten people have been limited across the U.S. As such, Free Comic Book Day, which had been scheduled for May 2, was pretty much off the table. Instead, FCBD titles will be shipped in the coming weeks, with retailers not being invoiced until August. They will then have the option to distribute the books in a manner that best suits their individual needs.
“With a longer period to utilize the books before being invoiced, retailers will be free to use the books in whatever manner suits their individual marketing needs, beginning May 2, 2020,” Geppi said.” We anticipate stores needing to be creative in how they hold events, perhaps having to distribute the books in new ways or to smaller groups of customers than the single big day you typically experience. To that end, we will be referring to the event as ‘Free Comic Book MAY’ and retailers can use their online Comic Shop Locator Service / FCBD profiles to update customers on their plans.”
“To minimize the impact on our primary distribution operations, prioritizing the distribution of weekly new comics and restocks, a number of FCBD titles will be included with each regular weekly shipment for the next several weeks,” Geppi continued. “These titles will be invoiced at no charge, as we extend the billing out approximately 90 days, to the first week in August. The books may not be in separate boxes from the rest of the shipment, except when full cases are shipping.”
On the surface, this seems like a creative solution. But it is already drawing criticism. Most notably, from Joe Field, one of the founders of Free Comic Book Day. Taking to Twitter, Field revealed that he wasn’t consulted on this decision, and he feels it isn’t a viable option.
Just to let everyone know, I was not consulted at all about this less than satisfactory change.
Not that I have any real leverage in this, but this is not a feasible solution for a number of reasons.
— Joe Field (@flycojoe) March 18, 2020
“Just to let everyone know, I was not consulted at all about this less than satisfactory change. Not that I have any real leverage in this, but this is not a feasible solution for a number of reasons,” Field said.
Free Comic Book Day, historically, takes place on the first Saturday of May and sees local comic book shops handing out free books from publishers, such as Marvel, DC, Image and more. Those looking for information on what the change means for their local shops can head on over to FreeComicBookDay.com for up to date information.