Earlier today, the word got out that Free Comic Book was being turned by Diamond Comic Distributors into Free Comic Book May. So rather than have one bacchanalian day of giving away free comics on the first Saturday of the month, with all the attendant crowds, it would instead be spread out across the month of May, to make something more achievable during the current coronavirus state of affairs in the world. However this state of affairs was decided upon, it seems, without buying from publishers or indeed the FCBD board, and the man who founded it, Joe Field. Who had concerns.
Just to let everyone know, I was not consulted at all about this less than satisfactory change.
Not that I have any real leverage in this, but this is not a feasible solution for a number of reasons.
— Joe Field (@flycojoe) March 18, 2020
In private retailer FOC and DC Retailers Facebook groups for, retailers were rather mutinous over this decision. Free Comic Book May would not have the same impact if spread over thirty-one days, with free comics competing with paid-for comics for a whole month. Now Aaron Haaland of A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida, regularly runs his own Free Comic Book May event, with four Saturdays used with different offers and different deals which he changes year by year. But he was also against the Diamond-planned Free Comic Book may. The difference was he could do something about it, because he owns the URL freecomicbookmay.com. Which he made go live with the following image, suggesting that this decision was akin to a punch in the mouth.
Demanding that Free Comic Book Day be postponed rather than transformed into Free Comic Book May. And it appears he got his wish. Diamond has now officially postponed Free Comic Book Day to later in the summer, with Steve Geppi, Chairman and founder of Diamond, saying
With restaurants and other businesses closing and many areas implementing event restrictions, we know that Free Comic Book Day will be impacted to varying degrees throughout the world. The severity and timing of that impact can't be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailers and fans is too important to risk. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the event to a date later in the Summer.
To minimize the impact on our primary distribution operations and prioritize the distribution of weekly new comics and restocks, a number of FCBD titles will be included with each regular weekly shipment for the next several weeks. These titles will be invoiced at no charge, as we extend the billing out approximately 90 days, to the first week in August. The books may not be in separate boxes from the rest of the shipment, except when full cases are shipped.
We will follow up with more information soon regarding FCBD non-comic merchandise soon. We will also update our consumer-facing pages with this information and provide further information via email and Diamond Daily as it becomes available.
As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm for and support of the comic industry's best event and look forward to celebrating with you later in the Summer!
Free Comic Book May is dead, long live Free Comic Book Day sometime in… July? August? We'll see.