Welcome to the second installment of Dealing Cool, our new regular feature which shares retailer perspectives from among the racks and at the register. Today, we're proud to present insight from Steve Anderson of Third Eye Comics. Enjoy!
MY SHOP, DEFINED
Set the stage for the Bleeding Cool viewer — what's the core of your business? Where are you located, and what's your primary clientele? Would you consider yourself and/or your store as a specialist in a particular product genre or era?
Our primary focus is current release comics, and graphic novels, and we feature one of the most extensive selections of both comics and graphic novels in the country. We are dedicated to providing the best in customer service, inviting store atmosphere, and stock selection. We pride ourselves on our ability to find a comic book for anybody, and bringing new fans into the medium. Another specialty we're known for outside of our friendly stores, and large selection, is our ability to really key into the next surprise hit title. I can proudly say that we've never under-served our markets on hot new titles like Morning Glories, Prophet, or media cross-over hits, like most recently, Adventure Time.
I'm also proud to say that our clientele is very diverse, with fans of all ages, genders, and interests filling our stores.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
What are the hot items in your store this month? Even more interesting, what would be an item (or items) that surprised you?
For February, Image Comics has really owned the shelves. With lighter product offerings from the Big Two, we saw Image take advantage of the extra rack space and really do a great job of delivering exciting, new creator-owned titles. Both Prophet and Glory have been big hits. Peter Panzerfaust also has done very well. The dark spin on the Wizard of Oz mythos as seen in No Place Like Home also grabbed a lot of attention.
As far as Marvel and DC offerings, Daredevil continues to pick up steam and build buzz, and issues #1-3 of Avengers: X-Sanction have been flying off the shelves as people prepare for Avengers Vs. X-Men. Scott Snyder's Batman run brings in more and more new fans to the New 52, and continues to rival Justice League as the top book of the relaunch. Also, Adventure Time and Ralph Wiggum Comics have both shown huge legs as the kind of surprise cross-over hits that many retailers under-estimated, and end up becoming hot books on the back market.
Was there any particular sales program or push in the past month, and how did it go over? What would you do differently? Any tips for other retailers on strategies they can duplicate elsewhere?
Not to suck up, but the efforts from Avatar for "C-Day" and Crossed: Badlands have been great. The push from Th3rd World Studios for their upcoming series Finding Gossamyr (which looks like it has major potential to be a breakout this summer in the vein of Bone and The Amulet) also has us excited. Sam Humphries and Tyler James have both done incredible things with their micro-distro outreach. I'd love to see more outreach like this from creators.
As far as stuff we've tried, there's nothing that beats recommending quality comics that match up to your customer's tastes. Promotions and gimmicks aside, we've found our best sales strategies are getting to know your customers' likes and dislikes, and pointing them to the stuff you know they'll love.
HYPE VS. REALITY
Considering sales and customer feedback, how did a particular big-ticket series or event perform at your store?
Avengers Vs. X-Men is going to be a huge hit. X-Sanction is moving like crazy, and the buzz is super positive about the event. Marvel's got themselves a winner with this one.
What's a favorite pick for your store, something you wholeheartedly endorse as a high quality and entertaining product?
This changes almost weekly, as we're such big fans of the medium, and are always finding something new and exciting to be pumped about. Right now, the most recent example of an item we're 100% behind and want to really get more people reading is the Image series Near Death. The trade just came out, and for $10.00, you're getting one of the most exciting new crime noir series since Criminal's debut.
Third Eye Comics
45 Old Solomon's Island Rd. #102
Annapolis, MD 21401 USA