I have a question for you, again.

§ August 6th, 2021 § Filed under reader participation, retailing § 14 Comments

…Not like this question which kicked off a still-ongoing series of posts here, but something hopefully a little simpler:

How are the new comics displayed at your comic book store?

Now at my shop, I have a long, tall wooden rack with every cover full-face on display, side by side (pictured above).

I also have a standard spinner rack that I use to display the more all-ages books right by the front door, in which the covers overlap so that only the top half is showing. Here’s a stock image from Diamond’s site to show what I’m talking about, in the off-chance you don’t know:

The reason I ask is that the other day I was sorta runnin’ off at the Twitter about corner boxes on comic books:


As I said there, the purpose of these was so that should the retail establishment in question rack the comics so that they’re side-by-side and overlapping, the corner box would still clearly identify the title even if the actual logo is obscured. I contended this was more common in newsstands and grocery stores and the like, whereas the direct market comic shops were more likely to display comics full-face (or at least on spinner or wall racks that would at least present the full logo). As such, there was not much call for the practical use of corner boxes, relegating them instead to a nostalgic symbol.

“Hold yer horses,” came the reply, however, from a Twitter pal what also sells funnybooks for a living. “Some comic shops, like ours, still do the overlap thing” (paraphrased slightly) and I’m forced to admit I occasionally do so as well even on my big ol’ rack. Ideally I don’t, as I prefer to face everything out ‘n’ unobscured, but there’s always a small percentage of them being overlapped. Thus, I am forced to admit, #notallcomicshops have entirely eschewed the overlapping strategy, for both space reasons and the simple fact there are a hell of a lot of comics coming out. I thought my giant rack would give me plenty of room, but every week I feel like I’m trying to squeeze more material on there.

So, after that long preamble, my question is this: how does your local shop display their new comics? I’m not so much concerned about the actual fixtures themselves (though I suppose it would be difficult to extract that info from the answer) but rather: are the comics primarily displayed with the full cover visible, only the top half visible (like in that spinner rack pic), or with just the sides visible (racked side by side but overlapping)? Or, God help you, are they just dumped into some short boxes for you to flip through and no covers are displayed?

I know there won’t be many either/or answers here. My store is mostly full-face display, with a single spinner rack that shows top halves, and sometimes I have to overlap things on the main shelf so only the left half of the book is showing. But, despite all that, the vast majority of the books are full-face displayed.

So what’s your local comics emporium like? Don’t need to name names (especially if their display is…well, awful) but I am curious as to what folks are doing.

14 Responses to “I have a question for you, again.”

  • Matthew Murray says:

    I haven’t been to either of my “local” shops in a while for a variety of reasons, but I just looked them up to double check.

    In one shop the “new this week” section uses staggered/overlapping shelves so the top half of each cover is visible (except the front row in which the full cover is visible).

    However, they also overlap stuff a fair bit, so for some titles it is just the top left hand part of the cover that’s visible. I think this is mostly (but definitely not just) for variant covers.

    Once it’s off the “new this week” section they get bagged and boarded and put in a separate set of shelving that displays the top half of the covers but doesn’t do any other overlap.

    The other shop has shelving that displays the full cover of the comic, but does do overlapping so only the left side of the cover is visible.

  • Jay from Tennessee says:

    The local as Sci-Fi City (largest local comic provider) has complete covers facing out, with one spot per title, so the most recent back issues for a given title are always behind the most current. You can see all of the covers for everything, no spinner ranks in sight.

  • GW from NZ says:

    Did you hear about the twitter campaign from Mark Brooks about corner box art?

  • My guy has four of those brown folding tables that are ubiquitous in church basements everywhere, and he lays them out so that every cover is visible. Occasionally, on a big week, he has to lay some in a “waterfall” pattern, with just the top third of the cover shows, but he only does that with tiny indie books that no one buys. The big guys are always full-cover display. He has wall racks around the store where he puts recent comics, again always full cover, and then they go into his back issue boxes, which he still has. I’m always terrified that the tables on which he puts new comics are going to collapse, but they haven’t yet!

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    My LCS carries just 3-4 dozen new books each week, so the new stuff wall rack has them all full-face-front-true-believer-style.

