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Maybe Dr. Manhattan can work on the Marvel Universe next.

§ May 15th, 2017 § Filed under free comic book day, publishing, watchmen § 1 Comment

Well, all I can figure is that Free Comic Book day took a lot out of me, as I didn’t really have the energy during the past week to generate that award-winning [NOTE: not actually award-winning] Progressive Ruin content the entire comics industry depends on [NOTE: nobody depends on it]. But I’m well-rested [NOTE: mostly] and in fighting trim [NOTE: nothing about Mike is trim] so let’s see what trouble we can stir up today:

I had a couple of comments in response to my FCBD post-mortem I wanted to address. First, Dave Carter of Earth points out, in response to customers (and me) wanting a Sonic the Hedgehog freebie this year:

“Archie appears to have lost the Sonic license, or at least they aren’t publishing any Sonic comics any more.”

Well, by cracky, that appears to be the case, doesn’t it? I guess I hadn’t really noticed…when you’re slogging through 500 pages of Diamond Previews, it’s easy to overlook the fact that maybe something that should be there isn’t. And, a quick check at the distributor’s website shows nada forthcoming from Archie Comics involving any sort of spiny mammal content. I did a quick buzz about the Internets and saw a lot of discussion on the topic, so I guess I’m just not looking in the right spots to have had this particular bit of information at my fingertips. It’d be a shame if the Sonic comic book franchise did vanish from the stands…especially since Archie still has that prime grocery store placement.

Dean wonders

“Mike, as a retailer, what’s your opinion of Marvel’s HYDRA FCBD promotion?”

Hoo boy. The Secret Empire event comic is the wagon Marvel is hitching all its chickens to for the next several months, so of course Marvel is going to want one of their FCBD comics to be a plug for it, like their Civil War 2 freebie was last year. Now, by and large, a lot were given away, and a handful of conversations I overheard seem to be at least intrigued by the concept — “whoa, Captain America is a bad guy!?” It’s yet another “how does our hero get out of this one?” story, designed to unfold over the next several months and keep readers in suspense. No one really thinks Cap is going to stay a bad guy, and that everything will be fixed. How it will be fixed is naturally the hook for the event.

But.

I suspect a number of people are coming into this fresh, and haven’t encountered the online brouhaha and the somewhat controversial “Hydra makeover” promotion and the whole “so is Hydra the same thing as Nazis or what?” debate. Without all that baggage, this one-shot could have been fine as a come-on for Marvel’s big event. A bit overwrought, maybe, but what superhero crossover event isn’t, really. However, that baggage does exist and there’s a tone-deafness in the responses to the online anger regarding this series, its promotion, its timing, and the defense of it by those involved. Basically, it’s turned into a huge mess and a public relations issue for Marvel, to the point where they had to put out a press release to tell fans “look, Cap’s gonna be fine, we promise.”

That’s a lotta typing around Dean’s question, so let me see if I can narrow it down a bit. For folks coming into the “Secret Empire” event fresh, the FCBD giveaway may be have been an intriguing introduction to the event. For folks who are more aware of the historical context and of the current reaction to said event, the FCBD book was probably just digging that hole a little deeper.

Personally, I feel like this is a bit like the Spider-Man Clone Saga from the ’90s. If they told the story, were in and out and done in, like, six months, it would have been fine. But dragging it out like this, particularly in the face of increasing consumer rejection, isn’t doing the company any favors. The Clone Saga almost killed the Spider-Man franchise, leading to a more-or-less still ongoing series of relaunches and reboots. Not that Marvel’s been shy about relaunching/rebooting any of their titles lately, but I suspect Cap may need some serious refurbishing after this to get readership back.

On the other hand, Secret Empire sales in the shop have been ticking upward in the last week or so, so what do I know.

• • •

In happier news:

…I hope this never, ever stops.

A few pieces about Free Comic Book Day.

