Advice for publishers seeking to submit content and proposals for Free Comic Book Day went out last week, with a return deadline for October. And there appeared to be one big change.
The FCBD Committee recommends proposed comics have no more than one story with one back up, instead of anthology stories.
You are still free to submit the type of content you'd like; this is just what the committee recommends as they consider all applicants and their books.
And for those who still go ahead with anthologies,
The Committee also recommends that if you do have additional stories, that you keep your cover to one main image. And of course, no flip-cover book/images, as per usual!
Every year a number of publishers put out anthology titles for Free Comic Book Day. Here are a few from last years…
Filip Sablik at Boom! who put together their anthology "blasts" every year tells me,
BOOM!'s goal for Free Comic Book Day is to provide our retail partners with the best tool to bring in new fans and readers. We always take the FCBD Committee's recommendations into consideration when putting together our offering.
Michael Mocher of Rebellion, publishers of 2000AD, always an anthology was more worried, telling me,
As well as being one of the success stories of FCBD, being an anthology is an intrinsic part of 2000 AD so we're slightly baffled by this change in the committee's stance and would like clarification on why anthologies are not preferred.
Our format has allowed us to not only promote our huge range of characters to new readers but also opened up the chance for us to commission new work from huge talents as Eric Powell, Chris Burnham, Joelle Jones, and Laura and Mike Allred.
Each year we've produced exceptional value for retailers and the customers who support them by being one of the only publishers to consistently produce new content for FCBD. We're very proud of the success of our FCBD issue, which saw orders grow in huge jumps every single year, exceeding 60,000 units in 2014. We value FCBD, and the effort Diamond and the retailers put into making the day so successful, for the opportunity to support comic book stores, reach out to new audiences both within and beyond the UK, and to give something extra to readers."
Diamond representatives tell me the likes of 2000AD have less to fear, rather publishers with different titles to promote all in one book, or too many licenses to placate by including them in FCBD – 2000AD, the Attack On Titan Anthology, even the CBLDF comic, that's just thing being promoted each time rather than the whole publisher line. But Boom, Bongo, Devil's Due, Viz, Aspen, things look like they may change.
However, as the form states,
Decisions on titles and publishers selected are made by the retailers serving on the Committee, with no input from publishers, press or Diamond; the decision(s) in question are absolute and final.
Joe Field, the man who started Free Comic Book Day tells me,
If there's a complete move away from anthologies, I don't know about it. I do know that retailers have stated a preference that FCBD editions feature complete stories rather than marketing samples. If a regularly published title is an anthology, then it makes sense that its FCBD edition follows suit.
We're still several weeks away from the FCBD retailer committee even receiving publisher applications, so that makes it a bit premature to guess what content will be proposed in the publisher applications for FCBD 2017.
So there you go. Another big issue appears to be the mixing of kid related material with PG with mature. This year each book will be clearly labelled.
You must evaluate your FCBD title and determine if it's suitable for "All-Ages", "Teen" or "Mature Reader". We will supply you with a graphic to place on your cover if you don't currently use a rating system on your titles.
Hear that, Fantagraphics? Although this year, there will be no deviation from format. No magazine sized comics, 2000AD. No collection of titles in one bag-and board, Red Giant Entertainment. No hardcovers, Mouse Guard.
You must produce a standard-sized 32-page color comic book (6-5/8" x 10-3/16") with no more than 10 pages of ads that has production quality and perceived value equal to or greater than a standard 32-page color comic book.
Free Comic Book Day next year is on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Publishers must submit their proposals for the fifty comics to be chosen by October 3rd.