Topic: Comic Books - New
I've been blogging about Free Comic Book Day Signings for several weeks... On Thursday I realized there were none listed for the San Diego Metro Area! How ironic considering that San Diego is home to the world renowned Comic Con International held yearly at the San Diego Convention Center.
San Diego Metro currently has 18 Local Comic Book Stores (LCBS). For those of you familiar with the area, I am including from North County to East County down to the South Bay in the area. BTW, we used to have 20 but one in Carlsbad and one in Escondido have closed down recently.
I called all the stores on Thursday to find out if they were participating in Saturday's FCBD. I was surprised to learn that five were not, and none had signings planned.
With Comic Con less than three months away and 4-day passes already sold out, I was amazed that so few stores were taking advantage of the publicity for FCBD. Coming on the heels of the first big summer movie opening for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you'd think retailers would be anxious to capitalize on the the public's interest in comics.
Okay, so I crossed those 5 off the go-to list for Saturday. That left 13 LCBS to visit... Tina rolled her eyes at me when I suggested that we attempt to hit all 13 stores.
We hit the road at 10:30 AM Saturday. 130 miles and 8 1/2 hrs later, here's our report on Free Comic Book Day in San Diego:
First, "hats off" to the 13 local stores that participated in some way for FCBD. For the rest of you, all I can say is ... "What's Up Doc?"!
We started at Comic Gallery in Claremont which has been opened for 26 continous years. It also turned out to be the BEST participation in our opinion. Everyone visiting the store had an opportunity for ONE EACH of the FCBD special editions, except for about ten issues which you could pick up five of the ten. This was the most liberal FCBD policy we saw at the 9 stores we visited. Plus, Comic Gallery took smart advantage of the high-volume traffic. Tina is a Marketing Consultant whereas my forte is in Comics. That being said, Tina was very impressed with how the store owner, Steve, had a 30% off sale going on for many items in the store. I was pleased that this LCBS had a bargain bin, which I've never seen there before.
ComicKaze in San Diego was our next stop. There we were 'greeted' by a large line of patrons standing in line with their FCBD comics. However there was a limit to FIVE ONLY of the FCBD special editions. It looked to Tina like most of the people standing in the long line were just there for the FCBD comics. However, as the line progressed, a few of the 'patrons' decided to pick up something that was close to them in line, possibly to make it 'worth their while' standing in line. This was a far cry from the previous store we visited, where those 'patrons' actually had multiple comics to purchase, and / or action figures, graphic novels or character busts. When we finally reached the counter, we learned the long line was due to the fact that the store was scanning the 'SKU' number of each FCBD comic book for tracking purposes. This was the only store we visited that did so. Thanks to Robert, the store owner, this store did have the BEST FCBD signage though, (see photo). The great signage coupled with its location in a popular strip mall, brought in high numbers for the FCBD comics.
I used to shop this next LCBS a lot years ago when it was known as Comic Kingdom. This store is located in the Hillcrest section of San Diego. Marilyn has been there for many years, and is knowledgeable about the comics displayed for sale. Unfortunately, there was minimal signage for FCBD, and this now tiny store front had a small handful of patrons when we arrived mid-morning. There was a limit to number of current FCBD offerings, (Five only), but Marilyn did have some other FCBD editions from previous years that she offered to us. Also, the store's bargain bin had some interesting items I don't normally see, even at Cons.
The next store we visited was the Comics 'N Stuff in National City. There was no FCBD mention on the storefront that we could see, and indeed I couldn't find the FCBD comics anywhere until I talked to store manager, Rita, and saw the FCBD issues on the wall behind her. Each 'patron' could ask for ONE issue... This was a definite 'turn-off' for Tina, although I did get her OK to go to the next Comics 'N Stuff located at Plaza Bonita Mall in the Bonita area of Chula Vista.
Again, it just wasn't the day for this largest (and only LCBS) chain in the San Diego area. There was NO parking to be had at the South End of this giant mall, so, realizing there was only one FCBD comic to be had there anyway... we decided to move on. The next location was another store in this comics chain, and neither Tina nor myself wanted to drive into the heart of Chula Vista to check out the other Mall location.
(To Be Continued in Part 2 of this Blog post...)For those of you that are new to our blog today, we also have an ongoing 'Comic Con and Pop Culture Convention' here at "Make It So Marketing Inc.", what with our daily blog posts, and new listings of items for sale in our online eBay Featured Store! Thanks again to all of YOU reading our current and archived blog posts, and be sure to be here later for Part 2 Of this Series!
~ Michael (and Tina)