Yay! Free Comic Book Day! What a blast that was. Though there have been concerns.
The guidelines for a comic book being published for Free Comic Book Day are rather strict, in terms of form and content. This year, the All Ages no longer applied allowing titles like Absolution to drop an F-Bomb or too, and also to let The Walking Dead in. But it seems to have been laxer in other areas too.
FCBD tiles are supposed to have a blank white space to allow stores to put a stamp there, or a sticker, encouraging people to return to the store. The Walking Dead has no such space. What it did have, at the back, was a big old ad for the Walking Dead website, selling Walking Dead collections, among other things. And as those who went to the site found, at far greater discounts than the shops would sell them at. Cue much consternation – and a rapid removal of the discounts.
The Kaboom! Summer Special was also castigated for featuring ads for DynamicForces.com selling content unavailable at comic stores, and for Maryland store Cards And Comics Collectibles.
Bleeding Cool’s own Bleeding Cool Magazine was also a transgressor, with ads for Maryland comic stores Third Eye Comics and Collectors Corner.
I’m not sure what it is with Maryland stores that so attracts them to advertise in FCBD comics, but there it is.
It all comes down to how you interpret the following guidelines;
“You may place age-appropriate ads and or marketing/editorial content in the comic or trade paperback to meet the page requirement. Please do not place in-house subscription ads or national mail-order ads.”
Do ads with a website address count as national mail-order ads? It seems so, according to some.
I understand that materials for approval arrived from a number of places when the books were going to press and the ad pages weren’t specific as to who would be advertising. Next year expect this wording to change, harsher deadlines and an examination of every ad…