One man's quest to buy comics on Wednesday

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The Twelve 11 674x1024 One man's quest to buy comics on Wednesday
I have to admit, at this point in my life, I’m not much of a floppy comics reader. I’ve been fishing SAGA and PROPHET out of my Image comps, and every two months or so I go to Hanleys in search of a missing back issue but…I’m not part of the Wednesday Crowd.

Which is why all the talk of pull lists and ordering and racing to get to the store go right over my head.

So it wasn’t until i read this piece by Todd Allen for PW that I finally understood:

Buying comics each and every week is like getting to H&M when the new collaboration opens, or the Jimmy Choo shoe sale.

YOU GOTTA GET THERE EARLY.

Or pre-order.

At lunch, I went down to my first retailer of the day.  I picked up a few books, but at 12:30 in the afternoon (for a store that opens at 11am), he was already out of Punisher, Wonder Woman and Batman.  At least two of those three titles, you would really expect to be in stock for the weekend, let alone over the noon hour.

A bit later in the afternoon, I was able to slip out and make a trip to the second store of the day, which did have those three in stock.  I was fortunate.  My record is visiting five different stores while looking for Flash Gordon #2.  I ended up buying #2 and #3 at the same time.  It took me three trips to find The Twelve #11.  Off the top of my head, some other titles I’ve had to bounce between stores to pick up have been All-Star Western, Captain America & Bucky, I… Vampire and Elric.  This are not terribly obscure titles, especially for shops in a major metropolitan area.  I’m making multiple trips usually two out of three weeks in a given month.


I know I’m sitting here in a privileged position in my New York/comp list world.

But virtually everyone in the comics publishing industry lives in a similar bubble. We get our comps delivered every month and wonder where we’re going to put the darned things. It’s not like we have to get out of bed and camp out early just to buy a copy of…BATMAN, fer cryin’ out loud.

Comments

  1. Christian says:

    This is precisely why DCBS is the best thing to ever happen to comics.

    DCBService.com for the uninitiated among us.

  2. Comic shops *have* to order to sell out of every Marvel and DC title now, and most other publishers as well. For almost all shops, almost all recent back issues are no longer a source of revenue; they’re wasted money and wasted space. It’s a transformation in the business that I still have trouble wrapping my brain around.

  3. Rick Hood says:

    I’m not sure that I understand the point that you are trying to make with this article. This is not new or revelatory to anyone who has been buying comic books on a regular basis.

  4. Indeed. I remember growing up I had to special order anything by Image or IDW. I couldn’t for the life of me comprehend why there was none for the shelf.

  5. I don’t think BATMAN is supposed to sell out by noon. Really? Jeebus. what a world.

  6. blacaucasian says:

    “Comic shops *have* to order to sell out of every Marvel and DC title now, and most other publishers as well.”

    Not if their doing their jobs right they don’t.

  7. patrick ford says:

    There is no longer a comics shop near me. My kids read a lot of different comics, and I usually buy them at a B&N. Recently I happened to be near a comics shop so I stopped in to purchase some things the kids read. It turned out the shop didn’t carry The Simpsons, Sergio Aragones, or Adventure Time. The guy at the shop said there was no demand for them.

  8. Marco Polo says:

    Wait, why would you exchange currency for All-Star Western?

  9. If a store is sold out within an hour then they are horrible businesspeople incompetent at ordering the right number of comics.

  10. this is why i went to digital comics. I’ve never enjoyed pre-ordering, and i was sick of having to take extra long lunch hours every wednesday just to find a store already sold out of stuff like Batman and Spiderman and just about anything else i wanted. Forget about indies…

    I found a better stocked store, that just happened to sell digital comics. At first it was weird, but then i got into it. I buy comics every week, but I haven’t set foot in a comic shop in about 6 months.

  11. You gave a secure link, Ace, here’s a more public one: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/book-news/comics/article/51599-journey-into-mystery—where-am-i-getting-my-comics-this-week-.html

    Well, I know Todd’s not talking about Comix Experience, at least — we’re (duh!) still in stock on BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN and PUNISHER, those aren’t the kind of books we sell out of first week, let alone first day…. and usually not the first month even.

