Columbus, OH - Popular snarky comic book news and commentary website TheOuthousers.com has launched a spinoff site: AlternativeFreeComicsDay.com. The site offers a platform for comic book creators and publishers to upload digital comics which will be given away for free on the already established Free Comic Book Day. The comics will be distributed both individually and as part of bundles, taking advantage of the anthology or compilation method of combining the appeal and promotion of a lot of comics and creators to benefit them all.
The idea for an Alternative Free Comics Day came about last year, when Outhouse Ace Reporter Jude Terror was covering a story on publishers unable to get into Diamond's Free Comic Book Day program.
"I did some investigating and I learned that the whole process is controlled by a mysterious committee headed up by ComicsPRO director Joe Field," said Terror. "I sent an email to Diamond asking questions about it, and they responded telling me basically that Diamond doesn't have anything to do with the decision. So then I tried to talk to ComicsPRO about it, and I sent an email through the FCBD website asking about it, and the same guy from Diamond responded, and this time he said ComicsPRO has nothing to do with it and it's all Diamond."
"I was like, 'what the hell is going here? This is a mess,'" Terror continued. "And then I thought, why does Diamond, along with a few top publishers, need to control everything about the American comics industry? This isn't a slight against Free Comic Book Day, which is a great program and which a lot of people love, but in 2016, there's nothing that says we need a comics distribution monopoly in order to give away free comics. We have the internet."
"Anyone should be able to give away free comics," Terror stressed. "Anyone who wants to, can."
With the Outhouse's web servers, Terror's skills at web development, and fellow Outhouse reporter Crystal O'Rourke's knowledge and connections in the independent comics scene, the pair worked on building a website on the open source Drupal platform that provided the simple functionality needed to distribute free digital comics from independent comics creators and publishers. The website allows users to register and then fill out one or more profiles based on their role: creator, publisher, retailer, website, volunteer. Creators and publishers can create a page for a digital comic and upload the comic. Retailers can offer to feature independent comics in their stores. Websites can offer to promote the event and feature independent creators on their site. Volunteers can sign up to help with promoting the event, helping creators and publishers with file formatting, doing quality control on the websites and profiles, or just about anything else. In addition, the website serves as a directory that can connect the various users for future collaboration.
Terror says that, though the website was started by Outhousers, it's not meant to belong to The Outhouse, and the site doesn't plan to exercise any kind of creative control over its content.
"My goal is that the independent comics community can take this thing and run with it," Terror explained. "I'll continue to maintain and improve the site, of course, unless someone eventually wants to take that over, but ultimately, this system doesn't need anyone to manage it. We're democratizing the process of giving away free comics, because anyone should be able to give away free comics, not just the biggest publishers with the most resources. We're putting the power in the hands of the people to use modern tools to distribute free comics worldwide. I have no idea how it will turn out."
In particular, Terror hopes that other websites will heed the call and take up promotion of the program, as well as featuring the digital downloads on their own sites and promoting the independent creators in interviews, as The Outhouse plans to do.
Alternative Free Comics Day 2016 will take place on May 7th, the same day as Free comic Book Day. But once the digital files are released into the wild, Alternative Free Comics Day will last all year, because the files can continue to be distributed. The website is expecting for a mild launch this year, with only a month to go before the event, but by Alternative Free Comics Day 2017, Terror hopes that the site will offer exponentially more free comics than Diamond's Free Comic Book Day does, featuring a greater variety of material from a more diverse pool of creators.
To participate in Alternative Free Comics Day, go to the website AlternativeFreeComicsDay.com and sign up.
For press: Jude Terror and Crystal O'Rourke are available for interviews about Alternative Free Comics Day. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter.