Comic Store In Your Future – Goodbye 2020, Here Comes 2021

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics of Ankeny, Iowa, writes Comic Store In Your Future weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

What a year, and 2020 still isn't over. Stores were forced to close. DC left Diamond Comics as their distributor, causing some people to act like the sky was falling. Others were bringing up the failure of when Marvel left Diamond over twenty years ago for Heroes World. For goodness sake, Diamond could not pay their bills at one point this year. Having one vendor for comics is foolish. It shows Diamond they are not the only game in town and gave them a kick in the pants they badly needed. The fact is Lunar is not anywhere close to being like Heroes World. Lunar is making us more money as a vendor than Diamond is. Lunar is hungry for business. For years, Diamond had the mentality if you choose to sell comics, put up with us, or don't sell comics. Diamond's business attitude was not one I could use with my customers, or they would go elsewhere. Unlike me, they could go elsewhere, and I would be out of business. One week I received three shipments from Diamond; the regular Tuesday shipment, some more comics on Thursday, and a shipment on Friday. The Friday shipment? One comic. Yes, just one comic. A second printing of a comic. The comic retails for $3.99 and could have easily waited to be included in a future shipment.

Comic Store In Your Future - Goodbye 2020, Here Comes 2021
From Pixabay – Goodbye 2020, Here Comes 2021

I've been working a lot. I meant to write a column on Thanksgiving about things I am thankful for, but I've been so busy I forgot. In 2019 my big plans for 2020 were to travel a lot more. We got lucky and went to Florida back in February. In April, a trip to Las Vegas was planned, and then Vegas shut down. 2020 turned into a work a lot more year. I've been trying to make as much money as possible in case things go badly. With everything going on, I do worry if things get worse, how worried will people be about money. Collectibles feel the pinch in troubled economic times. Usually, people want to make sure they have money for essentials such as their rent/mortgage and food. Which, of course, is totally understandable.

Business spiked hereafter reopening. People missed us. Selling comics on Tuesdays was great, bringing in a lot of money. Black Friday was last week. Due to the coronavirus, we have not had any in store gaming in months. Also, because of the coronavirus on Black Friday, we offered curbside along with our normal opening hours and let people know if they wished to bid on any of our auctions, they could call, email us or post it on our Facebook page.

How did our Black Friday sale go for this year? Sales were up for us over the previous year—something I did not see happening beforehand. We tried to gear our Black Friday as a way to help out with holiday gift-giving. There were very little buying gifts for others here. Online bidding was quite popular this year for our auctions. We will continue to offer curbside. Our next sales day will be the day after Christmas.

Even with the warnings, a lot of people did get together for large gatherings on Thanksgiving. My new concern is how much of an increase will Thanksgiving lead to in new coronavirus cases? Here in Iowa, our governor is treating the coronavirus more seriously. More and more people now know someone that has had the virus. It has become much more serious to the average person. After the mandate that Iowa's non-essential businesses could reopen, one of my concerns was would the economy recover, or how much would things return to normal? It does not matter what I think of the virus. If people do not feel safe, the economy will still be in trouble. Marvel's parent company Disney has lost billions this year. Disney has made layoffs. The airlines have had to lay off people because so many people do not feel safe flying. Heck, I have a voucher for a trip I will not be using this year. Will Christmas be a scary holiday after people see what Thanksgiving gatherings caused? How much will holiday sales be hurt for businesses?

In a few weeks, we will find out the hard way how bad things will actually get. Looking forward to 2021, if nothing else, it hopefully will be better than in 2020. DC's Future State, when first announced, was met with grumblings from our customers. Now we have people adding every Future State title to their pull lists. With DC making this fully returnable, it makes the start of 2021 look good. Even the Wonder Woman variant movie covers will finally come out and will be tied into DC's Future State. I believe I have ordered the WW covers three times now due to the original WW variant covers being canceled. I was ordering them mostly blind the first time. Still, no images for all the covers on Lunar's website, though Bleeding Cool had them listed and shown. Nothing like ordering comics and having Bleeding Cool as the source for the actual cover images. At least the covers are now returnable due to being tied into Future State, so another win.

I'm working on doing a private showing for just twelve people for the Wonder Woman 1984 movie the weekend it comes out. I am amazed Warner Brothers did not wait until next year to show the movie. Granted, 2021 could very well have too many blockbuster movies hurt one another's box office. The new James Bond, Morbius, Venom, Eternals, Black Widow, Suicide Squad, G.I. Joe Snake Eyes, Venom II, and other movies that were originally due out in 2020 could make a very interesting 2021.

Something good did happen in 2020. I was in Wal Mart and discovered new retro six-inch G.I. Joe action figures. They reminded me of the 25th Anniversary G.I. Joes I used to collect. Sadly, the Joes from my childhood have the rubber bands broken in many of them due to age. I only managed to find the new Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I learned they are Walmart exclusives. DOH! I showed them to the action figure collectors the store has as customers, and they were even surprised they existed.

Showing that in 2020 anything may happen; famous artist, Bob Ross's artwork, will be on Magic the Gathering cards. Only available through Wizards of the Coasts.

2020 is almost over, and we all need to hang in there for a little while longer. As always, stay safe, everyone.

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About Rod Lamberti

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