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Least appropriate use of he phrase “all the rage” thus far.

§ March 30th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, retailing, self-promotion, sterling silver comics § 5 Comments

So over the last few days I’d been getting requests for two specific issues of Spectacular Spider-Man. No, not that series. Or the other series. Or that other one. I’m talkin’ the original one, the one that began with “Peter Parker, The…” before the title. …No, not that one.

Anyway, my curiosity was piqued as to why these issues, and though I (almost certainly correctly) suspected one of those websites or apps that “inform” folks intent on speculation and investing was responsible, I was wondering just what specific thing was driving this demand.

As you all know, things have been a tad topsy turvy this past week or two, so I had other things on my mind besides researching peculiar demand for a couple of issues of a Spider-Man comic that generally, and no offense to any fans or involved creators, back issue bin filler of no particular note.

But I had some time on Sunday, my first break in a while (more on that later in this very post) and finally sat down an did an eBay search on these requested issues. And I found many a listing with multiple variations on this title:


They’re in demand. Because there’s a character named “Corona” introduced in these books.

Oh come ON.

Needless to say, there’s no connection between Corona the comic book character and the coronavirus, aside from the names, much like there’s no connection between Corona the beer and said virus (but if you saw any of those articles claiming that Corona the beer had suffering sales as of late due to the pandemic, here comes Snopes to clear that particular misconception).

This doesn’t smell like “investment” so much as a recommendation by others to buy ’em cheap out of back issue bins of unsuspecting dealers and then bilk someone on eBay for a lotta dollars by making them think they’re getting a rare collectible.” Well, okay, that’s investment of a sort, but there’s no way something like this is any kind of long-term investment. It’s “buy and flip quick” while the coronavirus is all the rage.

Look, I’ve said before, however people want to enjoy the comics hobby, that’s fine, knock yourself out. But when I found out what was driving this need for these comics…well, my mostly-working eyes couldn’t help but roll awfully hard. Sheesh, “it’s an ill wind…” and all that.

Speaking of ill winds and what they don’t blow, my shop and I have been lucky enough to avoid such zephyrs and actually take in normal income since the California shutdown a couple of weeks back, despite being closed to walk-ins. My doors may be shut, but I’m working hard behind them all by my own self, taking phone orders and internet orders and eBay sales and getting ’em all packed up and shipped out. Now I don’t know how long that’ll last, given I did have a boost from a last new comics shipment from Diamond on Wednesday (resulting in sales that were pretty much on par with regular non-shutdown New Comics Day sales). But folks have been eager to throw business my way, and even prepay for material I won’t receive ’til Diamond revs up the ol’ supply line again.

Now I have been very busy, as it seems like I just take a phone or email order, start packing stuff, get another order called in, add that to the pile, then get more orders, and so on. Like I said above, I haven’t really had a chance to sit and relax for a moment at the shop until I had a brief respite on Sunday. And even then, I began posting some random books in a Twitter feed and on the store Instagram and will likely do more of that as time allows.

And speaking of the Instagrams, I offered (and am still offering) a special deal…$20 (which includes shipping) gets you 30 random comics. Good way to get you some comics for reading, giving to the kids, cutting up for art projects, and the like. And it clears out some stock from my backroom, too! It’s a win/win! Just PayPal $20 to my store’s email address (mike at sterlingsilvercomics dot com) and I’ll send you a package, too! Domestic customers only, though if you live in another country let me know and maybe I can get something worked out for you.

Bet you weren’t expecting a commercial. Sorry, gotta find ways to keep that cash flow active, especially if things get a bit leaner as this situation continues.

Anyway, stay safe out there, follow Nancy’s advice, and let’s all get through this so we can get back to focusing on fun stuff…all them funnybooks. Tell you what…next post I make here will be virus-free. …Er, you know what I mean.

Or just send me shoeboxes filled with twenties.

§ March 25th, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 8 Comments

As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Diamond Comics has, after this week’s shipment, suspended delivery of new comics to retailers until further notice. I feel this is, in general, a good thing, preventing unsold stock from piling up in stores in currently locked-down areas (like mine) with bills for invoices piling up.

I mean, at least in the short term. The new comics I have now I’ll be shipping out to customers who’ve paid via PayPal or called-in credit cards…packing is going to be taking up most of my Wednesday. It won’t be as lucrative as a normal New Comics Day, but it’s still going to be income, and I can still use it, as I do have to pay for this week’s shipment. And last week’s, as I’m on a “net-14” pay schedule with the distributor, meaning I have two weeks to pay each invoice. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem covering both bills, I think, as customers have been pretty willing to buy stuff from me over the last few days, thankfully.