§ May 8th, 2017 § Filed under free comic book day § 5 Comments


And that was your 16th annual Free Comic Book Day, completed this past weekend at your local funnybook emporium. If you’re a fan, hopefully you had fun at your shop and got the comics you wanted. If you’re a retailer, hopefully you had plenty of happy folks come through your doors.

Not much to report from my end, aside from a nice increase in business over the previous year, making this once again a huge success, not just in terms of profitability, but in getting lots of free comics into the hands of an enormous amount of people. Didn’t have a special guest this time, but that didn’t seem to quell the crowds. We had a full house from the get-go, and I could barely turn away from the register for more than a moment for at least the first couple of hours. I only managed to snap a couple of photos this time around, and only after the initial rush slowed just slightly, which you can see on the store site.

Other notes/observations:

  • Saw lots of little boys and girls picking out comics, including one four-year-old girl who told me her favorite character was Swamp Thing and thereby became Sterling Silver Comics’ #1 Customer.
  • Had a couple of folks visiting from out of town thank me for not putting a limit on the number of different comics they could take. Longtime readers know that I prefer no restrictions, though I have learned to be sympathetic to stores that place limits if, like for financial reasons, they don’t have a lot to go around. But these folks told me their store only allowed two FCBD books per person, and, hoo boy. That’s not “Free Comic Book Day comics are free with purchase” wrong, but man, that seems awfully stingy. I mean, who knows what that store’s particular situation was, but if things were that tight, I’m surprised they participated at all.
  • Related is the fact that despite the fact that I had no limits, the nightmare scenario that I’ve had thrown in my face in the past by people objecting to this particular policy did not come to pass, and all my FCBD comics didn’t disappear into the hands of the first customers through the door. Yes, some people did take one of each, and that’s totally fine, but a lot more people were a little more selective this year versus previous years. Many voluntarily took only two or three comics, despite constant reassurance that yes, you could take whatever you wanted. Despite having more people come into the shop for this year’s FCBD (and more people spending money!) the actual free comic stock didn’t diminish quite as quickly.
  • The most popular books for me this year were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob and Rick and Morty. There were many requests for a Sonic the Hedgehog freebie, and perhaps Archie should have gone for one of those again this year, given the somewhat lackadaisical performance of their Betty and Veronica and (surprisingly) Riverdale comics this time around. The Marvel/DC titles did fine, with Guardians of the Galaxy being the big winner, which should come as no surprise given the timing. (Also sold a bunch of the regular GOTG issues, from all dozen or so current series, off the new comics rack.)
  • Saw a few faces I hadn’t seen in a while (“Hey, didn’t you manage Ralph’s Comic Corner?” I heard a couple of times).
  • No real problems this time. One person did try to hold up the line at the register a bit by asking me about pricing and grading his old comics, and, uh, yeah, maybe right now isn’t the time for that?
  • Nothing to do really with FCBD, but I did open up a coin roll for the register at one point, and it was filled entirely with Bicentennial quarters. I took that as a good omen.
  • It was a tad rainy that morning, which I thought would curtail my usual FCBD plans for having a table of bargain comic boxes in front of the store for perusal. Thankfully, rain wasn’t a problem…though it did get pretty darn windy later in the day.
  • Alas, Batman only made a cameo appearance this year (as opposed to last year). He was clearly in stealth mode, since I didn’t even notice him come in…I just looked up and there he was!
  • The one downside for a having a big in-store sale on FCBD…having to restock everything. Not that my shelves are bare or anything, and some things I’m glad to see the tail end of, but the racks are a tad bit leaner than what I prefer.
  • Despite not having discounts on toys, I did seem to move a few…especially the Funko Pops which are still going strong after all this time. Amazing the lifespan these Funkos seem to have.

So, Free Comic Book Day…it’s done, it paid for itself, and now everything’s back to normal until…what’s next? Wonder Woman Day? I think that’s right. Had some people ask “why don’t they do FCBD every month?” and I believe my answer to them was “because it would kill me.” But once a year is enough, because I’ll forget how much work it is by the time the next batch of free books pop up in Previews. Anyway, thanks to my girlfriend Nora, my dad, and pal Dorian for helping out, and thanks to everyone who came into the shop…and to all of you for reading all this. Let’s do it all again next year!

