The internet is now a little more stuffed.

§ January 7th, 2022 § Filed under pal plugging, question time § No Comments

First, the big news:

…Yup, just like the little stuffed fella says right up there, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull’s blog “Comics Oughta Be Fun” is back in action after being shuttered for a bit. The primary focus is currently “Today in Comics History,” but boy, Bully has an endless variety of goodies to give you under that theme. So pop by, say “welcome back Bully” and tell him his pal Mike sent you!

And some site news here: my variant cover-age is going to be on hiatus for a couple of weeks as I start looking back at your comic industry predictions for 2021 (and a reminder: I’m still taking your predictions for 2022!). I received a lot of predictions last time, so it may take me a bit to get through them all, but I’m looking forward to it!

Before that happens, let’s see if I can’t polish off a few more of your questions:

Rob S. steals the show with

“Does your store have a convention presence? (In normal times, that is.) If so, what goes into prepping & transporting inventory for a con?”

Not as such, since I’m pretty much a one-man operation here, though I suppose I could wrangle one of the Legion of Substitute Mikes into running the shop while I manned the table at a show. But…I’m not really much into working cons, frankly. I don’t mind attending them, on the rare occasion when I do, but I don’t want to have to stand there all day watching people around me having fun while I have to work. Sometimes it’s easier to just stay at the store and let anyone attending a local convention come to me, as they invariably do.

Since I’ve opened my shop, at the very few local conventions we’ve had (which have been…not top tier, from what I’ve been told by attendees of same) I’ve had folks passing out flyers for my shop, so, you know, there’s at least that. And in my days at the previous place of employment, the shows we worked required picking out a selection of back issues to bring with us (the pricey case comics, the more popular “hot” stuff, some oddball stuff just to show some variety), tossing them into our respective vehicles, and hauling them over. And then…stand at the table working while watching other people have fun.

• • •

Smicha1 smacks me with

“Well this is a two-part question not two questions, hope that’s okay. And they are both fairly easy to answer I hope.”

What? How dare you.

“What percent of your sales would you say comes from new-on-the-shelf comics? And not counting current comics or trades (back issues still count) what product brings in the most money? I don’t mean an individual product but more like ‘t-shirts’ or ‘Funko toys.'”

Well, I don’t know what the exact percentage off the top of my head, but I will say the majority of sales come from the new comics. That’s the big draw, especially in a store like mine that’s pretty much just comics, with no Pokemon or D&D or stuff like that. Is it half? Maybe it’s half, followed by trades and back issues.

And if I’m understanding the second part of the question, back issues would be the biggest non-new-comics-or-trades product line. But excluding comics altogether…like I said, I’m mostly just comics, so I don’t have many other product lines to sell. I suppose “toys” would be the one, which would include Funko Pops in my mind. Perhaps between Pops and other toys, Pops have the edge. Which surprises me they’re still coming out and are still in demand, but hey, that’s fine.

• • •

philfromgermany asks some germane questions with

“Hey Mike, how are you?”

Fair to middlin’.

“Is that alt-right comic nonsense still going on?”

Oof, yeah, probably. I don’t know, I don’t try to pay any attention, which is usually easy since a number of their comics turned out to be vaporware, right? Anyway, not a thing I have to deal with on a regular basis, thankfully, and it’s not like I have customers beating the door down for this stuff.

• • •

Carlos has designs on me with

“I was curious how well Savage Dragon does at your shop/in the area? I have a sub & enjoy it, but don’t see it on shelves of other shops I visit (in TX). It seems that back issues are hard to find and getting pricy because people are now trying to complete the run. Thanks!”

Savage Dragon, going on for over a couple decades and still by Erik Larsen, God bless ‘im. It hadn’t sold for me at the new shop in a while, aside from pull lists, but I’m beginning to get a little more interest lately. Not a lot of copies, mind you, but at least there’s some interest where before there was none.

And yes, the back issue market on this series is pretty off the wall. I suspect sales at most stores are like at mine, with very small rack sales and the majority of copies going to pull lists. With such small print runs, if an issue is missed then it’s to the eBays to look, where the sellers are not kind in their pricing. I know my pal Cully missed a copy at his local shop a while back, and was calling all over (including my store) trying to find it so that he didn’t have to pay the buck wild price being asked for it online. (He eventually bit the bullet and paid a sliightly less than buck wild price for it.)

But I’m all for the Savage Dragon series. One creator doing the same book forever…just imagine if Rob Liefeld had stuck with Youngblood the same way, for the same length of time, and how amazing that would have been.

• • •

MisterJayEm dashes out this question:

“What do you recommend to uncles(52) looking to buy comics for their precocious nieces(7) and nephews(4)?

“It’s hard to peruse those books without looking like a possible creepo, so I prefer to have a plan before I approach the kiddie section of the funny book store.”

If you’re just talkin’ plain ol’ floppy stapled comics, I always recommend the Scooby Doo books for kids. Those are top notch, fun, and likely recognized by children as they never quite seem to go away, despite it being it as old as both of us.

For a four-year-old, Scooby Doo may be a bit wordy, so some of those comics by Art Baltazar (like Tiny Titans) may be cuter and a litle more accessible. Or there’s Owly, which is wordless, but still good and fun comic booking.

• • •

Michael Grabowski slaloms down the following

“I snagged the last copy of the new Usagi Yojimbo comic this week at an LCS. It got me to wonder: does a retailer such as yourself like selling out completely of a title like that during the first week or would you prefer to order enough to have, say, 2 or 3 left over for more occasional customers to discover?”

Ideally, I’d like to have exactly one copy left of everything I order at the end of the sales cycle to go into back issues. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, usually, but I try to cut it as close as I can.

But the answer to your question is basically “it depends.” Some comics die once they’re not longer visible on the comics rack and in the back issue bins. Those I want to sell out of completely on the shelf, whether it’s the first week or over the month. I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t want them to disappear entirely on the first week so that folks who don’t make it in every Wednesday get a chance at them, but there are a few titles where I’m good with them clearing out fast to make room for other new books. Again, it’s a case by case thing. Sometimes I want them to stick around a bit, sometimes I want them to clear out and get out of my hair, sometimes I want a copy or two for back issues, sometimes I don’t want any in the back issue bins because no one will ever buy them there.

Does that make the monthly comic order complicated? You bet it does.

• • •

And BRR freezes us out of the latest batch of questions with

“Would you consider doing an update to your classic 2005 post on best mailing practices? I would be interested in a permalink at your store’s site, perhaps with a sponsored link to your preferred bag sealing scotch tape alternative. Unless this is a trade secret to be kept from competitors and comics distributors.”

Good gravy, was it that long ago? Long enough that flat rate shipping in the envelope was only four bucks? But yes, maybe some updating is in order, as I do tend to ship comics a little differently now (using some of those solidly built comic mailers that Diamond offers, plus more emphasis on heavier protective cardboard, and more box shipping with bubblewrap). None of it is a “trade secret” or anything, but some common sense and a desire to have comics shipping to me the way I ship comics to others.

That post, by the way, was inspired by my own ordering of a run of The Mink off eBay that was shipped to me in the most ridiculous way possible. And the fella was going to charge me some bonkers amount for shipping that I told him “hey, that’s bonkers.” I wish I’d taken a picture of the box they were sent in…or rather, “boxes” as it was some giant monstrosity cobbled together from multiple containers. For eight comics. Well, I guess they did show up intact, so who am I to complain?

• • •

Okay, that’s it for the most recent question-fest…it’s on to 2021 predictions on Monday! Thanks for reading, everyone!

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