I’m not 100% looking forward to new comics-less weeks and not getting those sales, though I have have enough stock here to sell to hopefully keep at least some money coming in. The trick is getting it up somewhere where folks can pick through it. I don’t have an online store aside from my eBay listings, and that isn’t necessarily representative of what I’ve got in the back issue bins and on the shelves. A lot of my business came from walk-ins, and that’s where I focused things. Now that I don’t have walk-ins, I’ve got to figure out a new strategy, which will be my new project once I’m done dealing with this week’s new comics cycle.

One place to keep an eye on is my Instagram page, where I’m probably going to be posting some choice items out of the case in the next few days. That’ll be relatively quick and easy, though I don’t want to overwhelm the feed. And I may be posting things on my store website, so keep an eye out there, too.

Of course, you can just send me want lists, and I’ll see what I’ve got. I never have a problem with that.

I do have to admit, I wasn’t entirely prepared for this, but then I wasn’t expecting most of the U.S. economy to just up and shut down. But I plan to hang in there, and I think I can make it through to the other side of this. I mean, what else am I going to do, quit the comic business and get a real job? FERGIT IT

Working harder closed than I did when I was open.

§ March 23rd, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments


So I have a stack of Free Comic Book Day promotional material set aside at the shop, that either has to be discarded or repurposed since, as you probably heard and probably shouldn’t be surprised by, the event has been postponed to maybe the summertime? We’ll see…it all depends on how our current situation works out.

And when I say “repurposed,” I mean, like, what if the FCBD crew issues a bunch of stickers with the new date, once it’s established, that we can just slap over the old “May 2nd/First Saturday in May” tags on the posters and shelftalkers and such. Unless it’s just cheaper to reprint everything, I don’t know.

Pictured above is the Free Comic Book Day pen…I ordered a bundle for the store, and, now that I look at it, it really could have used a second line of print reading “FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY” to be properly promotional, but, you know, as it turns out, that didn’t really matter this year. Regardless, I just kinda look at that bag of pens and have this…sorta sad feeling, I guess? Sad that we got all this stuff for the big comics store event of the year and now it was just all for nothing. Yes, I know, not nothing since a FCBD is still supposed to happen eventually, but still, having this material on hand when most of it is, as it stands now obsolete is pretty affecting.

But this FCBD pen is still good. And it even writes!

In other “the store is closed to the public due to the CA shutdown” news…my shop is doing okay with phone and mail orders, along with a couple of very generous prepayments for future product. I managed to go through my comic saver list and call everyone, and already have had a lot of folks setting up mailing schedules on their items, or just straight up paying me for whatever’s in their box which they can pick up once the world settles town a tad.

Still haven’t heard from Diamond to discuss how to handle payment of invoices for the time being, since my income is going to take a hit, and how I can make sure the new weekly shipments will still head my way. Did call my landlord to tell him that next month’s rent may be a bit tricky to pay, but fortunately he’s on board and willing to work with me on that, too. What choice do any of us have, really?

Anyway, doing my best to keep my shop viable, and not turn this site into a “closing a store for good” document. Here’s hoping things ease up soon…not just for my store, of course, but for everyone’s health and safety.

Well, here we go.

§ March 20th, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 9 Comments

The California governor has issued a statewide stay at home order, with only essential services to remain open, like grocery stores, gas stations, law enforcement, that sort of thing.

As much as I’d like to think my shop is an essential service, that means I’m gonna have to shut down as well.

Now it’s my understanding I can still work in the shop, just not have it open to the public, and thus I’ll be able to receive shipments, mail orders out, etc. I have some funding options and emergency grants I can pursue, and I’ll have to call Diamond tomorrow and see what I can do about managing my invoices there on my assumed reduced income.

Of course, Wednesday and Thursday were very good days of business at the store, but even as good as it was, that’s not going to pay for my incoming inventory without financial assistance. Hopefully some of the options I’ll be exploring will provide it.

Anyway, I’ll try to keep folks updated here, and naturally on all my store’s various online venues, as to what’s going on. If you are a regular customer of mine, feel free to call or email me…the plan is to be at the store my regular work hours, more or less, so I’ll do my best to work with you during these troubled times.

