Thursday, May 7, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015: Evaluating the books

 

     For many years  I have written about the value of Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), and emphasized the opportunity it presents for comic shop owners to promote their business as well as grab the attention of new and younger readers.  For one of the best examples of how to pull this off, go to the BC archives and read my May 2010 detailed report  of FCBD at Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware.

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photo courtesy free comic book day organization

          By the same token, FCBD is an opportunity for comics publishers to draw attention to their products and create interest, hoping to obtain new readers as well.  After reading your 2015 FCBD pick-ups, how well do you think they did?

         Thanks to the kind folks at Captain Blue Hen Comics I have a big stack of FCBD titles and will be reviewing and evaluating them.  I’m going to revive a 20 point rating system that I haven’t used since the last time I had a big stack of FCBD books. Keep in mind that these are the opinions of one and one only reviewer and are meant to be subjective.

PERFECT = 20 POINTS.  So good that you should pay for it!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED = 15-19 POINTS.  A perfect example of representing the industry proudly!

MEETS EXPECTATIONS = 12-14 POINTS.  Above average and worth your time. Comes close but misses the bulls-eye.

SOMEWHAT LACKING = 7-11 POINTS.  There’s just not enough here to recommend this book.

POOR EXAMPLE = 0-6 POINTS.  This does not represent the industry well at all.  So bad you should pay someone to read it or take it off your hands.

               For those of us who missed the FCBD event at their local comic store, these reviews may serve as  useful guide to determine if a specific book that you missed is worth pursuing.  You may decide to try and obtain it either through your local shop or the various online comics selling services that may offer it.   

   Here’s how the ratings will be determined . . . . . . . . . .

COVER APPEAL:  0-3 points.  If the FCBD titles were displayed in a glass case and the reader could only choose a few, which ones would they be?  In the case of unfamiliar material, the choice would largely be made on the appeal of the art and cover design.

STORY:  0-3 points.  How good of a job does the writer do?  Is the story entertaining?  Is the story engaging?

ART: 0-3 points.  How good of a job does the artist do?  Is the art entertaining?  Is the art engaging?  Does it enhance the script and add to the story-telling power of the comic?

YOUTH APPEAL: 0-3 points.  Recognizing that the best opportunity to bring new readers and fans into the world of comics is to hook the younger readers - - then any FCBD title accomplishing that gets more points.  I’m very supportive of bringing younger readers into the world of comics.  The art form needs new blood and new readers to thrive.

NEW READER APPEAL:  0-3 points.  Does the title take into consideration that a new reader would be unfamiliar with characters and continuity and address that by either explanation or simplification?

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: 0-3 points.  Does the title help promote the publisher’s line-up and provide information to help guide new readers t learn more about it?

EXTRA BONUS POINTS = WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?  0-2 points.  All the above ratings are determined by imagining that I am a new and curious comic reader trying to determine whether to allocate some of my leisure funds and leisure time to comics. This forces me to think outside the box that I normally inhabit.  The extra bonus points allows me to be myself - - a long term mature (?) comics reader somewhat jaded by the amount of material I’ve read over the years.  How well did I like it?  Hey, since this is my rating system - - I’m allowed to be thoroughly subjective here.

Now that we have set the ground rules, it’s time to explore the stack.  I’ll be reviewing several FCBD 2015 titles in the next installment.

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