Free to be…comics and me.

§ May 5th, 2017 § Filed under free comic book day, pal plugging Comments Off on Free to be…comics and me.


So this will be the 16th year of the industry-wide Free Comic Book Day event, and I’ve participated givin’ away all those free funnybooks each and every time. It’s hard to imagine I’ve been doing this for just over half the time I’ve been working in comics retail, but time flies when you’re having fun, I suppose. It’s even harder to imagine that this year will be the third time I’ve hosted FCBD at my own shop. (You can see how it went the last couple of times, if you’re interested.)

I’ve talked about the event a whole lotta times in the past, and I don’t really have much to say beyond what I’ve already said. I’ll set up the tables, put out all the comics, let folks take what they want (I mean, don’t grab the entire stack of a certain comic or anything, but help yourself to one of each if you’d like), set up the special in-store deals that help pay for everything, and let those comic book hijinks ensue. Anyhoo, this post from last year goes into a little more detail re: the hows, the whys, and the wherefores if you’re curious. And if you’re still curious, you can feel free to ask me whatever you’d like in the comments here. I don’t mind!

Plus, if you’re wondering, yes, I did talk pal Dorian into doing his Free Comic Book Day reviews again this year, though he says he’s just going to focus on recommending what he thinks are the better releases, and not spend time slamming the stinkers. That specific post isn’t live yet, so just keep refreshing postmodernbarney.com over and over again ’til the reviews appear very early Saturday morning. EDIT: They’re up!

I’m sure I’ll report back here on Monday about how things went. Every single year, I get the jitters about things not going well, nobody showing up, me still stuck with carton upon carton of leftover freebies…and every year I discover my fears are unfounded as nice, sizable crowds fill my store and happily gather their free goodies. Let’s hope the same thing happens again this year! And you, reading this…if you’re in the area, come by and see us! Me, my girlfriend Nora, my dad, the aforementioned pal Dorian, and the possibly-returning Batman will be glad to see you!

• • •

In other news:

  • Pal Andrew celebrates the 11th anniversary of his site, Armagideon-Time. He’s one of the best writers, and one of the smartest minds, that we’ve got in our virtual neck of the woods here, and you should do yourself a favor and follow his work, if you don’t already.
  • Ken Lowery of Fake AP Stylebook fame — and with whom I helped write a book— has written a brand new comic book available on Comixology: The Night Driver, illustrated by Gavin Guidry. G’wan, get a copy…it’s only $1.99. That’s almost free!
  • Blogging sister Tegan presents…the Last Star Wars Essay. It’s good. Really good.
  • A reminder: Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Electric Current, is still offering up 365 Days of Resistance.

That red arrow is pointing at Pal Dorian’s old car.

§ September 26th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day, retailing, self-promotion, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments

Oops, sorry, I really was planning to have a post on Friday, and then when I missed that, a post on Saturday…but I have an excuse, honest. I was out car-shopping, and then, eventually, car-buying, over the last week, and was coming in awfully late and very tired in the evenings. Turns out that, if you’re running a shop seven days a week, that doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of time to do other things, like, oh, say, getting a new vehicle to replace the old about-to-die one.

Yes, buying a new car wasn’t something I wanted to do, but rather had to do, as my old pickup, immortalized in this Google Earth image from long ago (pointed at by the blue arrow):


…was well north of 200,000 miles on the odometer, and a visit for a smog check resulted in the mechanic telling me “I can’t test this thing,” so that, and several other issues, resulted in the need for a new Mikemobile. And thus, the 1994 Mazda B2300 is dead, long live the 2016 Hyundai Tuscon. …Actually, I tried to buy used, but it turned out there was nary a difference in price between a used 2015 Tuscon and a new 2016 one, and frankly, instead of driving a car that already had 20,000 miles on it, I’d rather put those 20,000 miles on it myself (or approximately 1,200+ trips back and forth between my home and the store).

