Wow… it’s hard to believe Free Comic Book Day has been going on since 2002. Spider-Man set a box office record (currently ranked #16 domestically) that weekend, but no one was certain if anyone would show up at comics shops. There were nine titles offered that year, and Comichron has actual sales figures!
|*||FCBD Edition Ultimate Spider-Man||1||$0.12||Marvel||631,990|
|*||FCBD Edition Star Wars Tales: A Jedi’s Weapon||1||$0.12||Dark Horse||389,260|
|*||FCBD Edition Justice League Adventures||1||$0.12||DC||310,643|
|*||FCBD Edition Tomb Raider||1/2||$0.02||Image||238,679|
These are the four “Gold Sponsors”, which every store was required to order. For comparison, the #1 regular title for April 2002 was:
1 Transformers Generation One 1 $2.95 Dreamwave 128,202
Dreamwave? A Canadian publisher which closed shop in 2005.
This year’s numbers were announced recently at the Diamond retailer breakfast held right before C2E2 opened:
Total comics printed: 5.6 Million, an increase of 21% from 2014
Total stores participating: 2,340, an increase of 8% from 2014
Wow… I think that’s the closest we’ve come to getting an official number of Diamond clients! If we do the backwards math, 2,166 stores participated last year. 174 more stores in one year! Are there any stores which don’t participate? Are these brand new stores and new locations? It would be interesting to have Diamond analyze that client list…
That’s an average of 2400 copies per store! I wonder what the mode and median is?
For those who are curious, I found some official circulation figures:
And from years previous:
2012 had 3.5 Million copies distributed
2011: 2.7 Million copies
2010: “more than 2 million comic books” (DCD website)
2009: “On Saturday, May 2, nearly 2,000 comic book stores worldwide opened their doors and gave away over 2 million comic books – at no charge – to visitors as a part of Free Comic Book Day 2009.” (DCD)
2008: 2.5 Million (Rockford Lhotka’s Blog)
Using the numbers just from the 2002 Gold sponsors, we get a minimum of 1.5 Million copies distributed. According to Comic Book Resources, “more than 2 million comic books were given away” the first year.
The current grand total is 31 Million copies distributed since 2002.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!