Good luck to everyone out there, and absolutely feel free to contact me. Thanks for reading, pals.

Look, you’re gonna need something to read while you’re stuck at home, right?

§ March 18th, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

So…business continues to be within normal averages. Monday was slow, aside from a sizable purchase, but Mondays are generally slower days anyway. Plus, it was pouring rain most of the day and that historically keeps people from wanting to go out and buy items made of paper. And Tuesday’s sales were pretty typical for a Tuesday.

The real test will be how my Wednesday sales go. I did get my comic shipment on time on Tuesday, with an emailed message from Diamond informing retailers that we were permitted to sell the new product upon receipt, rather than waiting for the usual on-sale date. On top of that, there have been some notices from publishers regarding retail support in the form of full returnability for titles during certain ship weeks. I also spoke to a distributor rep about direct assistance regarding the impact of current events on invoice payments and such, and was told that Diamond is working with retailers to, well, keep them in business.

As it stands right now, barring enforced closure of all businesses and a stay-at-home order, it’s possible I’ll still be able to generate some income. Folks are still out and about, so I’m getting some walk-ins, and I’m seeing a number of phone orders/internet sales as well. No idea if that’ll last or not, but it is a slight relief that I have the option of working something out with Diamond if things really go south. Hopefully the landlord will be equally willing to work with me…as well as the various doctors also expecting payments. Sigh.

So yes, I’ll be open for business regular hours until further notice. Most of the other shops ‘n’ such in my particular strip of businesses have either reduced their services (restaurants all pretty much just doing take out), closed up entirely (noooo, not the massage parlor), or at the very least have encouraged “curbside assistance” (the veterinarian asking folks to bring their pets to the door and knock, rather than coming into the waiting room). So hey my Wednesday customers, there’s plenty of parking!

With any luck I can ride this out…it may be tight, it may be ugly, but I’m thinking I can probably make it. I hope. I mean, I gotta…too many people depending on me to get them Bad Idea comics.

Maybe I can pay for the weekly comics shipment with toilet paper and bottled water.

§ March 16th, 2020 § Filed under cranius, pal plugging, retailing, swamp thing § 4 Comments

So I expected some kind of dropoff in business this weekend due to the coronavirus, but surprisingly sales remained within their usual range, if not, perhaps, slightly above what I estimated. Now it could be people coming in and loading up on reading material for their sequestering, or that the full impact of what’s going on hasn’t quite settled in (though that’s hard to argue if you’ve seen the state of any grocery stores in the last couple of days), but so far, I’ve been doing okay.

Now whether that continues as everything continues to shut down and more people decide to stay home, I don’t know. Or it could be that folks are just in initial panic mode and that perhaps behavior will begin to normalize as the realization sets in that the world isn’t ending just yet. Again, don’t know.

It’s a level of uncertainty that I’m not particularly enjoying, as I’m sure most people out there are also experiencing. “How do I make money if I don’t work?” “How do I make money if no one is making money to spend at my store?” “How do I make money if people stop going out to shop?” It’s pretty rough. I have to worry about paying my rent, paying for the weekly Diamond invoices, paying myself so I can pay my regular expenses, oh, and saving up for a tax bill that I didn’t think I was going to have up until about two weeks ago. If money stops coming in, then I’ve got no money to go out, and that will be that.

Like I said, business has remained relatively steady, and it could be I’m worrying too much. Could be I’ll ride this out just fine, pinching pennies here and there, taking in few collections, while income is still coming in, even at slightly reduced levels. And I’m still doing mail order, and have offered my local customers the option to ship their books to them if they would rather not make the trip. But if things cut off entirely…well, my landlord and Diamond and my various utilities will hopefully be understanding.

Sigh. Anyway, so it’s not all doom and gloom, let me show you this pic that pal Matt Digges gave to me as a birthday present this weekend:


Heck yeah that’s Arcane and Cranius from Swamp Thing! And you guys know I loves me some Cranius.

Okay, let’s see what the week brings us. Hopefully things will get better, we’ll all start trying to lead normal (if health-conscious) lives, and panic rushes on grocery stores will subside. I mean, I certainly hope they do, I’m runnin’ short on paper towels.

Not to be confused with “Bad Idea Jeans.”

