Diamond reports that this year’s Free Comic Book Day broke records, with 4.7 million comics given away at 21,000 different stores, libraries, and local festivals. Local comic stores saw over 1 million visitors.
This year, over 40 publishers participated in the annual giveaway, offering 60 books.
Diamond attributes the boost in attendance to a surge in online (over 108,000 tweets!) and broadcast publicity, and to hard work on the part of store owners and other local organizers. As we reported in our retailer survey, FCDB is considered an essential publicity and sales tool by many store owners; many spend months planning for it, and depend on new visitors and lapsed fans turning into repeat customers.
FCBD spokesman Jason Blanchard said that many retailers broke individual visitor records. “40% of participating retailers said they had over 500 participants attend their event, with 87% of them rating their FCBD as extremely successful.” He hopes that “fans will continue to return to their comic shop to get more of what the comic industry has to offer.”
All ages titles dominated the year’s nine gold books (those comics which received over 100,000 orders–at least one broke 300,000), with DC’s Future’s End, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy intro, and Top Cow’s Rise of the Magi being notable exceptions. The silver books show much more diversity, and according to Diamond’s Deborah Moreland, this year saw a major rise in interest in smaller press comics, and comics for older readers. Libraries, many of which participate in FCBD every year, play a big role in the consistent popularity of all-ages titles.