1. The beluga whale makes facial expressions, at the very least.
2. If you stare at the above panel for too long, it will drive you mad.
from The Three Mouseketeers #13 (January 1958)
So Reader Allan asked:
“I was browsing the DC Comics wikipedia page and realized today is the 10th anniversary of when DC announced the change of the DC Bullet logo to the DC Swirl and everyone lost their minds. Remember when that was a thing?”
Well, in fairness, folks with comics blogs at that particular moment in time lost their minds about just about anything, so what can you do? But yes, folks weren’t happy, but you know how we all are about anyone fiddling with our beloved superhero funnybooks.
At the time, ten years ago (and that I can refer back to something I posted on this site ten years ago puts some creaks in my joints, I’ll tell you what) I said:
“…A new DC logo? The heck? What was wrong with the old one? Okay, I guess we’ve had the DC Bullet for a while, and maybe we were due for a change…but all I can think when I look at this new logo is ‘boy, that’s going to have to be replaced in a few years.'”
And yeah, there was nothing wrong with the old bullet logo, really:
…aside from maybe being a little old-fashioned, which just won’t do when you’re a forward-thinking multimedia brand forging ahead into the 20th cen…er, 21st century. The replacement logo:
…was a little fancier, and probably looked better in front of the cartoons and movies and whatnot…though, come to think of it, did that bullet logo ever get branded onto any of the cartoons or movies? I can’t really recall. Just imagine the DC Bullet spinning around here in place of the logo that replaced it:
I was right when I stated in that old post that they’d have to change the logo in a few years, because not much later we got this slightly more austere, if perhaps more professional “grown-up publisher” logo:
…which I’ve become used to, I suppose, which I’m sure comes as a great relief to DC Comics, Inc. I do like its use in the ending credits of the Arrow TV show, with all the arrows whizzing by:
But a part of me still misses this old logo:
I hope when the eventual direct-to-video Swamp Thing cartoon happens, that’s the one they’ll use.
from Nancy Dreams & Schemes (1990)
Turns out I was doing a lot of worrywarting about nothing, because my first Free Comic Book Day at my new shop turned out just fine. Sales goals I wanted to reach were reached and surpassed, lots of comics were given away, and lots of people came away from my shop very happy.
We stayed at the shop ’til about 11 PM the night before getting everything set up, so there wasn’t a whole lot of prep needed Saturday morning. I arrived at the shop about an hour before opening time, and there was already the beginnings of a line waiting outside, which I took as a good sign. As soon as I did open the doors, the store filled up fairly quickly, and the first picture on the page from yesterday’s post was taken just a couple of minutes after the day began. The first couple of hours were the busiest, with the store packed full of customers, though business generally remained steady throughout the day. The one time of the day there were no customers wasn’t until in the last hour we were open, and even then that only lasted for a couple of minutes before the next wave of folks hit.
So, I’d have to say, this was a very, very successful day. I have to admit, I had a few restless nights prior, worrying about how it was going to go, but it all worked out great.
As it turned out, my actual orders on the FCBD books were just about right. I probably could have ordered more of some titles, but for the most part the titles I thought would move more slowly and ordered less on did in fact move more slowly, and the ones I ordered tons of were grabbed by everybody, which was okay because, after all, I ordered tons of them. My big fear was that I would run out of everything and just have a stack of Secret Wars #0 at the end of the day — “Um, please help yourself to our one free comic” — but at the end I still had copies of about eight or nine titles on the tables, so latecomers still had a good selection of books to carry away. I do have leftovers, which is fine…those will work as in-store giveaways or donations to libraries, and stuff like Secret Wars #0 will still be in demand from customers for a while yet.
One thing I heard a lot during the day was several people telling me this was their first visit to the shop, so that was nice. I know a thing to do is to tour several shops in an area, seeing what each was offering for the big day, so folks who hadn’t been by before had extra incentive to stop in. Most of them seemed pretty pleased with my store, which was very satisfying. Plus, I heard from a handful of folks that this was their first time at a comic shop ever, so how ’bout that?
At one point pal Nat (who as I noted the other day, was there giving away copies of graphic novels he’d written, and whom you can see in the third photo) noted how it’s been said that comics shops had a dearth of women and children as clientele…and then gestured toward the customers who were in the store at that point. Customers who were almost entirely women and children.
Stopping by the shop was old pal Mathew Digges, late of Awesome Hospital, who dropped off a little bit of that comics-making fortune he’s acquired, as well as gifting me with a print copy of The Creep Crew which he’s doing with Dylan Todd and Pete Toms:
It’s pretty great. This is the kind of thing a Big Comics Publisher would pick up if they had any sense. You can (eventually) read more about it at TheCreepCrew.com.
