The 17th annual Free Comic Book Day is ready to kick off this Saturday, and many businesses are excited about it. There are over 30,000 free comic books to be given away that are created especially for FCBD and also some other limited edition items that can only be purchased on this day, such as the Lil’ Bombshells Harley Quinn figurine. One particular indie retailer, Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, OH, is planning an over-the-top experience that will include some of the surrounding small businesses for a fun-filled day for everyone.
“We’ve built up a big following and get about 3,000 people over 24 hours,” John Dudas, co-owner of the family-owned shop, said. “The line will stretch all the way around the plaza, so we invite local artists and businesses to come out and entertain the people waiting in line.”
This independent comic book shop has turned a national promotion into a local celebration, with different small businesses coming out and partaking in the fun during the day. One of their friends who owns a bakery nearby found an exact recipe for cookies that a Walking Dead character made during an episode, so for a half hour, people participating in the event can get those limited edition cookies. Dudas said promotions like these are important because it helps to create a meaningful engagement between businesses and their customers.
Waiting in line outside the store is one of the best parts, according to Dudas, because it becomes a nerdy tailgating session. They are having people dressed in Star Wars costumes come out to take pictures with people waiting in line, as well as thirty local artists who will do free sketches for people in line. A special beer is being brewed for the event, local ice cream shops are making special ice cream flavors, and the local doughnut shop is making special doughnuts for the day. This helps to give local businesses recognition and create hype and foot traffic throughout the day.
Joe Field, the owner of Flying Color Comics and friend of Dudas founded Free Comic Book Day in 2002. There are two thousand different comic book shops that are participating and the numbers keep growing every year. It’s a great promotion that helps independent comic book storeowners to get their name out there and boost sales, and with limited edition comic books and collectibles, it draws even more attention. Marvel is even coordinating with this special weekend by releasing new movies around the same time every year. This year is the much-anticipated Infinity War, so there will be an Avenger’s comic book giveaway to help promote the movie.
There are fifty different comic books created especially for the day, and Dudas said they allow each customer to choose ten, but it depends on each store how much they allow to the customers. The participating comic book shops pay a reduced rate for the comics and the publishers decide what books they want being given away while eating a cost of the books. To promote local artists, Carol and John’s shop had one design a cover for one of their comic books, and the artist will be in the store that day to sign free copies. This is a smart way for Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop to create meaningful engagements with customers and small business owners.
Events like these are a great way to boost hype and increase foot traffic, especially now that summer is on the way and more customers are out on the streets. In honor of Small Business Week, hosting an event with other local business owners is a great way to get the community together and get your names out there. Work with as many people as possible, and you have the ability to create an event as huge as Dudas’s local shop. Help support local businesses and stop at a participating comic book shop this Saturday.
What is Free Comic Book Day?