So anyway, I have a new car, with all kinds of crazy electronic gadgetry I have to learn, as my previous vehicle was essentially a collection of levers and pulleys and this new car is like a more advanced version of KITT from Knight Rider. But now Caveman Mike have new magic machine to bang club on, and Blogging Mike should be back on schedule with his website. Thank you for your patience.

Oh, and by the way, on a completely unrelated note, now might be a good time to, say, come shop at my store, or maybe buy something from my eBay listings, or even patronize my Patreon. Or just overnight me a shoebox full of twenties, that’d be okay, too.

• • •

Okay, how ’bout some comic book-type stuff? I kept meaning to do a little write-up about DC’s Batman Day event, in which DC tries to get the word out about this crazy dude what dresses like a bat and fights crime. Yeah, okay, it’s the comic industry’s version of advertising Coca-Cola, but there’s usually a freebie of some kind involved (this year, a reprint of the recent Batman #1 from the Rebirth event), and it does get folks into the shop. I did the same thing I did last year, and set up a table filled with Bat-books and boxes of back issues and offered discounts on all the stuff, and did some pretty good business. Certainly there were people out enjoying Batman Day decked out in their Bat-regalia…shirts and dresses and the like, and I barely had to advertise it at all for the event to be considered a success.

Now, this is all part of trying to create Free Comic Book Day-esque events throughout the year to generate business for comic shops, like the still-forthcoming this year Halloween-Fest and Local Comic Shop Day. That’s fine, I won’t say no to stuff like this that’ll boost sales, especially when they don’t really require a whole lot of effort. Advertise, have the goodies ready for the day, and be a happy and polite retailer that welcomes everyone that comes into your shop. Actually, that’s good advice year-round, though it sounds like some folks can’t even manage that minimal amount of effort, as related by pal Shane on his Twitter.

Speaking of stores, Diamond Comics has regular Best Business Practice awards, and this year I put my shop in for Best Free Comic Book Day 2016. Only Diamond accounts can vote, so I can’t push the Progressive Ruin Army to my bidding here, but I figure I was the only comic shop with Jaime Hernandez, Batman, and my dad in-store for FCBD this year, so surely I have a chance at claiming this honor. (And if Jaime, Batman and my dad did all show up at another store without my knowing…well, wouldn’t that have been something.)

Oh, and I did another Back Issue of the Week at the store site, too. These are fun to do! Maybe I should start a comic book blog.

And one more bit of Turok Dinosaur Hunter first issue follow-up from last week: read this account of the dreaded fate that befell approximately 5,000 copies of said comic, if you dare.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the cost of the balloons. THE BALLOOOOOOONS.

§ May 13th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day § 6 Comments

Reader James sent me this question via the emails:

“…My question is, what does FCBD cost a retailer to do? How much does it cost you (roughly, broadly) to pull it off? I’m sure you make up that cost in other sales (it sounds like you did great, so congrats), and I’m sure it’s different for every retailer, but what kind of expenses go into FCBD?”

Well, it mostly depends on how many of the FCBD comics you order. They average about 25 cents apiece, and I ordered several thousand comics, so you can work that out. On top of that, there’s the cost of advertising (like the ads I ran in the newspaper, coupon flyer, etc.), and the cost of paper ‘n’ ink printing out little flyers to give away in the shop, and the cost of the preprinted FCBD merchandise bags, the tchotchkes (like the FCBD keyrings) and so on. I don’t particularly want to get into exact numbers here, but it probably cost me an amount equivalent to one of my higher weekly Diamond invoices.