    I will admit to selling out of TWELVE #11… the Saturday after it was released; all of the rest of the titles he mentioned we have.

    For Kevin’s “It’s a transformation in the business that I still have trouble wrapping my brain around.”: It’s because the collected version of any given comic is now “virtually guaranteed” to come out right away. This completely kills any back issue demand.

    -B

  12. Screw that, I have a job and stuff to do besides. If a store can’t stock the comics I want to buy without me having to rush over during lunch in fear that something like BATMAN (?!?) would sell out then I would find another store, or go mail-order/digital-only.

    It’s not the job of the customer to negotiate the byzantine complexities of comics retailing, it’s the store’s job. Any store that acts otherwise sucks.

  13. Scratchie says:

    Not surprisingly, Brian nails it. The only reason comics ever worked in a non-returnable form was that the old issues were (hypothetically) valuable. Once you could easily catch up on old storylines in collected editions, the potential value of comics between, say, one and ten years old, dropped pretty quickly.

    Combine that with the fact that complete sets of old comics that have never been collected can often be found for cheap on Ebay, and the potential for reselling extra copies of any given week’s issues seems pretty small to me, a layman.

    I used to buy my comics at a local store whose whole business model seemed to be based on taking subscribers’ comics out of the UPS box and putting them aside for the subscribers. They never ordered extras of anything except the most obvious Bat-X-Spider-Vengers comics.

    While that was frustrating to me as an eclectically-minded customer, I can see how it made a certain kind of business sense, because how many people were ever going to be looking for a year-old single back issue of some random Vertigo (or whatever) title?

  14. You get comps?!?!?!?

  15. Matthew Southworth says:

    @Rick Hood–it’s not news, which is why it’s news. It’s not novel to discover that you can’t find what you’re looking for…and that’s unfortunate and destructive to comics fans, creators, and publishers.

    So I think the point of the article is that when you can’t even get the Major Label big-time comics on a regular basis, that’s a sign that something’s really wrong with the sales model.

  16. “http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/04/19/lego-dc-universe-super-hero-movie-maker-app-free-video/”

    Or pick a store in the same town that doesn’t suck.

    -B

  17. Micah says:

    I agree with Brian. The proliferation of the collected editions has killed the back-issue market, and thus the collectibility of comics. It’s like taking a new car off the lot; the second it hits the streets the resale value has plummeted. Then the manner in which you digest your comics is based on a reader’s preferred method. The way comics are written these days, seldom is a monthly comic, by itself, a fulfilling story. The reader receives the full benefit of a comic by reading the collected trades. And you can buy collected trades from Amazon at a steep discount that the LCS can’t compete with. That’s why there is readership attrition.

    After a long time of being a Wednesday customer, I’m on the path of trade-waiting and digital comics.

  18. I can sympathize with my retailer colleagues that sell through and sell out too quickly on a title here or there, but when it’s Wednesday afternoon and many titles are gone, there’s potential for several scenarios:

    1) It’s the “hot” title of the week and no one informed the retailer during ordering.

    2) It’s a title that just doesn’t sell for that particular retailer, so he/she keep a copy or three for the rack, only to have that eaten up early by transient buyers.

    3) There is little to no consistency in how many titles sell from month to month. Even if there’s a 1-3 copy change from month to month, that’s three disenfranchised potential sales.

    Retailers do get a better deal for ordering non-returnable, but among the worst things that’s happened to comics retail in the last 15 years is not the drop in back issue sales, it’s not the onset of graphic novelitis, it’s that many retailers decided to turn their stores into Previews’ catalog fulfillment centers.

  19. One option could also be damaged copies. If half of his Batman and Wonder Woman came damaged, there is nothing the retailer can do about it.

  20. It should also be noted that the buyer who shops at regular stores (buys his copy of Batman from one store the one and then from another the next month) messes up the ordering for a store. Stores base their ordering on what they sold of the previous issues.

    Now customers have the right to shop that way, but it does case ordering snafus for retailers.

    For a book that we sell less than ten of, I want to sell out.

    For a book that we sell 10-30 of, I only want one extra copy left after the three month window.