Um, let’s see…anything else? I did have to chase off one shirtless burnout on a bicycle rambling on and on about Hermann Hesse, of all things, who was bothering customers out in front of my shop who were trying to go through the bargain boxes I had placed there. He rode off, bravely mouthing off at me once he was across the parking lot. Eh, whatever, dude…I own a comic book store, so I win.
Oh, and yes, for those of you wondering: the local high school was having its prom that same day, thus explaining where those nattily-dressed youngsters in the last photo came from.
I also had my worries about customer flow through the store, since this was a much smaller space than what I was used to, and I had to move fixtures around to make space for FCBD tables. However, people had no problem getting around, and while it was crowded, there didn’t seem to be too many traffic jams in the store. I occasionally had some long-ish lines at the register but that never appeared to interfere with in-store movement.
I do wish I had taken a little more care in noting the original positions of my fixtures, because now that I’ve moved them back, I don’t think they’re in quite the previous places they were. I mean, we’re talking maybe inches off, if even that, but that’s enough to distract me. And by “distract me,” I don’t mean “drive me completely crazy,” why would you even think that. That’s not true at all. AT ALL.
So anyway, Free Comic Book Day was a huge success for me. I think I’ll do it again next year, I guess.
Thanks to all the customers who dropped by, and thanks to my girlfriend Nora, my dad, pal Nat, and pal Dorian for helping out. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Well, maybe I could have, but then that would be a picture of me real-dead at the top of this post, instead of fake-dead.
I thought I was going to have a longer-ish post about tomorrow’s Free Comic Book Day event here, but now that I’ve sat down to write it…well, it’s not like I haven’t churned out piles of words about Free Comic Book Day over the last few years.
There are a few minor differences in how FCBD is being handled at my shop versus what I was accustomed to at my previous place of employment. For example, at the old job we had a large area at the store devoted to in-store gaming, with lots of large tables. It was easy enough to rearrange the tables into Free Comic Dispensing Units through which to file the customers. The retail area of my current store is probably about the same size as that gaming area, and that has several fixtures in the way which is going to necessitate some rearranging to allow for FCBD table set-ups. I did a little measuring over the last couple of days, and I should be able to move things around to allow for FCBD traffic while still permitting access to product I’m actually trying to sell. The alternative is to set up tables outside for free comic giveaway, but then folks would be less likely to come into the shop and actually buy things, which brings me to my next point:
As has been pointed out, by me in past discussions of FCBD and by others, the comics given away on Free Comic Book Day aren’t actually free to retailers. It is a small cost per unit, but when you order a lot of units, it can add up. At my old position, I would order literally thousands of dollars in FCBD comics. I didn’t order quite as much for the new store, as I noted previously, but as a smaller store that’s still in the process of getting started, it remains a significant investment.
Putting that much money into FCBD was okay at my old job, though, because we always made our money back and then some by having in-store sales to encourage purchases. But then, that store is decades old and has a much deeper stock than I have now. It’s not as if I have nothing at the new shop…over the past few months I’ve managed to fill up the shelves with graphic novels, and I’ve expanded my back issue selection quite a bit. Plus, my expectations of what I would consider a successful business day for FCBD don’t need to be as high as they were at the old shop…my overhead is a lot lower, after all, so I’m hoping sales on the stock I do have will encourage sufficient interest to cover costs. I also intend to debut some bargain boxes at the event, so that will be some new goodies for my customers to poke through while also reducing some extra backstock I’ve already acquired.
This all sounds like I’m solely concerned with MONEY MONEY MONEY and, well, yes, I’m still getting this store off the ground, so “in the black” is going to be preferred to “in the red.” But even if I don’t break even on this, the important thing is getting these FCBD comics into the hands of customers…not just to expose people to different comics they might not have tried out before, but as a promotional tool for this shop, to let people in the area know, or at least remind them, “hey, if I need comics, I know where to go!”
Most of all, I hope Free Comic Book Day at my new store continues to be fun. It was always great to see huge crowds of people getting really excited about comics, and I’m certainly looking forward to maintaining that tradition at my new shop.
So, if you happen to be within, say, a 500 mile radius of Camarillo, CA, come by my store…say “hi” to me, to my girlfriend, to pal Dorian, to my dad, and to pal Nat (who will be giving away copies of Licensable Bear™ and The Factor graphic novels)! We’d all enjoy seeing you!
…So this post ended up being longer than I expected. It never fails!
Still in kind of a low content mode here at the site, but I’ll be checking in with a longer-ish post tomorrow about a certain free funnybook event that may be happening this weekend.
In the meantime, here’s pal Dave dressed as his favorite comic book character.