As to your Qs Part Four: Things Are Tough All Over

§ October 8th, 2015 § Filed under question time § 5 Comments

I asked for questions, you gave ’em to me, and here are your answers (And here are the previous answers: 1 2 3.)

• • •

Bully, the Little Commenting Bull, horns in with

“Whither comics?”

Oh, young bull, “whither comics?” do you ask? Why, one might as well ask “whither the sun that shines” or “whither the waves that pound the beaches night and day” to question such a fundamental part of human existence. They, like comics, are inextricably intertwined with our lives, our hopes and our dreams. Comics express our innermost hearts and can release us from our daily pressures…we must always have comics, now and forevermore, pushing us ever forward into our unknowable future, providing the emotional and intellectual support they always have as we strive ever upward, embracing our desires and our foibles as we improve ourselves, improve the human experience, and reach out above us to touch the face of God.

tl;dr version: eh, comics are okay, I guess.

• • •

Hooper slam-dunks me with

“What current comic series provides that same thrill/enthusiasm you had when you first discovered comics? I’ve lost that loving feeling…”

It’s true, one can get a bit jaded after reading so many comics for so long. Becoming too aware of the industry of the whole may strip a little bit of the magic away as well, as comics go from those great things you can’t wait to get unbundled and shelved at the local Stop ‘N’ Go, to “man, the guy who wrote this issue was a dick to me on Twitter, I don’t want to read this.”

But if I had to pick current comics that stir up that old fanboy excitement, the ones that make me forget I have to sell these for a living and just enjoy them for the pure sake of enjoying them: Groo, and Astro City, and Love and Rockets, and Hellboy, and IDW’s Popeye reprints, and Concrete if we ever get another one, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But those are ones that still feel “special” to me, that make me remember why I got into comics in the first place.

• • •

Robert in New Orleans hits me with this big easy question:

“I don’t see you comment on the newer Image comics titles much (last 4-5 years). Do you have any favorites or are they not really your cup of tea?”

I really haven’t had much to say about them, honestly. I’m glad they exist, some of them certainly sell well, some of them certainly sit on the shelf and look at you forlornly, but I don’t have anything specific to comment upon. I’m enjoying Nameless, and I need to get cracking on Plutona and Descender, both of which look fantastic, and my mom likes Bitch Planet, so, you know, there’s that.

• • •

Bret Sector could only go this way with

“Were Convergence and Secret Wars jumping on or jumping off points for your customers?”

Well, of the two, Convergence was more of the jumping off point, kinda sorta, in that they ended a bunch of series that were doing okay for me prior to Convergence, and then launched a bunch of series after Convergence that by and large didn’t sell worth beans. So, it wasn’t that people jumped off so much as they were pushed. Most of the pre-Convergence series that continued afterward have remained more or less at the same level they were at.

Secret Wars…it’s harder to say. We’re just now, as of this week, getting relaunches of some of the pre-SW titles, and it remains to be seen how those will go. If Iron Man sells at all, I’ll consider that people jumping on. …In fact, the very post I was working on before I set aside and deciding to have you guys send in questions was examining if replacing all the regular Marvel books with Secret Wars tie-ins was a net gain for the summer or a net loss. Turned out to be more complicated than I thought…the Hulk related tie-ins sure as heck sold better than any regular Hulk comic of late, while Korvac Saga‘s sales didn’t really make up for not having three or four Avengers titles on the stand for months.

So, I don’t know yet. We’ll see how these post (well, sorta post) SW relaunches go.

• • •

MrJM tweets

“Are Twitter pals REAL pals?”

In this brave new Internet age…sure, close enough. Only real pals could stand my constant tweeting about Frank Miller’s The Spirit all the time.

• • •

Eric L LOLs at me with

“Have the new Star Wars comics brought in any new readers or are they just selling to the regular comics buying crowd?”

I’ve noted in the past that the opening of my store at about the same time a bunch of new readers were looking for a comic shop so they could get the new Star Wars comics was very, very good timing. Yes, I believe the Star Wars comics actually did bring in new readers, and I do in fact have several people on the comic saver lists who only get Star Wars. So, thank you Disney, Lucasfilm, and Bad Robot, for giving my store a boost when it needed it!

• • •

FrenchGuy dit

“Is there any top-selling comic at your store that you just can’t get into ?”

There’s plenty of stuff that sells that doesn’t do anything for me, which is fine. I can’t like and read every comic that passes through my door. Secret Wars is probably Marvel’s top book right now at my shop, and I’ll flip through it and it’s very much the “reading someone else’s mail” effect. I’m glad it’s doing well and that my customers like it, but it’s Not for Me and that’s okay!

• • •

Wayne Allen Sallee sallies forth with

“What non-event title surprised you the most in your store as selling consistently good, and which title does the opposite? Not as a comic store owner who may make or lose money by having extra copies left on the shelves. You. Mike Sterling. Which books surprised you as one of us humans you take money from on a daily basis.”

Low kind of surprises me with how well it sells. It’s not a title that gets a lot of buzz like, say, Saga, but boy do I have a lot of customers for it at the shop.

As far as a low-selling book…I kind of expected We Are Robin to be doing better than it did. I have a couple of pull-list customers for it, and I just recently started selling a copy off the shelf…in fact, a lot of recent Batman family books I expected to do better, but since Batman wasn’t actually in them, oh well.

• • •

Old Internet pal Eddie Mitchell geeks out with

“I am resisting the urge to ask you who would win in a fight between the Oompah Loompahs and Herbie the Fat Fury….”


“…because I do have a serious question. What word/words of wisdom/advice do you have for people who are either non-comics people or people who have been out of comics for decades who have a huge batch of comics they are looking to sell?”

Well, you can haul ’em all over to the local funnybook vendor and, if they buy comics, ask ’em if they want yours. Otherwise, you may have to eBay or Amazon or Craiglist them. If they’re ’90s comics or later, you may need to sell them in bulk. Earlier than that, you may have some goodies that’ll be worth separating out, but that will take some time for research and such. Worse comes to worse, you can always donate them, to a library or a hospital or something like that. But if you do try to sell them at a store, remember my comic selling etiquette from a post or two back.

• • •

Let’s wrap this all up tomorrow, hopefully!

5 Responses to “As to your Qs Part Four: Things Are Tough All Over”

  • DanielT says:

    Secret Wars surprised me. For the past 18 months or so the only Marvel (or DC) comics I’ve been reading have been Hawkeye and Daredevil. I picked up SW on a complete whim.

    I thought Hickman’s run on FF started well but stumbled hard. Anytime I tried to read his Avengers work I had no idea what the hell was going on. His independent comics have not worked for me at all.

    But I’m enjoying the hell out of Secret Wars. The world and the characters seem well thought out. And it has what is arguably the most important quality a comic should have: I want to see what happens next.

    Hell, I even like the art and Ribic’s style is not usually my cup of tea at all.

    And Eddie Mitchell, I can tell you from experience: if you expect to get any money from your comics at all you are going to have to bite the bullet and just accept you’re most likely going to have to sell the vast majority of them at bulk rate. It’s a significant mental hurdle to overcome, but it can be done.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    What happened to that giant Groot cut-out you had when the store opened? What interesting decor do you have now?

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    one can get jaded from reading so many comics, or one can become the Flaming Carrot. six of one, half dozen of the other

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Low kind of surprises me with how well it sells.”

    I’d certainly expect a comic titled LOW to sell, well, NOT HIGH.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “What happened to that giant Groot cut-out you had when the store opened?”