A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Epilogue, and Call For Questions

A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Epilogue

A Comic Shop's Skrull Kill Krew in Action

Hey Fandom! Thanks for reading, recommending, and commenting! We got a ton of feedback from the Ideology series of articles and more ideas from meeting so many new people in this industry recently. We’re back from New York Comic Con and ready to rock.

“A Comic Shop,” http://www.acomicshop.com

New York Comic Con was amazing, I was stopped several times by comic retailers who liked this column and wanted me to keep it up (I wore an “A Comic Shop” t-shirt so people could recognize me). One thing we kept hearing from the retailers was, while they agreed with a lot of our philosophy, they aren’t able to carry it out to the degree we do. Well, at this time last year, we weren’t doing many of the things we’re doing today. Two years ago, we were still marking up back issues. You see, implementing new ideas is a process. It takes time, and sometimes, leaps of faith. It’s okay to be scared of change, even if you agree the change is needed. Small steps are fine, and by all means, people don’t have to do exactly what we do. Our hope is to get comic shops to think about how they can use their love and passion for comics to grow the industry.

Putting our ideology out there was a lot of fun, but through the feedback we learned and refined our stance. With our “no more back issues” and format neutral stances, we learned the need to clarify what we stand for, which is that we are against comics as investment, but not against collecting. Some people simple say they “collect” comics because they want to read the whole history of a character. For some people, back issues are viewed as “readable,” and not as collectible investments. Though we think most comic fans are readers and not collectors, we will continue to make a point to state we are against investment and speculation with new comics. To this end, we will point out when Wizard magazine or the Free Comic Book Day website use the term collecting when they are advocating investment based speculation (like buying multiple copies of new comics with the intent to resell at a profit). We don’t feel there’s a voice out there championing comics as an entertainment art form, and we want to be that voice. The idea of ordering and promoting the best in comics, and then selling out of the monthlies, moving on to selling later printings, then selling the collections of that same stuff just makes sense. Marking up and maintaining the monthlies that didn’t sell takes up time and resources that could be better used to order and promote the next batch of monthlies resulting in better sell-through. Just a decade ago, many old school comic shops were bemoaning about how the death of the monthly comic was soon to come because of the rise of graphic novel collections. However, that ended up not being the case. We have a booming new format and still have comics coming in every Wednesday (or Thursday).

Also, even though we realized that some readers prefer one type of format to another and we want to be format neutral, we’re still biased towards graphic novels. We are promoters, and a graphic novel is generally a whole story with a solid shipping date that is easily reordered. As for calling this collected format a graphic novel and not a trade paperback, the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (#1036 with the Watchmen covers) explains that Watchmen was “first published as a 12-issue serial in 1986” and “was later published as a “graphic novel” and helped comics infiltrate bookstores.” The official Watchmen website is broken down in two categories: “the movie” and “the graphic novel”. So, since we know people other than comic insiders are using the term graphic novel to describe content to the masses, can we please just use that and do away with the industry insider trade paperback term?

Change is scary for comic retailers and it certainly doesn’t carry the warm nostalgic feeling life long comic fans get from sniffing old back issues. The Ideology we have on investment, back issues, and format stirred up some controversy. What was weird for us though is that there are plenty of people who disagree with our ideology, but have nothing bad to say about our creativity. Our “My Free Comic Day” program is well received and our events are generally applauded, but we couldn’t manage all of this if we hadn’t stop following traditional comic retailing. We just wouldn’t have the time, space, energy, or manpower to pull off so many events if we still did the whole marking up and stockpiling back issues thing. Additionally, comic creators and publishers don’t benefit from us marking up new books or selling back issues, they benefit from us selling their new stuff and their collections. We are on the same page as the talent and the publishers, so we can focus on working together to get more people to read and enjoy more of what they print each week. Giving up old ways of doing things doesn’t mean we are against them in principle. It means, in practice, we have time for innovation.

Currently we are working on a lot of innovative events and will have plenty of new ideas and initiatives to bring to comic fans and retailers. The next thing we have going on as a shop and our next article will be on Watchmen promotions. We’ve been giving away the $1.50 Watchmen #1 reprint and we’ll have a “READ MOORE” promotion going on in the store (read more Alan Moore). We rented out the closest theater to us for an exclusive Watchmen midnight release and we’ll also be at another theater giving out free comics. The biggest promotional opportunity is “After Watchmen, What’s Next?” DC’s amazing program of $1 first issues of mainly mature reader books handpicked to get a Watchmen fan to dive further into comics. We’ll have our suggestions on how retailers should take advantage of this program as well as an interview with one of DC Comic’s marketing managers. Look for that next week. Then we’re working with Daniel Way to promote Deadpool’s newest graphic novel release. After that we’ll write about our work with the FX Show here April 17-19 and how a comic shop can benefit from sponsoring a convention.

Ruby as 'The Pro'

We’re going to do a promotional push for Palmiotti and Amanda Connor’s Power Girl #1, maybe even work with Ruby Rocket who helped us generate renewed interest in Conner’s The Pro. Marvel Digital has gotten a lot of people talking and a lot of retailers nervous, but we’re excited about what they have planned and how comic shops can be a part of it. If any fan, comic shop employee, or comic shop owner wants to work with us to promote, get in touch.

The Boys of A Comic Shop - an idea in need of tweaking

FX Show: http://www.fxshow.com

Any questions?

If there’s anything anyone wants to know about us, ask. If you have any questions about comic retailing in general or what we do specifically, post a comment. If you have any questions about comic marketing for Marvel, DC, Image, or Dark Horse, we know who to ask and will get you an answer. Thanks for reading and for having a passion for comics!

aaron@acomicshop.com or jason@acomicshop.com

“A Comic Shop” is located at 114 S. Semoran Blvd Winter Park, FL 32792 (407) 332-9636. Established: 2006




Get Caught Up:

A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Part 5, Future Vision 

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 4, Creativity Counts 

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 3, Format Neutral Story Advocates

A Shop of Ideas: Ideaology Part 2, My Free Comic Book Day

A Shop of Ideas: Ideology Part 1, NO MORE BACK ISSUES

A Shop of Ideas: Holiday Hullabaloo

A Shop of Ideas: Life at A Comic Shop 

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