§ March 12th, 2020 § Filed under publishing, retailing § 6 Comments

So you may have heard about this new comics company (comprised, I think, of several former Valiant Comics folks) called “Bad Idea,” which the more I talk about this publisher the more hilarious and clearly self-aware its name sounds to me. Anyway, their deal, which is admittedly a bit weird, is that they’re initially only going to be offering their comics to a limited number of retailers, and that said comics wouldn’t be reprinted, collected, digitized*, variant-ized, or spindled or mutilated too, I’m presuming. Originally they announced it was only going to be 20 retailers, then they upped the number to 100, and, well, clearly I’m talking about it here because I managed to get my store on that list.

When I first heard about this, I contacted the publisher, expecting, like, there was going be a $1000 buy-in or something in order to participate. But, nope, just had to fill out an application/agreement thing, and then after whatever selection process was completed, got the email that I was in. I’m not being forced to order more comics than I’m comfortable with, so, you know, I’m willing to give it a shot. And after I announced it on my site and social media outlets, and after the list of retailers showed up elsewhere, I started getting interest from my customers and requests to add their titles to pull lists, so let’s see how it goes.

It is a weird business model, contrary to most business strategies, or what passes for them, at most comic companies. Conventional wisdow is that collected edition sales is where the longterm profit is at, and that digital sales is what all the kids are into, or where the future of comics is at, or that sort of thing. Plus on top of everything else, putting a cap on the number of outlets allowed to even order the books…I mean, it certainly got everyone’s attention, but I hope they’ve figured out a way to make money on this. I’m sure they have, but it certainly seems odd. Which, I guess, is the point.

I don’t know how long these particular strategies are going to remain in place, or how long they’ll stand against general market forces, but I’m glad I’m in there on the ground floor and trying this company out. No idea how it’ll all do, but it has my interest. One thing I’m wondering about is just how to order on these. Like I said, I’ve already had a bit of demand for these from customers, so that gives me at least an idea on what to order. But I can see folks who aren’t near a shop carrying Bad Idea books going down the list of retailers and calling each one, looking for copies to mail order. I like mail order, I do a lot of mail order, so I wonder how many copies extra I should have on hand for this sort of demand? I do not know. Don’t want to go overboard on numbers, but don’t want to be stuck short either. But if any of you reading this want any of these comics, let me know, I’ll be happy to send it to you!

You can read more about the publisher on its site.

* At least officially…sigh.

“Welcome to Walt Disney’s Progressive Ruin.”

§ February 28th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics, retailing § 8 Comments

So the follow-up to last week’s release of Batman #89, which nobody had enough of because everyone decided they needed it after orders were locked down, was this week’s Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3, which also experienced a huge amount of demand that wasn’t there prior to its orders being solidified.

And unlike Batman #89, which at least had a chance at being ordered in reasonably high quantities, Hell Arisen #3 was, at least in these quarters, ordered pretty close to the bone, for pull lists and to accommodate numbers sold on the shelf for issues #1 and #2. Probably not a lot of extras of those floatin’ around, I’d imagine. Batman‘s got a shelf life beyond its initial week of release, the presumably concluding mini-series to an event that, despite its title, was definitely around for like eight or nine years, ain’t going to be picking up a bunch of brand new readers, so I’m presuming orders were very conservative.

But it’s an early appearance of a new character, or characters, I’m not even entirely sure, so I don’t even have to check in on the eBays to see what usually happens when short supply meets high demand. (Remind me in about six months or so to check in there and see where values may have settled.)

The next big, well, milestone, I suppose, will be Batman #92…specifically, the “cardstock variant cover” illustrated by Artgerm, for which I’m already receiving requests. Finally, DC found a way to get people to want to pay a dollar more for these cardstock covers. It was supposed to be the variant for #94, but DC, smelling a buck anticipating current demand, pushed up its release. And I’m just going to post a picture of it here so I don’t have yet another giant wall of text on my site:


Okay, Joker’s new partner in crime, that’s all well and good, assuming 1) DC learned its lesson regarding the abusive relationship Harley Quinn was in with the Joker (and to be fair, it looks like they have, at least with HQ’s modern portrayal) and makes Punchline more of an equal, and 2) any issues with Orientalism can be avoided, making the character part of a commitment to diversity rather than surface level fetishism.

Okay, okay, bit early to be dumping this much heaviness onto a brand new character that’s barely shown up. I may be a bit soured on the whole thing because of the sales situation, so maybe I’ll feel a little more positive about the whole thing once there’s a little distance. At the very least, the comic market can use a little excitement once in a while just to keep things interesting, even if it makes my grey hair just slightly more grey.

