Usually the first Saturday of May is a fun event for comic fans across the globe; Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is when we go out in crowds to our favourite local comic shops for – you guessed it – free comics. Unfortunately pandemic has prevented this year’s event, as said by CEO Steve Geppi in an announcement by Diamond Comic Distributors (DCD): “The severity and timing of the impact of the COVID-19 virus can’t be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailer partners and comic book fans is too important to risk.” DCD still plans to host FCBD at a later date, but what plans do comic shops have in the meantime?
Australian store All Star Comics has been busy with mail orders after closing in-store shopping. An active Melbournian location for FCBD, this year All Star is taking the festivities online. On its Facebook events page All Star has announced that on May 2nd they’ll be hosting “Stay Away Comic Book Day!” They plan to add random free comics, as well as sketches by local artists Jess Kitty Parker (The New Guards) and Trevor Wood (Sawbones, After the Snow) to orders made that day. All Star is also continuing with their traditional costume competition – usually on the day cosplayers’ photos are taken in the shop and the winner is picked by popular vote on All Star’s Facebook page; this time entrants are taking pics at home with “#stayawayCBD” signs to mark the occasion.
Making it global, Challengers Comics + Conversation in Chicago, USA shouts out a “Special thanks to all the great comic-lovin’ peeps over at All Star Comics in Melbourne for this idea!” In their own spin Challengers is including donations from comic artists Tim Seeley (Money Shot, Dark Red) and Kat Leyh (Lumberjanes, Snapdragon) in their random free comic additions to Saturday’s mail orders. Both shops embrace a new slogan: “Save the Date and Stay Away!”
A new date for FCBD 2020 has not yet been set. We reached out to Diamond Comic Distributors to ask how they believe the new date may affect customer attendance and store participation, but as of publishing have received no comment.