Free Comic Book Day is right around the corner. I'll be working but my buddy will be going in my place to pick up a few choice requested titles.
Here's something I've been thinking about recently.
Archaia is releasing the 1st Hard Cover Book in Free Comic Book Day History. You can read about it here with an exclusive interview with David Petersen.
Now I'm just as excited as anyone else. This is an amazing opportunity for everyone, both the companies and the fans. I'm also really glad to see that it's an Independent publisher that is making this first leap. I think that's really important and I think it's something to take note of for a very important reason.
Will this whole thing become a perversion of the spirit of Free Comic Book Day? as an avid fan and collector of comic books and seller and buyer on eBay I see how things work behind the scenes. And I don't like what I think may becoming down the pipe.
Here's an example - when I go to a convention there's a few rules I follow. Not always, but sometimes. When I go to a creators table I usually will buy Sketch Books (if available), Original Art and Prints and I may purchase a commission (if their list hasn't gotten too long). That's how I support the Artist. I will not buy individual issues from them most of the time for a couple of reasons. 1. I can usually find it cheaper on eBay and 2. they usually have a collected volume that I would rather purchase off the table. I do the buying portion because Sketch Books, Original Art, Prints and Commissions are always going to be cheaper if you buy from the artist. They're going to get a larger chunk of change from selling those than from selling their individual issues. When I look on ebay the ONLY thing that's cheaper is the individual comics. Everything else is at least double the price, and I can't stand it! A print that cost's $20.00 on the Artists table will go for $50.00 on eBay. You know why? because you can't get it anywhere else. If you don't catch a Con, you're screwed. The same thing happens with individual issues - and I really HATE this - the guy standing in line with 50 copies of a Free Comic Book Day issue of, oh, I don't know, say Mouse Guard - get's them all signed and then hocks them for $10.00 a piece. It's disgusting.
I'm using Mouse Guard as the example because I see it on eBay on a regular basis. I know it sucks if you can't make it to a show, and it's nice that people are giving you the opportunity to buy it another way (even though it was originally free) but to Bleed someone dry is just sort of shitty, you know.
And here's the future problem I see. Archaia is doing a great thing. But just imagine how much that book will be selling for in a year. Two years. More. And then the two big guns, Marvel and D.C. might just get the picture - hey! what if we release these as 1:50 options to the stores - that way they can overstock on our garbage and then they can only hand out a few of the RARE Free Comic Book Day Hard Covers. People still will come out for FCBD but I fear it's going to turn into some sort of cut-throat competition for fans.
The point of this day is to promote readership (obviously) and having the first Hard Cover will do that. However, I have a bad feeling that this is going to lead to more sharks on eBay - sad kids who didn't get the Variant edition of a free comic on FCBD or didn't get the 1:50 Hard Cover or whatever they may come up with.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope that the spirit of FCBD remains in tact and doesn't become twisted.