Once again Free Comic Day was upon us at Acme Comics yesterday. The nationally organized event began in 2002 and it seems to be more popular each year. This year's most popular titles for us were Walking Dead, Marvel's Infinity, Superman (new movie tie-in) and Adventure Time giving away over 500 copies of each comic. All totaled we gave (gulp, yes gave) away nearly 4,000 comics on FCBD at Acme yesterday, when all our troubles seemed to be a just a heartbeat away.
Free Comic Book Day is one of those days met with mixed emotions. It's really cool to have hundreds of fans line up at your door for comics and sales, but boy is the prep work stressful. Going through endless boxes of old comics to decide what should go in the fifty cent boxes and then weeding out graphic novels for sale pricing. And then there’s synchronizing extra staff, moving sale merchandise outside, finding a place to put free comics in the store, it seems to be an endless, Herculean task.
But even with all the extra work it does pay off. Sales figures are off the chart, we do a lot of spring cleaning of older material but most of all everyone likes something for free. Especially free comic books!
I find it intriguing that comics have stood the test of time since their inception 75 years ago and I'm always happily surprised by the excitement that this day builds. I don't envision a long line of TV Guide or Time fans showing up at Barnes and Noble for Free Magazine Day. Recently Marvel digitally released all of their #1 issues of titles for free and the server crashed in a few hours! Now that's fan dedication.
Fans start lining up an hour before opening at 11am. We got numerous calls asking if we could open early but that means we need to wake up earlier. Hey, being at work by 11am everyday to sell comics, listen to cd's, watch dvd's and talk pop culture is strenuous enough and now you want us to get up an hour earlier? Umm...no!
I'm always pleased everyone is pretty civil in the comic giveaway frenzy. Many will personally thank us for hosting the event and make a point to purchase something, knowing I do have to pay for the free comics myself. We see many people that only appear on free day and some that haven't been in a while due to their hectic life of kids, wife, bills, etc. Personally, I don't see how comics can be chosen over other priorities, particularly the one's bought at Acme, but that’s just me, myself and, well...the rest of the Acme crew.
The powers that be smartly coincide FCBD with the release of a superhero movie (usually a Marvel) debut. This year is Iron Man 3, the rumor next year is Captain America 2. But Acme's time honored tradition for FCBD is taking a break at the Johnsonville Brats wagon. The wagon is always in town for the Race for the Cure on same weekend, just up the road at Schnucks grocery store. I was going to take a photo of packs of brats, chips and drinks, but was too busy working to shoot anything. Here's the best "brat" picture I could find on the internet.
When it's all said and done it is a relief when everything is back to normal next week. Nice to look back and say we made it through another year and Free Comic Book Day. See you next May, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, comic book fans.
Here's Bob, the writer of this piece hard at work at the front counter at Acme. I stopped by to check out Free Comic Book Day and I took some photos for Bob's feature story with the trusty MBIP camera.
Stacks of these comics are going up, up...
And away into these comic book fans hands.
Speaking of hands, there's nothing like trolling through bins of comic books looking for something new or an old hidden treasure.
As you can see, there was a great turnout for this year's Free Comic Book Day at Acme.
Hey look, I'm not the only one taking pictures in here.
Check out the caped crusader that arrived on the scene!
Flipping and searching is what goes on in here.
See what I mean?
There's a line out the door, so I decide not to bother Bob and head outside.
The comic book flip continues outside of the store.
And here's Alex who told me he's not only a big supporter of Acme and Free Comic Book Day, he's a fan and a regular reader of this blog! Okay, time to hit the road on that high note!