Comic Store In Your Future – Are You Sure We Have One?

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics of Ankeny, Iowa writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

In these uncertain times, I just found out last week some of our customers did us a heck of a solid. They bought items from the Binc Foundation and listed us so some of the proceeds would go to the store. My thanks to everyone who did that. The Book Industry Charitable Foundation helped a lot of comic stores. Looking towards the future what would I like to see with this announced "comeback" by Diamond Comics? Renewed interest in comics of course. Previous customers along with new customers. Newfound enthusiasm. A positive upward trend for the comic industry.

Would love to hear an announcement that would get comic fans excited. How about Todd McFarlane doing the art on a Spawn/Spider-Man one shot? One could only hope such a thing would happen. How about the return of the Justice Society of America written by Geoff Johns? Alan Moore writing a new Watchmen storyline? J Scott Campbell returning to interiors on a comic book? Brian Bolland doing the art interiors in a book?

There are a lot of potential projects that could get people excited. Will the various publishers be able to get new projects going that will bring new excitement? I hope they can. What are we able to do to bring back the excitement of coming to the store? It is a tough question. Our gaming events are cancelled for at least the whole month of June, maybe longer. Magic: The Gathering sales seem as hot as ever, the lack of gaming nights has not hurt the product. Rod Deals sales are missed though having a crowded store currently is not practical.

We have been hyping New DC Comics Tuesdays. They have been a hit. Magic sales have been great. Back issue sales have been fantastic. With the lack of new Marvel titles, we have been hyping Marvel back issues and having success. People miss buying Marvel and are able to fill the void with back issues. We posted Deadpool #1 from 1993 on our Facebook page. It is Deadpool's first solo comic. We ended up selling four copies. Yes, it's not that many copies though for $9.99 each it is good sales wise. People wanted Deadpool reading material.

Am I worried? The handful of titles Marvel did release last week, did not sell as well as they did before we shut down to put it mildly. Amazing Spider-man surprised me with its drop. Venom sold better because of the various variant covers for the issue. Though it still did not sell as well as I had hoped. For Star Wars Doctor Aphra it currently looks like the re-launch is a dud, at least for us. I had hoped it would do well and the rumors she might be getting her own online streaming show would boost sales. Sadly, currently a lot of our Star Wars readers are asking when is the main Star Wars title, Vader, and/or Star Wars Bounty Hunters coming out and seem more excited about the Star Wars titles not currently available.

Did Marvel wait too long? Will July be better when Marvel releases more product? Will people be more in a buying mood? Will things in the comic market stabilize? I keep reading about cancellations. Comics suddenly switching to digital. Title release dates being pushed back. Very chaotic. The Justice League Heroclix set release did not sell as well as I had hoped. I do wish we could have had a Heroclix gaming event to help them sell. Also, our Heroclix players are great people and customers. A customer was nice enough to forward me an email showing Wizkids, the makers of Heroclix, were contacting people to offer them direct shipping of their products directly from them. Thanks, Wizkids.

The last set of Magic was a hit for us. Ikoria just recently came out because it was delayed from its original April release. The next Magic set, Core 2021 comes out next month. Will this be too soon? Another expensive gamble we will take and find out the hard way. I just hope our new vendor comes through for us.

2020 has been incredibly taxing on different levels for many people. I miss stability, being on top of my game here at the store. Currently shipping schedules are all over the place and trying to keep up with what comics are still due to see print or just go to digital is tough. Downtown Des Moines has changed a lot. Boarded up buildings in what used to be busy streets. That does not make people feel safe.

Comic Store In Your Future - Are You Sure We Have One?

Just read this article. Image is going to be the first publisher to feature the hyped-by-Diamond come back logo on their covers. I at first thought the comic code authority stamp had returned. The comeback stamp is so …… small. I do not see these as highly collectable or any increase in demand. I hope everyone is able to remain safe and I hope for better times for all.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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