The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to delays and cancellations in nearly every aspect of everyday life, and the annual Free Comic Book Day event recently became among them. Early on Wednesday, Diamond Comic Distributors announced that the event would be turned into "Free Comic Book May", an opportunity to let stores give away the free comics however they see fit across the month of May. The idea was met with a mixed response from consumers and retailers alike, and has apparently led to another change. In a recent memo from Steve Geppi, Chairman and founder of Diamond, the company confirmed that it would be canceling the "Free Comic Book May" idea, and instead move the event to sometime in the summer. You can check out the full statement below:
"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!"
There is no indication of exactly when this move to the summer will be, in part because there is still nationwide uncertainty about when the pandemic status will be over. While the idea of allowing smaller groups to pick up their free books whenever they want does promote social distancing, the choice would realistically have a negative impact on some stores, many of which rely on the volume of people attending Free Comic Book Day to boost their overall sales.
You can see all the Gold Sponsor comics being offered during Free Comic Book Day here.