As I noted, I may have spent a little more than necessary as I overordered a bit on the FCBD books this year. I keep feeling defensive about the leftovers, because I still have a table sitting out with the freebies for the customers and it almost sorta looks like I didn’t give anything away. I did, plenty more than last year, but that remaining 10 or 15% is still a good chunk’a books. (Which are quickly thinning out anyway, so it looks like I’m not going to have too much leftover stock after all!) Next year’s orders will be normalized a bit, so those costs will be down slightly.

Now you don’t have to be a crazy person like me and order boatloads of FCBD comics. I like to make it an event, with sales and guests and such, but it’s probably possible to have a low-key FCBD event and not go so overboard on the book numbers, keeping your costs down and rewarding the regular customers with some free stuff. I remember hearing in the early days of FCBD about the shops that would just have a small box filled with the free books sitting on a table, with nothin’ going on to indicate that anything special was happening, which seems like it would be a little too low-key.

I like having the big FCBD event, which means spending more money, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have that investment repeatedly repay itself year after year, both at the previous place of employment and at my new shop. It was a risk that, so far, has always paid off and is not so much of a risk anymore. I know that may not be the same result for every shop, but thankfully that’s how it’s been for me. And I realize I keep talking about making money on the whole deal, simply because there are some folks out there how find it hard to believe that a comic shop can pull a profit on giving away free stuff. What’s best about Free Comic Book Day, however, is seeing the tons of kids pile into the store and happily coming away with a stack of comics they can’t wait to read. That’s the real profit, if you’ll excuse that brief moment of cheesiness.

• • •

Okay, now next Monday I’ll get back to your questions. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you then.

I’m too tired to think of a clever Free Comic Book Day-related title for this post.

§ May 11th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day § 1 Comment

Here are a couple more shots from my Free Comic Book Day, taken by my dad…here’s pal Dorian at the right of the image supervising the shenanigans and goings-on in the shop:

fcbd2016a

And here’s another pic of Sterling Silver Comics‘s Dark Avenger of the Night:

fcbd2016b

I had a question or comment pop up in the comments that I wanted to address, such as pal Rob asking me:

“…What kind of impact do you think that Jaime Hernandez had on the turnout for the day?”

You know, it’s really hard to say. I know I had several people very excited about his appearance at the shop, so I’m sure it encouraged some good measure of traffic. But, as you saw yourself when you were there, it was very busy, particularly just as I opened, so it’s hard to say when dealing with this number of people how many were there for the free comics and the deals, how many were there just for Jaime, and so on. I did see a few people make a direct line right from the front door straight to Jaime, so those folks I can probably count in the “we’re here for the Love and Rockets guy” camp!

• • •

Roger commented

“I’ve done a few FCBD events over the years and no shop I’ve worked with has ever had any leftovers, whether they had a limit per customer or not. […] I think a limit per customer is exactly in the spirit of the event, personally.”

Earlier in this site’s life we had plenty of back-and-forth in the comments about “limits” or “no limits” on FCBD. I am very firmly in the “no limits” camp, as in “take one of each if you’d like” (so long as they’re age-appropriate, of course). (And even then I might let the “one of each” thing slide if they’re taking copies home for sick kids, or friends who couldn’t make it, or whatever…just as long as they’re not grabbing the entire stack of Suicide Squad #1.) However, I do understand stores that put limits on how many different comics people can take, whether it’s to stretch out stock because they could only afford to order so much, or, you know, whatever reason it might be. Every store is different, with varying needs and customer demands and so on, and what might be right for me may not be in the next retailer’s best interest.

In my case, my belief is that FCBD is for letting people get exposed to as many new comics as possible, so not limiting their choices is my preferred, and so far successful, strategy. If I had to have limits, what I would probably do is not include the Big Ones in the limit count…like, order tons of the Marvel and DC freebies which everyone will want, and don’t count those toward whatever limit you set.