    For bigger books, I want to only have a couple left.

    So if I’m ordering eight copies of a book because I had eight customers buy it last month, then I get two transients who want it, I’m in trouble. But it is the trouble I will take because I need to be profitable.

  21. I wish I could edit because that first paragraph is atrocious. I proofed it. Made changes and didn’t reproof.

    So here is what it was supposed to say.

    It should also be noted that the buyer who shops at multiples stores and randomly buys books from one store one month and then from another store the next messes up the ordering for both stores. Stores base their ordering on what they sold of the previous issues.

    The moral is if you want the books you buy to be in stock, then you need to shop regularly at one store. Even if you don’t preorder, a good shop monitors what is selling and orders accordingly.

  22. Al™ says:

    The shortage of comics from LCS to LCS actually reminds me of the old old days.

    A local restaurant or drugstore would stock 12 copies of certain comic titles, but not bother putting other comics on the shelf at all. Too much bother.

    The clerks had ‘editorial power’ over what we could find on the stand.

    It is different now, with the LCS ordering one (1) shelf copy each of the top 10 titles.

  23. Hear hear, this is a big deal, I think. If someone can’t walk in and get Batman, what’s the point of even advertising them? It precludes new customers, right? Really a lost part of the experience, I think — walking in, whenever, and seeing what came out. The proliferation of the noon creepers is the ’90s all over again.

  24. Hibbs: “It’s because the collected version of any given comic is now “virtually guaranteed” to come out right away. This completely kills any back issue demand.”

    If by “any given comic” you mean “any comic that’s part of a major story arc for one of DC or Marvel’s flagship characters, part of a crossover/event from Marvel or DC, part of a creator-driven or licensed series aimed at the bookstore/library market from Vertigo/Icon/Image/Dark Horse/IDW”. Because for anything else, there’s nothing close to a guarantee of a collected edition. If it’s solicited on a page with green trim, it’s almost guaranteed not to be collected. And ironically, there’s even less chance of those being ordered in quantities large enough for there to be any back issues left over (i.e. 1 more than preordered). I haven’t bought (or even looked for) a back issue of a comic book in years… because there’s no such thing to be found anymore.

    I don’t blame retailers (at least not primarily) for this state of affairs. Obviously the market is weak and every book that goes into a bag in the longboxes is probably lost money. But don’t try to lay the blame solely at the feat of the publishers. The ongoing death of the back-issue market is a vicious circle in which both collection-rushing publishers, and risk-averse cash-flow-conscious retailers have played a part.

  25. Milton Zalberwitz says:

    One time I tried to buy All-Star Western #1 but then my concussion healed.

  26. The easiest solution is that if you want something, pre-order. You help not only yourself (no reason to drive to multiple shops searching for something) but you also provide the shop with stability in their ordering.
    Or you could be a jackanape, tell the shop nothing and let them have to guess what tey need to order to fill demand, and then bitch about it when you go in and they are out of something.

  27. I don’t understand what’s so hard about pre-ordering. My LCS keeps a copy of the Diamond catalog on the counter. Once a month, I just scan the catalog quickly and write my name next to any title I’m interested in that isn’t already on my pull list. That’s all it takes, 15-20 minutes a month, tops. The other 3-4 Wednesdays that month, I just show up, he hands me my comics and that’s that.

    If your LCS doesn’t keep a copy of the catalogue on the counter, just ask them for it.

  28. I don’t blame retailers at ALL — it’s the market. And I know about the pre-ordering, it’s just a personal thing — last grasp of nostalgia and all that. I have been forced to do a file now and it feels too much like a drug drop.

  29. Any store that “requires” you to have a pull for anything even remotely in the Top 100, during the first 72 hours (because, y’know, each store’s Top 100 is a little different from their brothers) is not a proper retail business in the first place.

    There are scores of comics I do a shitty job of stocking (because, guess what? TOO MANY COMICS), but they’re not Top 100 books.

    Once you start getting out of the “top” books, there’s a certain amount of customer need as well — FLASH GORDON #2 might not be on any store’s racks any longer, but there’s not a single store in America that can’t order OCT110981 from Diamond RIGHT THIS MOMENT (I just checked), and, I’d put it to you, there’s tremendous few who wouldn’t, if asked by a regular customer.

