Friday, May 23, 2003

Join the Comics Club IV

What's wrong with Free Comic Book Day? Plenty, says Michael David Sims in a recent Pop Matters column. I have never participated in Free Comic Book Day, and I've never read a comic book published specifically for Free Comic Book Day. Yet I couldn't agree with Sims much more. At base, Free Comic Book Day is a feel-good frivolity that may make retailers feel like they're doing something important for fans and the industry, but in the end does nothing to promote comic books to a wider, mainstream audience. Free Comic Book Day doesn't seem to have progressed beyond its efforts last year, and that's a shame.

The organizers of Free Comic Book Day need to stop approaching the idea of the event as its been enacted and look at it in a new light. If we want to get non-comics readers into comic book shops, we need to get comic books out of the comic books shops and onto the streets, into bookstores and libraries, and better promoted in connection with licensed movies, cartoons, and other media activities. Otherwise, we're just preaching to the choir. I think efforts like Read a Comic Book in Public Day and the Free-Range Comic Book Project are much more interesting, even if they're smaller and less organized.

Thanks to Bookslut.

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