I noted during my Twitter comments on FCBD that, even though I didn’t have a limit on the number of different FCBD comics you could take, most people didn’t take one of each of the 50 different titles that were available. Yes, of course some people did, but just as many people just took one or two comics, even after being reassured they could take more if they wanted. This has been my experience the entire 15 years I’ve been doing Free Comic Book Day. Even early on at my previous place of employment, where we prepared prepacked bags (divided by age-appropriateness) and people could get every FCBD book if they took each of the Kids, Teens, and Grown-Ups bags, not everyone did. A limit didn’t have to be enforced, because, well, it all evened out in the end, more or less.

As far as leftovers go…like I said Monday, at the old shop where I had the numbers down, we had barely any leftovers at the end of the day. And last year, the first FCBD at my new shop, by some miracle of guesstimation I ordered pretty close to exactly what I needed, leaving me with only a relative handful. This year, not knowing how much extra traffic I was going to get, I overordered by a pretty good amount, and even though I did give away a lot more comics this year, I still had maybe about 15% or so remaining. Which is okay…I’ve already reduced that by quite a bit by leaving a table out and continuing to give them away to people who didn’t make it that Saturday, and donating some to that school. And as I said, this will help me gauge my orders for next time.

• • •

Andrew wondered about my reaction to this FCBD article, in which retailers express their feelings, positive and negative, about the event. Well, like I said above, each retailer’s needs will be different, and FCBD can been a boon to some, a burden to others. All I can tell you is that I’m glad, at my previous position and at my own store, that I’ve been able to take extreme advantage of it to great personal benefit and profit.

Someone always asks what the long term results are from Free Comic Book Day. In the short term there are of course, if you’re able to manage it, the significant one day profits from the huge amount of increased business. But, as the person in that linked article noted, folks who come in just for the freebies aren’t going to turn into weekly customers. And that’s okay. It’s enough to remind your local community that, hey, your store exists, and comics exist, and that they’re their own thing and not necessarily just R&D for the movies you like. And maybe down the road if they find they do have a curiosity about comics, or if they need to buy a comic-related gift for someone, maybe they’ll remember that nice store that gave them some free comics that one time.

And if you have a good enough sale that day, you can clear out some old stock and make room for new stuff. …Sorry, as a retailer, I gotta think about that stuff, too.

It’s not really Free Comic Book Day until my dad shakes hands with Batman…

§ May 9th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day § 16 Comments

fcbd2016dadbatman
…And so it did come to pass, with pal Nat commenting upon the momentous occasion thusly:

natbattwitter

I did take a few more photos, but actually not that many more as we were enormously busy right as the doors opened and I was too tied up at the register to whip out the ol’ smart phone and commence with the snapping of photos. You can see a couple I did take right here at the official store site (that store being Sterling Silver Comics, in Camarillo, CA) along with a couple of photos contributed by my customers, including the one of our young friend Teddy at the very top of that post there. At the very least click over to see that picture…that is the happiest Free Comic Book Day kid I’ve ever seen.

I may have other photos coming from other sources, so as I get ’em I’ll post ’em.

You’ll also see in the photos there pics of our pal, Jaime Hernandez, artist of the Phantom Girl entry from DC’s Who’s Who as well as some comic about rockets or something. I was glad to see a steady stream of folks chatting with him and getting their comics signed, and speaking of which….

Now, I can only imagine that the influx of all the Free Comic Book Day books at the distributor, that all need counting out and packing, is akin to the arrival of a natural disaster. Especially since they still have to do the regular weekly packing and shipping of the new comics. It’s only natural that errors creep in, though in my particular case one of the errors that occurred was, of course, receiving less than half of my order of the Love and Rockets FCBD comic. Since it seemed like they might not have been able to come up with replacements, I called up the comic’s publisher, Fantagraphics, and was able to purchase copies directly from them…so good ol’ Fantagraphics saved the day! Phew!

I did a lot of pushing of my Free Comic Book Day this time around…nagging you all on the social media, Tweeterings and Facebookings, and I even ran a print ad in the entertainment section of the local countywide newspaper. Yes, actual ink on actual dead trees you could hold in your hands. Those things still exist, and there are people who still look at them, so hopefully that helped get the word out as well. There were a lot of new faces in my shop this time, I noticed, as well as a handful of folks from the old shop who finally made their way out to see me! You may also be glad to know that there were loads of kids, young boys and girls, getting themselves some of that ol’ time funnybooking.