    Not every physical object is in stock every where at every time, but, y’know, sometimes you have to say “Can you get?” and let the system work the way it is designed to.

    -B

  30. Greg Pharis says:

    This is my 40th year as a comics retailer in San Diego. My customers understand the system and are fantastic.With all the available info about our industry, I’m surprised so many customers are so out of touch. The uninitiated customers don’t get it (or they don’t care, well, until there are no more comic shops left). It’s called NO RETURNS people! Retailers are going to be conservative (especially with cover prices as they are today), because they eat it if they don’t sell it. Give us returns and watch us order. It’s time for the customers to pony-up and help the retailers know what they want (and not after it has been released). Preview’s is always what ships in 2 months. C’mon are’nt we all in this together. It’s pretty much self-absorbtion when a customer (Aaron) says the
    shop is to blame if his/her comics aren’t there all the time. Do we want this hobby to survive? Cuz, I’ll tell you it won’t if it comes to nothing but trades and digital.

  31. Dennis V. says:

    Sigh… more typical bashing of comic book stores. My local comic book store is great by the way!

  32. Aaron Poehler:

    Wouldn’t the easiest way to solve your problem be to get a sub box at the comic store you like the most?

    While I realize you may still have to look around for stuff you weren’t sure about buying and want to check out first, if your problem is you can’t get Batman (not you specifically obviously, using the above statement), that means get a sub box to make sure you’ll have one waiting for you.

  33. jonboy says:

    Not only will having a pull list help, but, ask the store manager if (or more likely when) they will get more in stock. Many times (most times) a title sells quickly due to higher than expected demand, the store manager is taking note of the higher sales and is doing a reorder. And these reorders will arrive the following week.

    Remember, stores have to do their orders 3 months previous, and when the publishers do something crazy (like kill off Captain America), then the stores are most likely caught completely unprepared. So the best a store can do is make a reorder as soon as possible on Wednesday.

  34. Seth Hollander says:

    There seems to be an anti-pullbox crowd among us comic purchasers. I would like to see an article on here that coallates anti-pullboxers’ rationales for their position. All I’ve gleaned so far about them is that they want “it to be like when I was a kid” (paraphrase) or “it’s not the job of the customer” (actual quote). I understand both those reasons, but feel that they are rather quixotic in the current Direct Market/LCS paradigm (no returns, narrow profit margins, high operating costs).
    I’m with Greg Pharis and his comment above. My participation in this “hobby” is made possible by the pullbox (my job precludes hitting the shop on Wednesdays) and my LCS’s existence is made financially possible by pullbox customers.
    I’d like to know more about why the anti-pullboxers hold their position, one that I fear will bring Ragnorak to my happy comics world!

  35. Seth, well I’m hardly a comics purchaser, but if I were I would be firmly anti-pullbox. As part of my job to go through Previews (every month or so) usually at a staff meeting. We usually lose focus about half the way through and devolve into arguing who’s stronger, Binky Brown or Buster Brown.

    The ide of the survival of any other medium being contingent upon the main consumers ability to order the product from a 300+ page catalog aimed at the very retailers who sell them the product is frankly…absurd.

    BTW this is not an anti-retailer screed. I’m well aware that this strange, ritualistic system developed because of the razor thin profit margins at the stores. What is a little strange is that retailers who purchase direct has basically passed that system on to the consumer.

    It’s plain that the only thing that could break the chain is limited returnability — something far too expensive for most comics publishers, although one has to applaud DC for their efforts in that direction recently.

  36. patrick ford says:

    The guy who ran the comic book shop where I used to purchase comics (it’s now out of business) probably survived as long as he did because he relied on pull lists. Over the years several shops in the area tried offering a broad selection, including alternative material, but none of them lasted more than a few years before going under. Almost everything I ordered from him was the only copy he ordered. Even back in the late ’80s early ’90s he never once racked a copy of something like RAW or LOVE AND ROCKETS. I asked him more than once why he wouldn’t at least try racking something like RAW, and he told me it was because I was the only person he’d ever heard mention it.
    On the other hand he did periodically sell me comics, by bringing things to my attention. He knew I like Richard Corben, Mike Kaluta, and a few other “mainstream” artists, and he would always bring it to my attention if they had a book coming out, something I never would have noticed on my own since I never looked at the “mainstream” listings.

