DC Takes Free Comic Book Day Digital--Today

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In an e-mail sent to fans today, DC Comics offered a free download of All-Star Superman #1 as part of a message that was nominally about DC Comics: The New 52 #1 and the rest of their Free Comic Book Day offerings this weekend. Entering an access code distributed through the e-mail list entitles anyone with a ComiXology account or the DC app on their tablet or smartphone to download the first issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's critically-acclaimed maxiseries immediately. That issue, of course, was a Free Comic Book Day release the year following its release and has since been widely available as a $1 sample issue along with several other popular #1s in what began as the "After Watchmen..." program in 2009. It's interesting to see DC piggybacking on the Free Comic Book Day event to promote its digital storefronts; the FCBD event is nominally a way to bring in new readers, for which this promotion seems perfect, but has been limited to the direct market in the past, which is both great for comics retailers and somewhat flies in the face of the stated purpose of getting new faces in the door. After all, many collected editions sell better in the bookstore market than they do at comic book stores but big-box and even community bookstores have historically been excluded from Free Comic Book Day events because they don't have a Diamond Comics Distributors account. It's hard to get a bead on the exact logic of DC's move, because they didn't actually say anything about the free All-Star Superman issue in the e-mail, except that it was a limited-time offer that expires tomorrow night at 11 p.m. They did, however, include it in the subject line of the e-mail, suggesting that maybe they were using a free download of a popular series as incentive to get readers to open the e-mail about their next big promotional push. And I'd be okay with them doing THAT once a month, surely.