Read Comics in Public Day

Well it is actually the end of international “Read Comics in Public Day,” the second such proclaimed day, that is.  What started as a conversation by a couple of New Yorkers with a website called about reading comics on the train became the first proclaimed day last year, and it is now slowly filtering across the landscape.

Did you see anyone reading comics in public today?  Maybe not, but you might have seen some folks reading comics in bookstores, coffee shops, parks, or in planned get togethers if you were out and about today, and not hunkered down on the East Coast because of Hurricane Irene.  Better planning would have had the day on a weekday–where more people typically are out in public.  Maybe they’ll think of that next year?  Here is their poster for the event:

The obvious response to the idea–why not read comics in public every day?  The idea is to continue to help legitimize reading comic books by the general public.  Ultimately it seems to be about keeping comic books as a going industry.  Recall that once upon a time Marvel Comics filed for protection under the federal bankruptcy laws so it’s not a foregone conclusion the comic book medium will always be around.  If you enjoy the medium, then sticking with it, reading ongoing series, talking about what’s new–it all keeps the industry going.  Does it need our help?  With Hollywood studios funneling money into films based on comic books, you wouldn’t think it.  But maybe the focus really should be on reading comics because you enjoy them, and if you want them to keep coming, what’s a better idea than supportiing your local comic book shops.

With prices at $3.99 for a new comic book that used to be five cents, ten cents, thirty-five cents, or a dollar, depending on what decade you were born in, buying something like the entire 52 DC Comics #1 issues isn’t in the cards for everybody.  Every consumer has to make choices.  What am I going to do with this $10?  Go out for dinner?  See a movie?  Buy a couple of comic books?

One way to support local comic book shops is a “pull list,” instead of trolling the racks like I have always done.  A lot of comic book shops now use a website called to keep track of your list.  It allows your designated local comic book store to better plan on what it orders.  In a system where some books cannot be returned by a shop owner, in this economy what better time to give a pull list a try?  I set one up this month and found it pretty easy.  And it guarantees not having to drive around town looking for that issue you missed that everyone else trolling the racks is after.

So if you missed “Read Comics in Public Day” you can still catch up by reading comics in public throughout the year.  I have often taken my Neal Adams/Dennis O’Neil hardcover compilation of Green Lantern/Green Arrow on business trips.  The funny thing is I have never noticed if anyone gave me a strange look.  Maybe comic books are so pervasive today that maybe we don’t really need a proclaimed Read Comics in Public Day?

If you happened to see anyone reading today, post a comment.  We’d like to know what you saw.

C.J. Bunce


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