  37. The number of variables that affect whether a comic is in stock at a given comic shop is mind-boggling.

    Retailers can only affect one of them: What we order.

    Damages and shortages are beyond our control. Sudden influxes of new or transient customers are beyond our control. If something hits the news feeds and demand soars, if the cover art resonates with customers more than expected, if an issue is an unannounced part of a crossover, those are all beyond our control.

    Since we can only control our orders, when you know you want something ahead of time, let us know.

  38. Why is it we never see articles about people going from shop to shop seeing the same stacks of unsold comics retailers ordered too many of?

  39. Well, Going to the comic shop is part of the experience. I spend less than 10 minutes in Midtown, but I enjoy seeing the various people that go there. If I go on Wednesday when they open, you see kids going to school ( they open at 8) and guys in suits going to work. If you go later you see lots of tourists. Kids from different countries dragging their parents up to the store. Its great.
    I’m Lucky..living in New York and going to Midtown I don’t worry about a book selling out. I do hate that Marvel has so many X-men and Avenger books out that its hard to find just the one I buy. They get swallowed up by the X pollution on the shelves.

  40. I find it sad the most common solution being presented, but not surprised, by the retailer is to get a pull list at the store. I respect the need for them to leverage their risk but they are cutting their own throats over time in the on-demand now society we live in, thus the likely victory of digital at some point in the future.

    If you are trying to grow a market I don’t seriously think you can’t expect the average person to leverage the store’s buying risk against their expermentation of the comic market.

  41. Jason says:

    If you are trying to grow a market I don’t seriously think you CAN expect the average person to leverage the store’s buying risk against their expermentation of the comic market.

  42. Guilty as charged!

    Between distributor shortages (boo!) & 12 new pull lists last week alone (yay!) my new arrival rack seriously took a beating.

    Mister Allen is well aware that aside from any distributor issues San Francisco recently had two store closures & the at least here at the Isotope we’ve had to hustle hard to try to keep up with the unexpected increased demand. Mister Allen is *also* aware that more copies of said books were arriving the very next day from distributor shortages and also last-minute order increases. But I suppose that’s not a very exciting article, is it?

    As Todd knows, I’m on my third *huge* wave of new subscribers since fall, I suspect my most recent is due in no small part to increased interest in new releases from Image Comics (thanks Image!)… if that means I have a day or two of thin shelves until things normalize again, hey, I’m thrilled to take it. In the meantime, Mister Allen is welcome to go to one of the 12 other San Francisco stores that may not be experiencing the same issue of “I just signed up a whole metric fuckton of new subscribers, again!” The city has an abundance of great shops.

    Thanks to all the Isotope customers and also to all of you fine new folks who are causing us this “problem” … YOU PEOPLE KICK ASS.

  43. Heidi, setting up a pull list doesn’t require going through Previews every month to see what you want. If you see something on the shelves that you started reading it’s as simple as saying “Can you add this to my pull list?” Done.

    I understand not everyone wants to do that, and that’s fine. The blame here is on both sides. Smart shops will look at trends for certain titles and determine whether or not they should be lowering or upping their orders on certain titles. Similarly, smart retailers will always keep popular and good selling books on the shelves for several weeks after they are on sale. With that being said, it’s hard sometimes to determine whether or not people will start reading a specific title all of a sudden or you may get an influx of new customers, etc. This all results in sell outs or less copies for other people.

    But don’t forget, a retailer’s main job is to sell out of their stock while keeping their customers happy. Ultimately, it is the retailer who takes the biggest chances on the comic industry and nobody else.

