In this week’s MEANWHILE … AT THE COMIC SHOP: Local Comic Shop Day is an event that has problems written all over it.
By MENACHEM LUCHINS, owner, Escape Pod Comics, Huntington, L.I.
Last week I talked to ComicsPro director Joe Field about their new initiative, Local Comic Shop Day. Joe was kind enough to answer some of my more pressing concerns and I think he acquitted himself and this new program well enough. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be signing up.
All last week, as I shared the Field interview, my retailer friends asked me the same question, “But are you going to do it?” I was actually kind of shocked by the question.
I’ve been thinking of all the ways that I could go over why I believe that Local Comic Shop Day doesn’t work for my store as there are a lot of them. I could do bullet points or a snarky listicle. I could go into excessive detail for each, enumerating every aspect of every reason. Hell, I could offer counter-arguments to every single thing Field said in his interview, as they pertain to my shop.
In the end, though, that doesn’t really serve anyone’s purposes. What I’d prefer to do is go over just a few of the key points that make the event something I don’t see as compatible to my business model and let you all make decisions for yourself if you are interested in it or not.
Firstly, the products: While a hardcover edition of Image’s Bitch Planet is one sweet item, the limitations on its printing mean that at most, there will be 2.5 editions per comic shop that have already signed up for LCDS — and it’s not even the book with the most limited printing. With more than 300 shops signed up, having products with a print limit of 500 or so seems sort of ridiculous. Add the fact that almost every cover I’ve seen so far is pretty much just an existing one with the LCDS logo stamped on it and I’m just not excited enough to sign up, pay up, order up and then wait to see what I actually get.
Continuing in that vein, I cannot think of worse timing for an event that’s main “grabber” is variants. I understand the appeal of connecting LCSD to Small Business Saturday but after placing my orders for November I’m already freaked out about all the variants I’ve got coming. My store has plenty of customers who enjoy a good cover and variants move moderately, but the flood of Marvel #1s, DC themed covers and Image A, B, C, D options already has me doing bizarre math in my head to figure out the pricing. Adding more to that just doesn’t make sense.
Let’s be real. I’m not a joiner. I’m no leader, either, but anyone who knows me well will tell you: I don’t play nicely with others when it comes to being told how to run my business (or do anything, frankly). ComicsPRO has always struck me as an organization that offers quite a bit — just nothing that I’m looking for. This isn’t a knock on them, they’ve just moved in a direction since their founding that feels distant from what I am trying to accomplish with my store. When your model is based on Rocketship Comics of Brooklyn (of blessed memory) and Page 45 of Nottingham (25 years strong!) an organization that speaks to the average US comic shop is not one that is going to appeal to you much.
At the end of it, even if LCSD offered more for me, I would still be avoiding it this time around due to the simple dictate I apply to so many things in life (though Apple products stand out as the ones I most fervently hold this position for):
Wait for them to work the bugs out, then see if you want it.