On May 7th my wife and I had the pleasure of once again observing Free Comic Book Day, the least fake holiday of them all. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. This year’s assortment saw more all-ages comics than ever, so this wasn’t just an outreach to longtime fortysomething collectors who need no further enticement.
I never grab copies of everything, but this year I got a little more grabby than I thought. This entry was procrastinated days past its relevance expiration date because it took me that much longer to find the free time to read them all, even those I could speed through in three minutes flat. In my mind, regardless of total consumption minutes, each issue ought to be a satisfying experience for any new reader who opens the cover without any foreknowledge. Historically, each publisher’s offerings tend to fall into one of six story levels, ranked here in order from “Best Possible Display of Generosity and Salesmanship” to “Had to Slap SOMETHING Together, So Whatever”:
1. New, complete, done-in-one story
2. Complete story reprinted from existing material
3. A complete chapter of a new story with a proper chapter ending
4. Partial excerpt from an upcoming issue that will also contain all these same pages
5. No story, just random pinups or art samples
6. Disposable ad flyer shaped like a comic
Surprisingly, none of this year’s samples settled for option 5 or 6. Good show, publishers.