by Gary Scott Beatty
Gary Scott Beatty runs Aazurn Publishing, is publisher of “Indie Comics Magazine” and recently wrote the comic book retailer story “Number One.” The first alternative comic he produced (They were called “underground” then) was on his high school’s ditto machine, after hours, without permission. His Xeric Grant Winner “Jazz: Cool Birth,” a jazz club murder mystery, was inspired by ‘50s album cover design. He also colors and letters for the industry. Find out more at Gary Scott Beatty.com.
Comic book fans are always talking about how to pull more kids into the comic reading community. Besides reading to your kids from comics (at home) and partnering with your local library to read comics to other people's kids (shop owners, are you listening?) I have found a cheap and fun way to spread the joy of comics to virtually all my neighborhood's children. It's called Halloween.
Years ago I came up with the idea of handing out comics at Halloween. I was thinning out my collection and came across the great Gladstone Uncle Scrooges I read to my own three kids. They were older, avid readers, but not really interested in these comics, which were too beaten up for collectability. So, instead of giving the neighborhood kids nasty candy for Halloween I handed out comics.
The reaction was great and you can bet at the end of the night mine was the most talked about item in their bags. (As not to appear too altruistic to CAD readers, I did include a flyer for Comic Artists Direct in each comic bag.)
This year I was planning on searching the 50 cent bins at conventions for my Halloween treats but skipped all the summer conventions to work. So, like last year, I contacted Archie Comics, who supplied me with 200 comics, three to five copies each of Archie's various titles published this year, for half off the cover price. This includes shipping. Not as inexpensive as the 50 cent bins, but a darn good bargain for "new" comics.
You might be interested in the rules I have for choosing giveaway comics. They must be "all ages" so I don't have to dig through to find age appropriate material and possibly run out. I figure kids have enough of the spandex and violence crowd on TV today so I leave out the superhero stuff. And I don't give away anything I haven't read - in other words, don't just pull random from 50 cent bins. I've heard enough stories from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to put me on edge and the last thing I want to do is turn kids and parents AWAY from the hobby I enjoy.
So I challenge all CAD readers to join me in my "Comics, Not Candy" campaign. Chances are most of the little ones have never even read a comic book. Your giveaway comic could be the one that, years later, a kid will talk about as his "first comic."
It has been years since I wrote the above article, and I'm still handing out comics for Halloween. I'm up to 350 quantity. Titles I've given away in the past include: bargain bin Marvel's Greatest Comics (Stan Lee's Fantastic Four), bargain big Marvel Tales (Stan Lee's Spider-Man reprints), more Uncle Scrooge than I can count, and Top Shelf's Owly and Friends comics. There is much more satisfaction handing kids a comic than dropping a lump of sugar in their bags!
Above, 2013's Halloween giveaway: Adventure Time!
Comments on our can be referred to Gary at gary -at- comicartistsdirect -dot- com. All artwork copyright © by its respective artists and publishers.
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How do They Do It? is a feature on Comic Artists Direct that explores the nuts and bolts of the creative process. Check out the below articles!
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James Lyle talks about brainstorming for ideas here.
Check out Gary's article here for ways to keep your writing ideas fresh and different.
Gary's step by step article on lettering for comics is here.
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Small Press Stories. Comic Artists Direct asked accomplished small press creators to tell us about producing, printing, publishing and distributing small press comics in today's changing market. The results are contributions from Peter Kuper, Jaime, Steve Lafler and Steve "Noppie" Noppenberger and more, here!
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Questions and Answers. Chances are your question is answered here.
Navigating Comic Book Conventions by Gary Scott Beatty. It's easy to wander around in a daze at big conventions. A little preplanning can make your visit even better.
Breaking Into Comics by Gary Scott Beatty. There's more than one way to be a success in the comic book industry. These stories from pros are inspirational.
Coloring Comic Books Before Computers by Gary Scott Beatty. The processes printers went through to color comics before computers will amaze and impress you.
Comic Book Lettering -- How do They Do It? by Gary Scott Beatty. Putting those comic book letters in those little word balloons may be more complicated than you think.
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The Word "Got" and literacy in comics.
Halloween: Comics, Not Candy. Turn kids on to comics!
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