  44. Like Greg said, customers need to be more vocal about what they want but LCSs also need to interact with customers. My old LCS in the ’90s ordered seven copies of “JLA” #1 when it was solicited because they had sold six copies of the previous “Justice League America” series, and I was the only customer that told them I was interested in the new series. Shortly after that I started working there and really tried to inform customers of what was currently being solicited. Even just posting something as simple as “hey this is coming out and we think it’s cool – if you want it, let us know now.” Especially when graphic novels were just starting to take off and the owner was extremely hesitant about spending large sums of money on them. He decided to spend money on things like bobble head figures instead. And no, he’s not in business anymore.

  45. “The ide of the survival of any other medium being contingent upon the main consumers ability to order the product from a 300+ page catalog aimed at the very retailers who sell them the product is frankly…absurd.”

    Only about 3% of our pull list customers get a Previews.

  46. “If you see something on the shelves that you started reading it’s as simple as saying “Can you add this to my pull list?” Done.”

    Hardly.

    If you expect to be able to just follow one title and get a complete story, you’re fucked. You’ll be missing out on half the stories in books like DAREDEVIL, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY or BATMAN.

    In order to be able to follow those titles, Marvel and DC require you to read PREVIEWS religiously every single month, just to find (and preorder) whatever comics they chose to continue the story in. Titles like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, PUNISHER, NEW MUTANTS, THOR or NIGHTWING, to name but a few from the last six months.

    That’s the reason why I no longer read those books ALTHOUGH I LIKE THEM. Because (a) it’s too much of a hassle to find and identify the crossover issues that (b) probably won’t keep up the quality of the main title anyway. I don’t have the time or desire to ‘organize’ a complete story, three months in advance, every month. It’s not fun. It’s a supremely idiotic system.

    And I’m what would be considered a heavy user in any other storytelling medium, based on the number of comics I buy each month and how long I’ve been doing it. Imagine what all these hoops do to a casual reader.

    (Most creator-owned books are a relief in that regard, I hasten to add. I mean, you can just sit back and be safe the knowledge that issue #3 of FATALE will pick up where #2 left off, and it’ll be by the same people, and if you buy #4 you get yet another chronologically subsequent part of that story? That’s paradise. Such a victory of common sense in the comics world, these days. Whoever invented the system of subsequent numbering must’ve been, like, a genius or something.)

  47. I get my comics from Orbital in London. I do get there early. But they are generally brilliant. And when they are out, I have Gosh and Forbidden Planet.

    London isn;t bad.

    But… where are these comps you were talking about?

  48. Hey James and Brian — this piece was NOT meant as a dis to any particular store…more to just examine the system. It is, of course, common knowledge how important and influential both your stores are.

    Like I said, I would never order comics on a pull list. I did do that back in the day at my VERY FIRST COMIC SHOP, Quality Comics in Somerville, NJ. BUt if I missed a week I would end up with a giant stack of books I couldn’t afford on my meager allowance. And this severely affected the stores finances when a lot more people than me did it during one of the black Septembers.

    Later on I moved to Maine where there were only TWO comics shops and I had to pre order all my comics but could only pick them up once a month…or even less frequently. That REALLY sucked.

    I was very happy when I moved to LA and could get my comics every week at the Golden Apple. This was when there were TWO new comics days every week — Tuesday and Friday. Friday is the day I would go to the store but it wasn’t like camping outside Target for the new Jason Wu collection. I never got into the whole Wednesday mentality.

    Where I think Todd is dead on is that people who live in LA or NY are NOT subjected to the shortages that are a fact of life just about everywhere else. Throwing that into relief is valuable, I think.

    Also, Brian Jacoby:

    >>>>Why is it we never see articles about people going from shop to shop seeing the same stacks of unsold comics retailers ordered too many of?

    I would totally run that article. If anyone wants to report their monthly flops I’m all for it.

    I’m curious about the store closings in SF. Anyone have the low down on those?

  49. I might have transposed a month, but it broke down like this:

    Neon Monster closed on 10/31/2011
    Al’s Comics closed on 11/30/2011
    Caffeinated Comics closed on 12/31/2011

    So, the oldest store closing is about four months ago now. Neon and Caffeinated were in the three-years-old range, I think? Caffeinated was a combo cafe/store. I think in both of those cases, it really was an issue of “90% of all small businesses fail in the first five years” (aka: no plan survives contact with the enemy) and nothing to do with “comics” per se.

