It’s not too soon to think about Free Comic Book Day 2016, which is just what publishers and Diamond are going. The annual comics holiday — held the first Saturday of May — sees 5.6 million free comics given away to customers. While the number of comics in the program has been cut in recent years, it seems that next years will see even fewer units available. 2000AD, the UK based publisher of Judge Dredd and many other fine comics, was told that their offering—a 48 page sampler pf their characters featuring Eric Powell, Joelle Jones and Mike and Laura Allred—was rejected by Diamond. Apparently, the reason given was that the issue would have been slightly larger than a standard comic. Although 2000AD offered to print it at standard size, Diamond wouldn’t change their mind. Although 2000AD would not comment on the record about the rejection, after it was revealed don another website, they sent out a statement:
“2000 AD is very proud of the success of our FCBD issue, which saw orders grow in huge jumps every single year, exceeding 60,000 units in 2015. We value FCBD, and the effort Diamond and the retailers put into making the day so successful, for the opportunity to support comic book stores, reach out to new audiences both within and beyond the UK, and to give something extra to readers. As such, we have proudly and routinely commissioned original content from top flight talent for our FCBD issues and increased the page count to a hefty 48 pages.
“It is therefore very disappointing to not be taking part in the 2016 event, particularly since we were so excited about including work by such huge talents as Eric Powell, Joelle Jones, and Laura and Mike Allred.
“We don’t want to keep that from our readers, so we have therefore taken the decision to still bring this amazing work out in May 2016 in a new Summer Special issue, full details of which will be forthcoming.
“Meanwhile we hope readers and retailers who are disappointed not to be able to pick up a 2000 AD FCBD issue next year will give their support to us and the Summer Special. We very much hope to be back in FCBD in 2017 and will be working hard for that to happen.”
In a follow up story, it’s reported that the small indie publisher ComixTribe also had to withdraw their 2016 FCBD offering because they couldn’t bring the cost down to 20 cents. (Although comics are free to customers, retailers must pay for them through Diamond.)
Obviously FCBD is a huge program and very expensive to run. It seems like Diamond is taking som steps to streamline the process.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.