Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Free Comic Book Day at the Last Minute

We’ve ALL been there. We’ve been meaning to get something together and it’s falling through the cracks due to summer reading, personal things, random things blowing up. Someone higher than us saw something in the newspaper or an online article and says, HEY WE NEED A PROGRAM FOR THIS DAY and says YOU! DO THIS! Or we’re just completely drained because it’s *MAY* and really, I want summer vacation.

There’s no reason you can’t have a completely AWESOME FCBD celebration at your library at the last minute. All you have to do is search within yourself and it will all be OK.

No, you’re not going to go begging for comics. First, the store actually PAYS for those comics (FREE in Free Comic Book Day means they give them away) but more often than not your comic store will be doing something wonderfully cool in addition to giving away the comics. Cosmic Comics and Cards, my local shop, always has a barbeque going with hotdogs and other food for his customers, and gets costumed characters (a variety each year that donate their fee to charity) to come out and take pictures. See what your local store is doing, and see if you can piggyback on what they’re doing by either doing a library outreach (card sign-up or just helping at the event in a library shirt) or handing out flyers at your library to let people know. That goodwill comes back to you, trust me.
Look around your library and talk to your staff, and see what you have. Do you have a gaming console (Wii, XBox 360, PS3)? See if you can get your hands on games like DC vs Mortal Kombat, Lego Marvel Superheros,  Lego Star Wars,DragonBall Z, or other games that can be set up for two or more players, and have a free play gaming day. See if someone would be willing to lend their board games for an afternoon with the promise that you’ll take good care of them, or see if the library would be willing to purchase some outright. There are a lot of comic related games out there, including:
Or if you have players in your area, let it be known that you’re having free play for
I’ve found that all I have to do reserve some tables, set down basic rules (no trading cards, no trick battles), and just watch them play. Ideally, I have prizes relating to the games played (sealed packs of cards from the latest release) as a door prize, but a lot of times teens and young adults just want a place to play. 

Don’t forget to showoff your collection. You may not have a comic or graphic novel collection, or it may not be in the best shape, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do a display. Pull science fiction novelizations of comic related books (want to start a fun debate with people, pull all the books that Lucasfilms and Disney have now decided don’t belong in the Starwars cannon), and all the movies that you have that are based off of comics and graphic novels. 
Finally, if you have a public performance license that covers them, show comic based movies all day. Pop popcorn or encourage teens and young adults to bring snacks (and have them clean up afterwards- you’d be surprised what they’ll do if you ask and put guidelines on the program) and either roll out a TV or set up a projector and take over a wall. The entire Avengers cannon (starting with Iron Man all the way through Thor: The Dark World) is based on comics, or show the Tobey Maguire Spiderman then the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man and debate the merits between the two.  Or show movies that feature the casting of future superheros such as Chronicle (still superpowers yet stars the future Human Torch) or Fast and Furious (with Gal Godot rumored to be Wonder Woman in the 2017 Justice League movie).
 Introduce them to Mystery Men, one of the best movies about the need for strange superheros. 
Or, take a movie that the teens and you really don’t like and turn it into a RiffTrax/Mystery Science Theater opportunity and completely trash it while watching it. Surely you can think of a few comic related bombs that would fit the bill…

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