    Al’s was on his 24th year, IIRC, but he was just never able to make the new storefront work, I think in part, because of debt that he’d built at the old location, and was never able to escape.

    In the meantime, San Francisco has ADDED one entirely new store, as well — Two Cats in West Portal. One of the partners is Christian, who managed Things From Another World in the Metreon before that store collapsed, so he knows the business well. I think they’ll do just fine.

    Our business is booming, but I attribute virtually none of it to the unfortunate loss of stores in the 4th quarter of ’11 — it’s entirely about that we’re seeing more comics (specifically a god chunk of Image’s line, and portions of New 52) that a wide range of people are actually interested in buying. It ALWAYS comes down to the product.

    -B

  50. Al™ says:

    I combine a pull list with an update through Previews and Comic Shop News.
    Then I walk into the comic store to see what’s for sale. Nothing is for sale?

    Yes, I understand that retailers get stuck with unsaleable comics if they order too many.

    But back to Heidi’s original point of standing in line to get a copy of Batman before it sells out on Wednesday: I sometimes need to scour my city to find the new issue of Animal Man the day it is released. Sure, I can preorder it, but jeepers, can’t I have a look at the more popular books before I buy them? What if I don’t like the fill-in issue? That’s now MY risk?? Uh huh.

    This is where digital is going to rule:
    the comics do not sell out, and there is no risk to the seller of getting stuck with unsold comics.

  51. Is it common for issues to be so sold out? I go to Comix Revolution, and it had three copies left of The Goon 38 this week (39 is out next week). The only time I was even close was when they only had one copy left of Peter Panzerfaust #1.

    Although, this week, someone asked for nu52 Swamp Thing, and they were sold out.

  52. No harm, no foul, Heidi. While Mister Allen could have disclosed more and went a less tabloid route, I don’t consider it a hit piece.

    As you no doubt already read, I agree with Mister Hibbs. While I attribute the last two waves of new customers since fall to some SF shop closings, it’s quite clear we have so many new subscribers this month because of all the great new funnybook reads on the stands. Tons of Image books! I’d absolutely prefer to have more steady growth but “hard to keep up with so much new business” are fun kind of problems to have (laugh)!

    My apologies for Greg Rucka for not being able to sell his week’s new books 24 hours. And thank you to the Isotope customers, nouveau and classic, for keeping us so busy. XOXOX

  53. Greg Pharis says:

    I’m curious. How many retailers out there basically sell only new product and comics?
    I ask because I want to know how you make it? I sell a lot of back-issues (all decades). I wouldn’t have made it so long had I sold only new material. Though I have more than one reason for doing so, there is one that rises above all the rest.
    If I sell only new comics there are no income surprises. Since all new product is discounted depending on what and how many I order. I can quickly figure the maximum amount I will make if I sell completely out.
    So, no possible good surprise. If I buy a box of old comics for $100 and once I process them I discover I will make $1500. Well, that’s a happy surprise, and that additional income might just help me that month. I realize that carrying a lot of back-issues is a method of the traditional comic shop. The kind that retailers started in the 70’s and 80’s. This leads to my second question. What happened? How did we get away from being those kinds of comic shops? I can’t see how the comic book hobby can exist without having both new and old comics. The history and continuity runs too deep.

  54. It is kind of sad he can’t go to one store to get the books he wants.

    When I owned a store I had to make t my profit off the new books. I did have a pull list also for customers, but i made sure I had enough for the walk-ins.

    Back issues just sat there. It was gravy if any sold.

  55. Yep, all reasons why I don’t have no scrip! Also, I’m picky. I still use the flip test I used as a kid. If it doesn’t have some wow moments on the flipthrough, I won’t grab it. Take heed, Fellow Creatorial People!

  56. The reason you can’t be tied down by one store is that when you want the books, you WANT the books! Many times, I’ve been told they can reorder it for me. It will be in in three weeks. I don’t have any interest in waiting three weeks, I go to the other store that has a copy and rock out! If you run out of the comic I want, YOU LOSE MY MONEY. That’s it!

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