FREE COMIC BOOK DAY Organizer Responds To Calls For Changes To Selection Process

Amazing Age
Credit: Jeremy Massie (Alterna Comics)

Updated October 24, 2017: Free Comic Book Day founder (and organizing committee chairperson) Joe Field has responded to the concerns brought up by a publisher rejected for inclusion in the 2018 event about how titles are chosen.

"I understand the disappointment publishers feel when not chosen for FCBD," Field told Newsarama. "Every year the FCBD title selection process gets more challenging with more applications and tougher competition."

"My committee of retailers looks closely at all the applications to determine which ones have the best opportunity to intrigue and ignite new readers of all ages and interests," said Field, a retailer himself. "I'm grateful for the work the committee does and I'm pleased with the selections we made, even though I know the process leaves out some potentially attractive titles. "

Original Story: Alterna Comics is questioning the decision-making into what titles are part of the annual Free Comic Book Day event after its proposed 2018 title was rejected. In an open letter, publisher Peter Simeti talks about the rejection this week of his planned Amazing Age #0 one-shot.

Just received news that our 2018 FCBD title was rejected by the FCBD committee.

14 cent price point (for retailers), 32 total pages on newsprint, and it would have been Amazing Age #0.

Last year, our 10 Year Anniversary blank cover with character guide (the first sketch cover blank that would have been offered at FCBD) was rejected as well. We had priced it at 25 cents and we would have taken a 7 cent hit per book to make it possible at that price.

For the sake of transparency to all the readers at Alterna, here was my response to the news:

"Wow that's a bit shocking to hear.

Considering the 14 cent price of our title and the fact that we have one of the largest and most active social media presences so we could promote the event AND we were going to create local TV ads for the event as well (all things stated on the FCBD application) - well that's just disappointing to hear that they would rather not include the book.

I wonder if, instead of a small group of retailers selecting the books for thousands of other unaffiliated retailers, if the retailers all voted on a simple multi-selection form on the FCBD site and then the top titles made it through based on those votes -- it would provide a more accurate representation of the landscape and would even take some of the burden off.

This way individual voices can be heard instead of titles being decided by a committee that does not actively own or operate all the other local comic shops.

Maybe something to consider in the future.


Peter Simeti
Alterna Comics

Amazing Age #0 was planned as a 32-page B&W original story.

"Amazing Age has a TPB coming out in May so we thought it would've been a great time for the FCBD release," Simeti told Newsarama. "We also planned on filming local TV commercials with stores and of course promoting and advertising on social media."

Breaking down the costs, Simeti revealed that Amazing Age #0 FCBD cost to retailers would have been 19 cents - 14 cents going to the publisher and 5 cents for Diamond's shipping/administrative costs.

The FCBD titles are chosen by a committee of retailers led by founder Joe Field (of Flying Colors Comics in California), with the rest of the committee anonymous. Diamond primarily acts as the distributor for FCBD, but is known to have input with the committee on what titles are chosen.

"No reason was given for our rejection other than we weren't selected because there were other titles in contention," Simeti said. "From my understanding, Diamond is more the messenger than anything else, in this situation. They're just relaying the information to rejected publishers."

Other publishers have gone public with their FCBD rejection in the past, ranging from 2000 AD to Aspen, and Keenspot.

Alterna has taken part in Free Comic Book Day since 2009, averaging a print run of 40,000 copies each year.

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