A few months ago, I brainstormed about how Halloween mini-comics being offered by Diamond could be used in a variety of ways to promote comics and have some fun! (Read that again… there are event suggestions and a timeline there, which I’ve paralleled below, but did not exactly duplicate.)
During C2E2, Diamond announced that in addition to the extremely successful Free Comic Book Day, a second event, linked to Halloween, would be promoted.
With the July issue of Previews, Diamond has announced the event, titled “Halloween ComicFest“, designed to help comics shops market themselves as “Halloween Headquarters”.
Sure it’s only July, but do you know where you’re getting your Halloween costume and accessories? How about a gift for the horror fan in your life? Have you decided where the best Halloween events and parties might be?
Why it’s your local comic book shop, of course!
This year, comic shops across the world will band together for Halloween ComicFest, a celebration of your local comic shops and all the comics, tricks and treats they offer. Your local comic shop already does some great Halloween events and is a great place to visit Halloween in-store events, parties, contests, sales and more!
On the next few pages, you’ll find some new offerings from comic book publishers including some new comics that will be available during your store’s Halloween ComicFest celebrations. Make sure you mark your calendars with your local comic shop’s Halloween events!
Below are the actual mini-comics offered this year, in bundles of 20, with the text from the Diamond order form. The “Final Order Cutoff” (FOC) deadline for stores is August 30, 2012. (Westfield’s deadline is August 28.)
Ask your local retailer to order the following for you, using the Diamond codes (JUL12 xxxx). You should offer to pay for them in advance, since the comics shop will most likely consider these unusual items, and be hesitant to place the order.
Of course, if they’re a cool store, they are probably participating in Halloween ComicFest, and will be happy to add your order to their store order. Bundle orders over 25 (of all titles combined) receive an additional discount for the store.
If you do not live near a comics shop, or need to have them shipped somewhere, Westfield Comics (and many other online retailers) will allow you to order them for you. The links below for each title direct to Westfield, which I selected because I’ve used them in the past, their website is easy to navigate, they offer a discount on the price. and they were quick to answer my questions regarding the first three items. (ComicsPlus offers all the titles for sale, as well.)
The mega bundle listed at the end is the easiest, one-stop-shopping option. However, if you’re wary of what might be in each volume, and what’s suitable for which trick-or-treaters, you can order by title.
JUL12 0002 HCF 2012 TMNT #1 TRICK-OR-TREAT ED 09/26/12 SRP: PI = $
JUL12 0003 HCF 2012 MU AVENGERS AND ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN 09/26/12 SRP: PI = $
JUL12 0004 HCF 2012 FANTAGRAPHICS JACK DAVIS TALES FROM THE CRYPT 09/26/12 SRP: PI = $
[These are regular comics, like the Free Comic Book Day comics, for sale by the single copy. Tales From The Crypt is 6×9 inches. ]
HALLOWEEN MINI BUNDLES
KIDS JUL12 0005 DARK HORSE AXE COP MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 (C: 0-1-0) 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0006 GHOSTBUSTERS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0007 ANTARCTIC LITTLEST ZOMBIE MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0008 APE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE SCOUTS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0009 ARCHAIA COW BOY HALLOWS EVE MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0010 NEW CRUSADERS RISE OF HEROES MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0011 BOOM ADVENTURE TIME MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 (C: 0-1-0) 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0012 FANTAGRAPHICS SPACEHAWK MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 (C: 0-1-0) 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0013 PAPERCUTZ ERNEST & REBECCA MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 (C: 0-1-0) 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS JUL12 0014 TOP SHELF TRICKY TREATERS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: $4.99 = $
KIDS MAY12 8000 LITTLE MISS DAREDEVIL: THE INCREDIBLE RACE 2012 MINI-COMIC
FI JUL12 0015 HALLOWEEN MINI COMICS MEGA BUNDLE 2012 09/26/12 SRP: PI = $
So, you’re a retailer. How should you market this? Here are some suggestions. Do what you’re comfortable with, and see if you have staff willing to handle the planning for you!
Here’s a general timeline:
Calculate the orders for the above titles.
How many to order? Well, you’ve got to do some research.
- Have you done a Halloween promotion in the past? How many people showed up?
- Do kids trick-or-treat in your business district? Do they do it on the day (this year: Wednesday), or on the weekend before?
- Does your community sponsor Halloween events? The local Parks Department? Churches, schools, organizations?
You might also want to promote the mini-comics to your customers, encouraging them to hand out mini-comics instead of candy. (20 comics at $4.99 is cheaper than 20 pieces of candy.)
After Labor Day, start planning your Halloween marketing.
Change your window displays, showcasing all the cool Halloween stuff you sell. The Walking Dead is popular, and the new season premieres in October. Buffy is a consistent seller, and there are many supernatural titles from many publishers.
Update your website, and post fliers promoting your Halloween sales and events.
October, first week
Hold a general staff meeting, going over all concerns and considerations. Set your Halloween staff schedule, BEFORE employees get party invites.
Decorate your store.
Advertise sale items for the month of October.
October, second week
Marshal all supplies. Schedule food and any other time-sensitive deliveries this week, for arrival at the party.
Send out PR to local media.
October, third week
Hold another staff meeting. Double-check all planning and staffing. Panic now, if necessary. Adjust plans.
Print fliers for “Blackest Friday” marketing for Thanksgiving, to hand out during the final week of October onwards.
October, week before the event
Check off all planning. Prepare comics giveaways, party, and any other events (signings, zombie crawl, cosplay contests, offsite participation)
October, the event(s)
If done correctly, the store owner/manager has placed the event responsibility in the hands of employees. Recruit one employee or responsible adult (spouse, parent, clergy) as a gopher, to run errands or help out as needed. The owner/manager should act as an observer, watching for any problems and proactively solving them before they become a problem. He or she should also be the one to speak with all media.
November, first week
Hold another staff meeting. Discuss what went right, what went wrong, what the customers critiqued. Thank the staff, preferably with pizza during the meeting. (A great way to encourage attendance!) Take notes and file them away for next year’s Halloween.
Change your store displays to promote the upcoming Holiday sales. Perhaps offer a “turkey” sale, a special clearance sale during the month of November to clear out any dead stock. Perhaps set up a scale and sell comics from that pile by the pound!
Start planning for your Black(est) Friday sales, December holiday sales, through the King Holiday in January. Review merchandise and sales data to push sluggish merchandise for possible clearance, as well as to discover best sellers and any sleeper items. (Of course, you should be doing this weekly and monthly, but this is the perfect excuse to lock yourself in the office while the employees run the store.)
Your store should be set up for the Holiday the first weekend of November. You can rearrange displays throughout the season, but the decorations and window displays should be set that weekend.
So those are some ideas. What’s worked at your favorite comics shop?