    Then the store has several other wall racks for all the recents, organized by publisher and alpha-by-title (or possibly by character for those with multiple series) with issues in numerical order, but with so many titles & comics, they are severely overlapped with barely any part exposed besides the spines.

  • CalvinPitt says:

    There are two stores in the town nearest mine, and I alternate between them depending on what day and time I swing by.

    The store on the east side has a series of three bookshelves with two of them for that week’s books and the third for the previous week or two. Their comics usually overlap and are arranged alphabetically.

    The store on the west side has one of those walls with the grooves in it, and there are individual plastic shelf things for each title (Sorry, I don’t know what you call them). Marvel gets one section of the wall, and everybody else gets the rest (they stopped selling DC single issues when DC switched distributors and the discounts were no longer good enough to justify it.)

  • JimF says:

    So its a mix – brand new stuff is full face, older issues or older weeks are top only. But they have a MUCH tighter configuration.

    BTW – your store looks REALLY nice.

  • Chris V says:

    Yeah, your store is too nice for a comic book store. I feel intimidated by comic stores which don’t embrace the dankness, griminess, and mustiness. Those stores make me feel like I belong.
    heh

    My local comic store thinks it is an used book store and shelves the comics on their side.
    I keep telling the owner, “Comics do not have spines like other books! No one can see which comics are which!”.
    He assures me that comics do, indeed, have spines. Therefore, my concerns are invalid.

    No. I kid.
    They do it the staggered/overlapping shelves method.
    It’s very easy to read all of the titles.
    They are kept in plastics and all titles are alphabetical.

    He moves the new books from one wall to another after the first week. These are the semi-new comics. It’s the same arrangement as on the new comic wall, it’s just a different wall.
    Then, after that, they get moved to a different shelving system, where they remain for a month. These are the quasi-new comics.
    On that shelf, there is a lot more overlapping of titles.
    You have to dig a bit through the stacks of comics to see what is available.
    After a month, he boards and prices the comics and files them away in the long boxes, never to be seen again.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    That is the most amazing wall rack of comics I have ever seen! I’ve never seen one so long and nice looking. Do you keep the new arrivals in one section or is the whole thing alphabetical?

  • Thom H. says:

    My LCS racks everything full-face, but every title only has one slot. So the latest issue is on top and previous issues are behind it. Variants also tend to get racked behind the main cover unless the variant is a big, big deal.

    Which makes me ask: do you have separate slots for each variant? That seems like it would take up a lot of space for some issues like recent Marvel #1s with 32 covers or whatever.

    Sorry if you’ve already answered that above. I have to run to work and don’t have time to skim for an answer. Bye!

  • Rob S. says:

    New comics are mostly full-face display, with recent back issues behind the latest releases. Sometimes lesser-known titles get the corner display with a few of their alphabetical peers as they slip further back in time. But this week’s books aren’t separated out from other recent comics — they’re all on a big alphabetically organized rack that takes up a long wall and a third of another at the corner. There are little flags hanging from the shelves letting customer’s know which ones are This Week’s Releases, or a Staff Member’s Pick, etc.

    Extremely new graphic novels are on the same rack as the comics, but then some move to a rack that displays just the tops of the books, the top 3 inches or so. Others are put on bookshelves, spine out, usually organized by publisher.

  • Roel Torres says:

    At Eisner award winning LCS Comicazi in Somerville, they overlap. I selected photographic examples in this Imgur album to illustrate:

    https://imgur.com/a/c07Ekmy

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Upon entering the store, a long wall on the left hand side displays recent titles by publisher (Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhorse, and everything else) with the top half visible. In the center of the store are individual displays that contain graphic novels and are changed frequently by the owners to reflect current trends in comics, films, pop-culture. On the right is the check-out counter and comic supplies. Everything is displayed on a slat wall with plastic holders.

    At the very back of the shop are current week releases displayed full-face alphabetically. The idea being that customers must walk past a majority of the store merchandise to get to the new comics. The store is also a recent Eisner award winning retailer.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Hope I’m not too late for your survey, Mike! My regular LCS, the Amazing Comic Shop in Fairfax, VA, has a couple long wall racks to display comics, but overlapping so that only the top half of the cover is visible.

    I occasionally go to Big Planet in Vienna, where they have wall racks displaying the full cover.

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