If the movie industry could have it’s way, the season for the summer blockbuster would start somewhere around September 1st, and continue each week until August 31st of the following year. Working towards that goal, a huge tent-pole superhero film opens the season right about now – which just happens to coincide with the annual Free Comic Book Day.
Oh, Look! There’s Ironman, now!
Is the push for earlier and earlier season starters working? A quick check of Regal Cinemas at Crossgates Mall tells all…
To begin, we see online that the 9pm advance showing has sold out, while the 2D Thursday showings also sold well. The midnight Imax filled to about 80% capacity. Online buzz indicates Ironman 3 is expected to near record opening weekend sales. But, back to Crossgates…
Just entering the parking lot already gives a good indication, as can be seen here just before the Thursday midnight showing for Ironman 3. A further look inside the lobby reveals more, as a line of true-believers snakes along walls and around corners.
Inside, J.C. from EarthWorld Comics revs up the crowd, taking advantage of interest that comes pre-assembled in an Ironman audience, and multiplying it through the obvious cross-promotion appeal Free Comic Book Day is designed to leverage.
Free Comic Book Day blends perfectly with the Summer Movie Season opening day but isn’t actually a movie theater promotion. In fact, it’s its own event – a decade old, nationwide, comic book store promotion. Today, literally dozens of free titles are offered, covering every possible genre (The Tick, The Walking Dead, even Sesame Street) appealing to every potential audience. Officially on May 4th this year, several local businesses are participating. Stores vary in the comics they provide, and extra features on the day. Local shops Zombie-Planet and EarthWorld Comics have had costumed characters in attendance, and many stores cross promote, such as EWC’s movie theater appearances and giveaways. JC from EarthWorld apologized for his flighty demeanor as I interviewed him, explaining FCBD marks one of the most hectic weeks of the year. The sweat on his brow as he jostled back and forth between me and theater goers looking for free schwag confirmed this. Zombie Planet reps agree, also pointing out today (Friday, May 3rd) just happens to be release day for a new Magic expansion pack, Dragon’s Maze.
A quick check of the comicshoplocator website shows all local, listed shops are participating, including: Earthworld Comics in Albany, Zombie Planet in Colonie, Aquilonia in Troy, Electric City in Schenectady, Excellent Adventures in Ballston Spa, and The Comic Depot in Saratoga Springs.
A little one at Zombie Planet on FCBD 2012. As it says on the ZP facebook page, “Kids reading… ’nuff said.”
Check back later for thoughts on the relationship between comics and film, as expressed by a couple of local comic shop operators I’ve spoken with.
Going to Free Comic Book Day? Seeing Ironman 3?
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Crowds of young and old jam comic book stores across the country each year on Free Comic Book Day, like they did here at Zombie Planet in 2012.