Free Comic Book Day

Saturday May 4, 2002 was designated Free Comic Book Day. Publishers from around the country agreed to produce comics for free distribution in the hopes that these issues would bring in new readers. I did my part by taking a box to my local library so I got to see what the publishers were serving up (at least in my box, anyway). There were eleven different companies represented in my sample. Most of the smaller ones apparently chose books they thought to be their best but the "Bigger Boys" clearly had a media tie-in strategy. Image went after the game and movie crowd by giving away Tomb Raider comics, specifically "The Origin of Lara Croft!". Dark Horse presented a brand-new Star Wars Tales complete with a photo cover of Anakin Skywalker from the upcoming movie. DC tried to parlay its success in animation into more readers by reprinting Justice League Adventures #1. These are all good ideas but not in the same league as Marvel. Marvel's decision was truly inspired because Marvel chose to release the "Free Comic Book Day" edition of Ultimate Spider-Man #1. (Don't worry, Peter, I saved one for you if you need it!) How can you beat that? It's hot, it's good, it comes out one day after the release of the movie, and, most important of all, it's the first part of a seven-part story! Who can read the first one without going on to the next? Free Comic Book Day... until you buy the trade paperback, that is. With the new movie and this, we Spider-fans may soon have a lot more company.