Comic fans have always wanted to see comics advertised on television. The feeling has been that if comics are advertised during shows that share a demographic similar to mainstream comic readership that we'd see a significant benefit at comic stores. Unfortunately the high cost of television advertising has made that thought completely prohibitive and the resulting debate as to whether or not it would be effective will continue. That is until Sci Fi Channel became the comic fans biggest friend.
By now you're well aware that May 4th, 2002 is Free Comic Book Day. A nationwide effort to promote the medium, on that day anyone entering a participating comic book store will be able to pick up a free comic book. A variety of efforts are being made to get the word out, including news articles and advertisements here at CBR as well as more main stream outlets. Wednesday, that promotional effort got a major boost. Diamond Comics Distributors announced that cable outlet Sci Fi Channel has joined in with a combination of on-air and online promotions that will include a contest tailored to appeal to science fiction and comic book fans.
According to the release, on Saturday April 27, a week before Free Comic Book Day, SCI FI Channel will feature "Super-Hero Saturday," a day-long marathon of super-hero movies and TV shows, which will include the airing in letterbox format of the DVD cut of "Superman: The Movie" which features additional footage not seen in the original theatrical release. Interspersed between these programs will be ads promoting comic books and directing viewers to their local comic book stores for the May 4th event. Sci Fi will also participate directly in the promotion by giving out post cards promoting the new seasons of their hit programs "Farscape" and "Stargate SG-1." Each postcard will feature artwork by comics industry legend Neal Adams. The postcards will direct fans to enter a contest at the SciFi.com Web site that will award the original art to one lucky fan.
"Our friends at The SCI FI Channel can reach a segment of the public that we can't, a segment that is predisposed to enjoy a large part of what our industry has to offer," said Diamond Marketing Communications Manager Barry Lyga in the release. "They've developed a wonderful promotion that celebrates comics while at the same time promoting the genres and media that have brought some of the most imaginative entertainment ever into our culture."
"So many wonderful science fiction concepts come from comic book stories," commented a SCI FI Channel spokeswoman. "Our industries are interlinked by a common past, and we're more than happy to reach out to the comic book world on this occasion. When we heard about Free Comic Book Day, we knew we had to be a part of it."