You may recall that last year I had some worries/concerns about Free Comic Book Day, as 2015’s event would be the first one at my new store. I had no ability to gauge what local demand would be like, no past FCBDs to base my orders on. As it turned out that year, my orders were pretty spot on, if perhaps a bit low-ish, running out of a few titles maybe just a little too quickly, but still enough to have some giveaways remaining at the end of the day for stragglers to pick up. This year I ordered a bit heavier, so I had a wider range of giveaways still on the tables as the end of the day approached. If anything, I went maybe a little too heavy, but still, on Sunday I kept a table out for anyone who couldn’t make it Saturday and gave away even more comics, so the load’s been lightened a little. Prior to Saturday, someone from a local school called and asked if she could get any leftovers for giveaways at a school carnival…and she picked them up on Sunday, reducing the extras even further, so, you know, I’m doing okay with these.

And by the way, Jaime was good enough to sign an extra stack of the L&R freebies, so I’m still giving away autographed copies, while supplies last!

So anyway, my first year I may have been a tiny bit low on the orders, my second year I was a tad high, so my third year my orders should be spot on, right? Well, maybe, we’ll see, but I seem to recall going through this very same learning process at the previous place of employment, and I eventually started nailing the FCBD numbers there and I’m sure I will here, too, sooner or later.

Trafficwise I definitely noticed an increase, particularly at the beginning of the day when perhaps the store was a little too full of people, but that crowds scaled back to reasonable numbers soon enough. We had a good steady stream of customers all day, with only a handful of brief lulls before the store’s population would surge again. In terms of actual business, spurred on by storewide FCBD-only discounts on graphic novels and back issues and so on, I saw about a 30% increase over how I did last year, and last year’s results were way above and beyond what I was expecting, so I’m very happy with how things turned out this time around.

I saw I had a question or two about FCBD left on recent posts…I’ll try to get around to those soon. In the meantime, let me thank my dad, my girlfriend Nora, and pal Dorian for helping out on this very successful Free Comic Book Day. And speaking of pal Dorian, he once again in his own inimitable fashion reviewed all the offerings this year (at least, all the ones I could get…never did receive my Pink Panther order, darn it), and he swears this is the last time he’s letting me talk him into this. We’ll see.

Thanks of course to all my customers for making this event as swell as it was, and thanks to all of you for putting up with my blatant capitalism over the past few weeks. And thanks to Mark, who may or may not have had something to do with a certain Caped Crusader visiting my store.

One more FCBD in the books. Can’t wait to see what happens next year.

Today is Free Comic Book Day!

§ May 7th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day § 2 Comments

fcbd-1

…So get yourself to a participating funnybook store (preferably mine) and get your mitts on some swell freebies!

REMINDERS: If you can, try to drop a few dollars to help your local retailer (preferably me) cover costs. But you’re under no obligation…it’s free comic day, after all!

However, if your local retailer makes you buy something in order to get free comics (definitely not me)…thaaaaaat’s not how it works.

Anyway, I didn’t spend a lot of time this year discussing Free Comic Book Day, but you can always peruse this category and see what I’ve said about it for the last decade or so.

Have fun, everyone, and we’ll meet back here in a day or two for the post-FCBD debriefing! GET YOUR BRIEFS READY

Remember when I used to post here every day? That was something.

§ May 5th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day, pal plugging, self-promotion § 5 Comments

Turning out to be another Low Content Mode week at the ol’ site, due to other plans and Free Comic Book Day prep and so on. Sorry about that! One of those plans involved a family member buying me and the girlfriend tickets for Captain America: Civil War for a Thursday night viewing, so I’ll be rushing out of the shop and straight to that this evening. I’ve been hearing that it’s almost as good as Batman V Superman, but I guess I’ll see for myself soon enough.

