Jackman/Wolverine Free Comic Book Day PSA: The story behind the story

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how Concord California retailer Joe Field came up with the idea for Free Comic Book Day, a great promotional tool for the industry since 2002. I also wrote about the watershed event (IMHO) of Wolverine Hugh Jackman standing in front of a camera in Malibu California and talking about Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) and how great comic books are. 



Yesterday’s post also included a brief discussion about the huge amount of wasted time and wasted discussion that went into the pursuit of getting a high visibility celebrity to endorse comic books. More than one organization was formed, meetings held and organizations ultimately abandoned, all in the pursuit of an endorsement from a popular movie or music star.

When Joe Field said of the Wolverine PSA that he had waited 25 years for it to happen, he also revealed another secret that I had not heard before. Joe said, “We had three of the four actors from the Fantastic Four movie a couple of years ago, they recorded a Free Comic Book Day PSA, but something happened with the studio and the deal fell apart.”

Oh REALLY ! ! ! Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, and Ioan Gruffold recorded a FCBD PSA that never saw the light of day?

Chris Evans wasn't part of the failed PSA attempt, but all the other stars were.

Chris Evans wasn't part of the failed PSA attempt, but all the other stars were.

So then I asked Joe how the Wolverine/Jackman deal got done. After decades of frustration and so much wasted effort, I wanted to hear how Joe had succeeded where so many others had failed. He told me that he didn’t really have anything to do with it … and Marvel didn’t either.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the sad state of affairs regarding comic publishers being unwilling or unable to attract celebrities to the idea of endorsing comics. But Mark Herr, who worked for the Diamond Comics organization for 29 years posted a comment in defense of comic publishers. “As someone who was heavily involved in the behind the scenes of the first four FCBD events, I can assure you that the publishers did attempt reach outs to the movie studios involved in corresponding movies at the time and they got little to no cooperation.”

If Joe Field didn’t arrange for Hugh Jackman to make the FCBD endorsement and Marvel Comics didn’t do it, who did?

Turns out the heroes of our story are employees of Diamond Comic Distributors, Elissa Lynch and Leslie Jackson.

*** Cue fanatic round of applause! ***

So on behalf of all you fanatics, I got the information from Elissa Lynch that everyone wants to know … the story behind the story … of the Jackman/Wolverine PSA. 

FBF/OIbrich: Where did the idea of using Jackman originate? 

LYNCH: We have been talking to Fox for a couple months about promoting Free Comic Book Day and the Wolverine Movie. When we brought up the idea of a PSA followed by a trailer of the movie they loved it.

Hardly the short "fire-plug" Wolverine as originally conceived

Hardly the short "fire-plug" Wolverine as originally conceived

FBF/OIbrich: What was the interaction like …how did he respond to the idea? 

LYNCH: Fox said Hugh was very open and excited to tape the PSA.

FBF/OIbrich: How involved was the studio? 

LYNCH: The studio handled everything. Diamond came up with the copy for the PSA and Fox didn’t change a thing.

FBF/OIbrich: Why did this effort succeed, while the one from two years ago with the Fantastic Four cast didn’t come together? 

LYNCH: Working with Fantastic Four was great too however there was a technical error on the day of taping with the green screen in the background of the PSA. They would have to redo the PSA which would have involved all the talent coming back into the studio and they were already starting their publicity tour for the movie so the PSA never made it into the hands of retailers.

FBF/OIbrich: What is the plan for distribution of the PSA? Who is going to see it and how? 

LYNCH: Anyone can download it from the website. We have some hard copies being sent to Diamond if anyone needs a hard copy of the PSA to play in their store.

A huge fanatic THANK YOU to Elissa Lynch, Joe Field and Mark Herr for their help with this post.



Because I love black-and-white original artwork and I love to see Tom Palmer’s inks over Gene Colan pencils, I submit this cover of HOWARD THE DUCK for your fanatical enjoyment. While I don’t know for sure whether the late GREAT Steve Gerber wrote this issue, the cover features a common theme for Gerber, the writer vs his own typewriter.


That’s my version of the story.

          — Dave Olbrich (DWO) Thur. April 30, 2009



Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Point-of-view

8 responses to “Jackman/Wolverine Free Comic Book Day PSA: The story behind the story

  1. Pingback: Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

  2. Pingback: FCBD 09: Millions of Comics to be Given Away Free « The Sky’s the Limit

  3. Absolutely Gerber wrote that issue. That is issue 16, the famous “Deadline Doom” issue, where Gerber was so far behind that he wrote a bunch of text pieces and stream-o-consciousness and the like, and whatever artists were grabbable were grabbed to add illustrations. And in the midst of it is the scene of a showgirl, an ostrich, and a killer lampshade that would later serve as the base concept for his Vertigo series Nevada. It’s perhaps the most-remembered issue of Howard, judging by my conversations with folks. So that’s one key piece you have there!

  4. Pingback: ZEITGEIST / Today Is Free Comic Book Day 2009

  5. The cynic in me wonders if FOX may have pushed for Jackman’s spokesman-esque involvement with FCBD so as to save face with fans after the recent film leak online (though I can also see how said leakage may well have been a publicity stunt- even with trumped up reports of downloads).
    Whatever the case, it certainly helped, even with the sublime crack in the PSA about comics being for younger readers.
    I think it helped more than McCartney’s “Magneto and Titanium Man”.

  6. Pingback: IRON MAN 2 update including Johansson in a Black Widow suit « Funny Book Fanatic

  7. the villain Rorschach has an awesome look about him … Black overcoat wit a top hat

  8. Pingback: Ice cream and the genesis of Free Comic Book Day – Comichron: Comics History By The Numbers!

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