WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 — Last year, in the month of May, Iron Man 3 made $378,998,131. Iron Man No. 9, the May 2013 installment of the ongoing Marvel Comic Book franchise, made about $69,170,579 in that same month.
It was a difference of about $310 Million.
Another difference? Iron Man 3 was the 2013 film released on the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day. Every year, the film industry schedules a superhero movie to be released the first weekend in May to celebrate Free Comic Book Day.
But when you look at the numbers from 2013, it seems more like Free Comic Book Day was celebrating the release of Iron Man 3.
Free Comic Book Day has been an annual celebration held on the First Saturday in May, started 2002. The primary goal of the event is to introduce new comic book readers to the medium and to encourage them to find a few titles they might be interested in.
Here’s how the model is supposed to work: You heard it was Free Comic Book Day. You go into your local comic book store to pick up a free comic book. While you’re there, you see a comic book about Iron Man. You like Iron Man. In fact, you’re going to see Iron Man 3 with some friends this afternoon. You pick it up, take it home, enjoy it, and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’m, you’re a comic book fan for life.
But, for some reason, that model isn’t working for the Comic Book industry the way they’d hoped it would. And it should work.
Remember The Great Gatsby? That book that everyone read in high school and years later became a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio? It made $50 Million its opening weekend and, what’s more, everybody- EVERYBODY- went out and bought that book: to re-read. You can’t get through a public school in America without reading The Great Gatsby but people wanted to re-read it before seeing the movie.
Yet, for some reason, even when they’re baited with free comic books, people do not have the same reaction to super hero stories they’ve never read that they do to novels from the 1920s that they were forced to read when they were 17 years old.
This Saturday, the highly anticipated Amazing Spider-Man 2 will swing into theaters and is sure to be a box office smash. In fact, you’re probably one of the people who is so excited to see it. Well, True Believers, you’re in luck, because guess what? This Saturday will also be the first Saturday in May. Which means it’s, you guessed it, Free Comic Book Day.
Here’s your mission: Call, text, email, or send a letter to the group of people who you are planning on seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with this weekend. And tell them that, before you all go to the movie theater, you’re going to swing by your local comic book store. If you don’t know where it is, then go to the Free Comic Book Day website and use their search tool to find out where the closest participating store is to you.
Then, when you and your friends get to the store, get yourselves some free comic books.
There are 60- count ‘em- 60 free titles to choose from this year. I promise you that everyone in your group will find at least one free comic book that will be worth checking out. Now, here’s the hard part. While you’re there, pick up a copy of Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, brand new out from Marvel Comics just this week. Now this comic book will not be free.
But that’s okay. Because it’s the No. 1! This is your chance to get in on the brand new adventures of Peter Parker, starting from the beginning! Give it a read. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be back for Amazing Spider-Man No. 2, in a couple of weeks.