I’ll probably get back to your questions starting next Monday, but in the meantime, remember to attend Free Comic Book Day this Saturday wherever you shop or bank, but try to come by my shop and meet ME ME ME and oh also Jaime “Love and Rockets” Hernandez, who’ll also be there, I guess. “Love and Rockets” is his actual middle name, by the way. I wouldn’t lie about that.

Also, I responded to the latest Question Time over at Trouble with Comics, re: my plans for convention season (do those plans involve excessive nudity? You’ll have to click that link to find out!). And pal Andrew is continuing his “Me and the Terrible ’90s” series, if you want to read good comics blogging, unlike what you’ve been finding on my site lately.

Anyway, happy Free Comic Book Day to everyone this weekend, and I’ll be back this Monday. Though I bet I’ll probably show up here before then plugging Free Comic Book Day again. Did I mention Free Comic Book Day? FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

A movie you’re tired of hearing about, an event you’re hopefully anticipating, and a comic you probably bought.

§ April 8th, 2016 § Filed under free comic book day, movie reviews, retailing, star wars § 3 Comments

So anyway:

  • I’ve been putting off any kind of review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of a New Film Franchise, We Hope simply because at this point, what’s to add, really. I liked it fine: I thought it was a valid and interesting interpretation of these characters, though I do understand the larger context complaints about tone and accessibility to younger potential viewers. Just taken as a film on its own terms, outside the criticisms of “I didn’t want this movie, I wanted a different movie,” it’s no better or worse than most big-budget blockbuster films. It’s certainly better made than the mishmash of Age of Ultron, and at least seems to have a vision and a point of view. Maybe not the vision or point of view people necessarily wanted, but I think there was some depth to the proceedings that made it worthwhile viewing, at least to me.

    Yes, sure, I’d love to have a bright, cheery Superman movie. At least we’re getting a bright, cheery Batman movie (in the form of Lego Batman, guest-starring Superman!). But at least I think we can all agree that Wonder Woman was pretty great. And Lex is a hoot.

    Here’s a review by pal Ragnell that I pretty much agree with.

  • Free Comic Book Day plans are still coming along, and if you missed my announcement about my special guest that day, well feast your peepers on this. I don’t really have a lot of prep to do, as I’m not doing the age-appropriate packaging like I used to do…just setting ’em up on tables for free perusal works fine, and stretches supply out a bit longer. I certainly don’t have the same worries I did about getting a turnout at my new shop that I did prior to last year’s FCBD, given how things worked out. If anything, I’m hoping for a larger turnout.

    I am a little annoyed that the special FCBD retail shopping bags haven’t shipped out yet…you know, those white plastic bags with the logo on ’em. That was a good advertising tool, and if I don’t get them until a week or two prior to the event, a fat lot of good that’ll do me. I contacted my distributor, and even they don’t seem to know when they’re getting to me. In the meantime, I’m passing out the bookmarks and the flyers I did get, and I’ll have some specially-printed Sterling Silver Comics-specific flyers to give away as well.

    Just so long as I don’t have the stoned guy cycling around my storefront chatting people up about Herman Hesse again. That’s a Free Comic Book Day repeat I’d rather avoid.

  • Haven’t really done a market report of late, I realize, but did want to note that the newest Star Wars spinoff, Poe Dameron, has sold quite well. Star Wars comic sales are still very strong, though they have softened slightly, now that they’ve been around a while and the new movie’s come and gone. But, with Force Awakens now available on home video and with hype beginning to build on the forthcoming Rogue One, maybe interest will rise again. It sure did for Poe Dameron, as I said, which I’m sure probably caught some folks at Disney by surprise just how much interest there is in the character. The strong creative team (Charles Soule and Phil Noto) and the accompanying freebie buttons and lithographs didn’t hurt.

    We’ll see how sales go on next week’s arrival of the long-delayed C-3PO one-shot.

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