Last year, there were over seventy Free Comic Book Day titles available for stores to order and distribute. Some seemed to feel that was too many, with less focus and too much of a burden on retailers who felt forced to carry the entire range
This year, that is being slashed back to fifty titles.
Publishers expecting their submissions to go through without problems have have discovered their two titles slashed to one – or none!
As it stands, those that did make the cut may be subject to scrutiny – why did they make it and others didn't? It is also likely that, far from growing year on year statistically, as a result 2015 may be the first year in which the amount of comic books given away free – now at four and a half million – falls.
Some use FCBD to launch new titles, new concepts, new ideas, and the day has proven very effective at exposing a new audience to new comic books. It is likely that the fifty chosen will be safer, more mainstream choices, and less likely to break out a successful surprising comic.
But I understand that some publishers have found cunning solutions.
Some will be able to combine multiple titles as flipbooks, or bagged together as one item, though that will create mixed branding and increase costs. And others will make the planned book available digitally for free on the day.
Some are going to make the comic books available at the same price to stores anyway, they just won't have the FCBD logo on their front. But that also means they won't be liable to content guidelines as they might have been otherwise, or take advantage of economies of scale. Others are looking at different ways to distribute the books.
Expect confusion, condemnation and complaints all round! #FCBDGate!