And speaking of going more grey, it’s going to be tricky ordering this cover for #92. I’ve got preorders, which helps, but am I going to get much additional walk-in traffic for it? It’s far enough in advance that everyone can order as much as they want of it right now, but if there’s plenty of supply, the sort of demand that would come if copies weren’t plentiful may not materialize. I can see some stores getting stuck with piles of this issue, and I need to make darn sure I’m not one of them.

• • •

In other news, in the wake of former copublisher Dan DiDio’s departure, I’ve been seeing online, and hearing from the occasional customer, things like “Is Marvel buying DC?” or “is DC licensing their characters to Marvel?” or “is DC going to get shut down if their next event doesn’t pay off?” …And all I can think of is that long ago issue of Comic Shop News, either an April Fools issue or maybe their issue #50 or maybe both, that had a fake headline and story headlined “MARVEL BUYS DC.” I still have a copy around my house, somewhere…probably should have found it before writing this post, but oh well, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, that sort of rumor has been going on a long time, even long before that issue of CSN. And interestingly, I don’t recall such prevalence of the reverse rumor, DC buying Marvel, even when that seemed like an even greater possibility during Marvel’s lean years prior to the Disney buyout.

Anyway, it’s all horseshit. DC licensing characters to Marvel makes no sense, since Marvel has no publishing advantage over DC, really, and besides, Marvel’s already licensing out their own characters to somebody else to publish. The major thing Marvel has over DC is its movies, which all tend to be successful and have consistent cultural traction. Despite that, DC’s movies on the whole do make money, aside from a few underperformers, and it seems unlikely Warner Bros. would wish to endure “Marvel Studios Presents SUPERMAN.” I see WB continuing to try to make money with DC, rather than giving it up for someone else to make money, or canning it entirely.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that someday Disney won’t buy Warner Bros. and merge Marvel and DC together at some point, but Disney’s eventual acquisition of everything is inevitable. We shall all be one with The Mouse.

Oh, and my guess for who’s replacing Dan DiDio as co-publisher, assuming Jim Lee doesn’t become sole publisher or that someone at Warners installs someone in the position? …Brian Michael Bendis. Put me in the office pool for a dollar, please.

I purposely typed “Elf with a Gun” as much as I could in this post.

§ February 24th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 8 Comments

So there I was, pricing up a bunch of old issues of Defenders, as one does when one owns a comic book store with lots of back issues and also have at least temporarily working eyes, when I noticed something. The current Overstreet price guide, the 49th annual edition, has this as their listing for the latter part of the series:


What stood out for me were the notations for that classic weirdo Marvel character “Elf with a Gun.” I couldn’t recall seeing that particular information being in the “Defenders” guide listings before, so I went back to the 46th annual edition, which I happened to have sittin’ around the shop, and behold:


Yup, no mention of Elf with a Gun. When I first discovered this, I was quick to blame comic blogs and their fascination with funnybook esoterica bringing something like Elf with a Gun to slightly more widespread awareness (for which Dave-El willingly took the fall with his 2018 post on this very character).

But actually, if you compare the two scans, it’s clear that the newer guide has greatly expanded its content notation for many of the issues listed there, so it’s not just Elf wtih a Gun who gets special attention. And let’s be honest, it’s one of those bizarre things that deserves to be singled out, one of Steve Gerber’s stranger flights of whimsy to appear on the printed page. (And before anyone says anything…yes, I know the price guide listings excerpted above are for the later non-Gerber Elf with a Gun appearances…look, those just happened to be the issues I was pricing.)

Anyway, if you want to learn more about Elf with a Gun, and who wouldn’t, really, go read Dave-El’s post. He’s got it covered.

One other thing I noticed, aside from the whole Elf with a Gun thing, is th eapparent price drop from the 46th edition to the current 49th edition of the guide. Mostly $4 in Near Mint before, now only $3 a pop. One of my Twitter pals (whose tweets are protected, so I won’t directly quote him here) suggested the proliferation of digital availability bringing prices down, or even the possible negative impact of the Defenders TV show that had aired on Netflix. I mean, I have no idea…sure either of those situations could have been factors, or maybe there’s just less overall demand/trade in back issues from that period, causing a depression in reported sales from submitting retailers. When I have some free time (har har) maybe I’ll do a little spotchecking and see if there are any other examples of relatively cheap/small demand books getting similar price reductions.

