Allan Hoffman wrenches me with
“Are you able to get an employee to abuse, I mean help you out?”
followed by ScienceGiant, who concocted an extra-sized question with
“Ever going to hire a Mikester protege, who will one day follow his mentor’s footsteps and leave to start his own store? Or are you steering kids clear of an ailing business?”
The plan is to hire someone else eventually, though I’m not quite in the position nor the mood to do so just yet. The business is doing well, with the occasional bump in the road here and there, but that isn’t unusual for a small business still in its first year…particularly a comic business. But, someday, I will hire some poor soul I will underpay and overwork and eventually lead into some modern day version of A Christmas Carol where I am visited by the ghosts of Comics Past, Present, and Future (all portrayed by Steve Ditko, oddly enough).
As to teaching a young padawan to follow in my footsteps, to move on to open up his own shop…well, that would serve me right, I guess. I don’t think this is an ailing business as such, but it is a business that will likely undergo some serious changes in order to survive. I wouldn’t necessarily discourage anyone away from the retail end of the business, but I’d definitely make sure they knew what they were up against.
ScienceGiant had a second question…HOW DARE YOU SIR though I suppose it’s a follow-up to a previous post of mine so I’ll allow it:
“No, seriously, why Batman Day? All your points were valid. But We could apply to same mercy moving logic and ask why doesn’t DC appeal to our better angels and sponsor Superman’s Miracle Monday? Or Wonder Woman Wednesday for that matter?”
It’s like “why does Coca Cola advertise?” In this case the Batman Day coincided with the launch of the second season of Gotham which was the likely reason for it this year. But why Batman, specifically? Possibly because Batman has traditionally been one of the most popular superheroes with the general public, and the most likely character around whom it would be easiest to generate excitement for a specific Day. Also, there’s no shortage of Batman products to sell in connection with the event…Superman has a lot, too, but not as many books with the sales power of Dark Knight Returns or The Killing Joke.
“Does it warm your heart or give you a pleasantly startling jolt to, say, pick up your comic pile and read the latest Astro City and/or Hellboy comic and realize it’s been right around 20 years and neither has fundamentally changed?”
Consistency is nice. I do like picking up a comic and knowing that 1) it’s the same group of people working on the book, and 2) they’re continuing to build their fictional world, and 3) they can build toward certain future goals that won’t be disrupted by a sudden shift in the creative/editorial staff. So, yes, I do indeed think it’s swell.
Roel Torres rolls up with
“We’ve seen some changes in the status quo. Jane Foster is Thor. Sam Wilson is Captain America. Amadeus Cho is the Hulk. James Gordon is Batman. Which current superhero could benefit the most from a new creative direction?”
I would have said “Iron Man,” because that character’s four-color life has totally be supplanted by his cinematic adaptation and boy, nothing’s been working out for that character’s comics. But, a brand new direction and series is in stores today, so let’s see how that goes.
…Boy, it’s hard to come up with something. Seems like nearly every character is goin’ through something right now, and it would seem odd to suggest a character like the Flash, which 1) just got back from a decades-long status quo upheaval, and 2) is doin’ just dandy right now, thanks. I don’t know…I’d say, Fantastic Four, maybe, since the last few series have struggled a bit, and whenever they bring the title back from the limbo Marvel’s put it in, something drastic needs to be done to keep it viable and attractive to readers. What exactly, I don’t know. Maybe more H.E.R.B.I.E.
CP Bahnanahs appeals to me with
“As a kid back in the 80s I’d often buy promotional posters off of my local comics shop when they were done with them. (The one announcing Camelot 3000 #12 finally coming out is a personal favorite.)
1. Was I a sucker?
2. Does that still go on? When I worked at a B&N people would frequently ask for our standees and other displays. Wondering if you get that too.”
Nope, no suckerishness here…lots of people like promo posters and items. I think I’ve even unloaded one of those Camelot 3000 posters on the eBays a while back. I even had a fella ask me for the Batman Day poster I had up a week or two ago, so yes, people still ask for promo items. An aside: I’ve only ever asked for two promo items from other stores in the past…one was at a music store, where I asked for a poster they had on display for the Portland ska/rock band the Crazy 8s (got it when they were done with it) and for a Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie poster from a video store (no dice).
Some old promo posters go for a lot of scratch, in fact. At my previous place of employment, Ralph had stacks of certain old promo posters: two by John Byrne (a Man of Steel promo, and one for Legends) that regularly went for good money; and two Watchmen posters (Rorschach and the Comedian), that did likewise. But there was the occasional promo poster I’d come across that I’d just keep for myself.
And like that Camelot 3000 poster you mention, there was a little Dark Knight Returns poster…actually, more a cardstock sign…announcing that yes, #4 was finally here. I think there may have been one for Ronin #6, too. And Marvel should have done one for the back half of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk, come to think of it.
Tom W suggests
“What length, creatively rather than commercially, constitutes a graphic novel rather than something that in prose would be a short story? 320 pages, ie Watchmen length? 1,800 pages, ie Preacher/Sandman length? 6,000 pages, ie Cerebus length?
Sorry, not as lighthearted as the other questions. But I’ve been wondering.”
Hey, that’s fine. I’ll accept questions of all types! I’m not sure there’s an exact line you can draw that isn’t splitting hairs, which is a weird way to phrase that, but you get what I mean. Preacher, Sandman and Cerebus are series of graphic novels, so clearly they’re out of the “short story” category. Watchmen is a single volume (comprised of an originally-serialized story, of course) that contains a lengthy, complex story with multiple threads, so that is certainly a novel in comics form. The Killing Joke, by contrast, is a 48 page “prestige format” comic since upgraded into an oversized hardcover, which contains an essentially…well, not “simple” story, but a much less complex text than, say, Watchmen. The Killing Joke would probably be the definition of “graphic short story.”
However, “graphic short story” seems to be used a lot for actual really short stories, like for anthologies or such. I think at the moment, if it’s a standalone comic and it’s packaged in a format that’s a little more upscale than a standard comic book, “graphic novel” is what it’s going to be called, regardless of page count. I realize what you mean, but it’s awfully hard to define, like I said. It’s probably more a case of “I know it when I see it,” or “it depends.”
DavidG gives me
“Do you think doing this blog helps get people to come to your store? Especially the new one?”
It has! I have had people come to the shop (both shops!) specifically because of reading my dumb blog here, for which I am very grateful. I hope, if anything, doing this site demonstrates for anyone who reads it that I’ve put at least a little thought into this hobby and industry and that maybe I might be someone who can help them with their funnybook interests. Also, they may learn that I’m a person who still uses the word “funnybook.”
Jeff R. relates
“As someone who has literally only come into a comic book store six times in the past couple years, to buy Sandman Overture, how many people like me have your stores seen?”
Quite a few, actually. Some people just pop in once in a blue moon to see if their particular favorite have popped up. Love and Rockets fans tend to be like that, and I’ve had more than a few people who show up just to buy anything Sergio Aragones has put out in the last few months. So, yes, there are people who aren’t part of the Be There Every Wednesday party, and that’s okay!
Pal Dorian finds beautiful meanings in beautiful things with
“Mike, where is love?”
It is pictured below:
Enough answers for now…more tomorrow!