Amidst the chaos of an ever-growing disease that’s gripping the world, there’s some light in the dark. To help with social distancing, Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is becoming Free Comic Book MAY. Steve Geppi, Chairman of Geppi Family Enterprises and founder of Diamond Comic Distributors, sent a memo to comic retailers today stating:
“With restaurants and other businesses closing and many areas implementing event restrictions, we know that Free Comic Book Day will be impacted to varying degrees throughout the world. With the books already printed and en route, we have worked with our publisher partners to give retailers as much flexibility as possible in their handling of this event…
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. 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.
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. 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.”
The change helps with larger crowds that typically attend FCBD as fans rush to get their hands on comics and sale items on comic Black Friday (even though it’s not on a Friday). Offering the books all month along allows smaller groups to come into the shops making it easier to adhere to social distancing.
The comic industry is still determining how to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Image Comics will be allowing retailers to return upcoming new releases making it easier for stores to order their inventory.
If you’re stuck quarantined during this pandemic, at least reading a few comics or getting to that pile of graphic novels you’ve been putting off will finally happen!