Anyway, just a little something I noticed while doing my job. How many other jobs require investigating historical attention to, and pricing of, Elf with a Gun comic book appearances? Probably far more than you can imagine.

In conclusion:

Someone put out a video talking about how Man of Steel #2 (1986) is a hot collectible…I’ve got dozens of those to move.

§ February 21st, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 2 Comments

So I had a work dream the other night, in which I was explaining to someone that the demand for a random issue of Amazing Mary Jane was so through the roof that they actually pulled back all the copies intended for newsstand distribution to meet the needs of retailers in the direct market.

Now 1) that’s not how any of that works, and 2) ha ha “newsstand distribution,” but I think that I had a dream like that at all tells me that trying to stay ahead of the almost seemingly arbitrary and unpredictable floods of requests for specific issues of comic series. Or specific variant covers. And almost always at the last second, long after the orders have been locked in and it’s too late to get in any reorders.

The latest example was just this week, when word got out that a new character (“Punchline,” a new Harley Quinn-esque lady partner for the Joker) was to appear in Batman #89. Now, it’s more of a cameo, really (like, half her face in one panel, if I saw correctly) but that was enough for the YouTube videos and the “hot comic” phone apps to push the comic into stratospheric demand.

Those of you who’ve been around these here bloggin’ parts a while may remember this post of mine, in which I try to explain why ordering for a limited series is different from ordering for an ongoing series, in terms of deciding how much back stock you’d want on hand for future sales to readers new to the series. An ongoing series would probably require slightly deeper backstock, as theoretically you could have people looking for the first, second, etc. issues for years on end. A mini-series you might want just enough back stock to meet needs for the duration of the series, and perhaps a little after. There are exceptions, of course, but in general that would be the respective cases.

When I wrote that back in 2007, we didn’t quite yet have the marketplace we do now, where titles end and relaunch with new #1s whenever, I don’t know, a character gets a new haircut and now suddenly everything is New and Different! In 2007, while relaunches had happened, of course, it wasn’t the norm it is today. Any title can stop and relaunch with a new #1 at any time, and when that new series starts, demand for back issues of preceding series will drop off. I can still sell plenty of the original Batman series, but New 52 Batman, once a hot commodity, barely moves now that it’s been supplanted by Rebirth Batman.

The end result: everything gets ordered as a mini-series. Just enough back stock, if any, to meet demand right now, and hopefully not be stuck with more than a copy or two, if any, of each issue when the eventual relaunch comes. Even something like the current Batman, which is nearing issue #100, which even somehow managed to change writers without a new #1, you kinda still feel the need to order close to the bone because you can no longer plan on the long term health of its sale of back issues.

And the end result of that end result: if something suddenly and without sufficient warning becomes “hot,” there’s not going to be an excess of stock floating around to meet that excess demand. I know this exact thing happened with Batman, judging by the increasing desperation of phone calls throughout my Wednesday from folks trying to locaste copies. Pretty sure most people were caught off guard. I had so many phone calls prior to that Wednesday from customers asking for that very issue that I opened my doors on New Comics Day with no copies of this issue for the rack. And I order a not-insignificant amount of Batman comics. Even at a limit of one per customer (sorry, you don’t get 10 copies, guy on phone I’ve never spoken to before) I was plain ol’ outie.

I realize I’ve typed about this sort of thing in the past. And I’ve said before…I’m glad to see some excitement in the direct market, and you can enjoy the hobby however you want to enjoy it. But things aren’t like they were back in the early ’90s, when you had to have reasonably deep stock for purt’near everything to meet current and future demand. “Surprise” titles like Batman #89 is usually met by stores who ordered just enough for their weekly pulls and the usual rack sales.

I mean, sure, I’ve been doing this a long time, I sometimes can properly anticipate higher than normal demand for certain comics. For example, I ordered extra copies of the J. Scott Campbell cover for Star #1 from Marvel, and was rewarded by a quick sellthrough. But then, I also ordered extra on the Gwen Stacy #1 with the Campbell cover and sold pretty much all of its variants except that one. Oh well.

You can also try following the same apps/sites/videos the customers do, assuming they give you enough lead time to adjust your orders. And assuming all their hot comic suggestions work out, which all of them won’t. And if you can stand watching a YouTube video with someone talking about what future comics will be investible without getting a nosebleed.

Or you can just order what you need to order, as trying to second guess what comic will be “hot” or “collectible” is a quick way to fill up your back room.

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