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Sunday, 7 February 2016

More Comic Shops Need To Close Down -And I Am NOT Joking

Remember the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption?  I think 2010 was my last year going into a comic shop, too. 

Anyway, comic shops began to panic because their Marvels and DCs (their Image and that other company) comics were not getting to the UK.  But did the shops try to push back issues or graphic novels that they had so many of because they ordered out of stupidity and greed? 

No.

They panicked.  As far as they were concerned they HAD to have new comics on the shelves because what else could they put on their comic shelves (let's not be too hard on them because a lot of these people are just stupid through greed)?

In the UK Diamond has a monopoly on comic distribution. If you were around in the 1980s and knew a lot of the shop holders back then you will know how they got that monopoly thanks to Titan Distributors.  From 4-5 distributors we went to one.  A monopoly.  But business monopolies in the UK are far from legal.  Here, read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_competition_law

But do shop owners complain when, if they did, a new distributor might set up competition and offer them lower prices?  No, because they are scared of Diamond and they don't know much about business other than that they can inflate comic prices to get their money back.

But in 2010 Diamond had a panic. No comics to distribute and there was talk that another distributor (I know who) had access to the latest US comics and was starting to offer them to shops. The shops all acted like scarede kids because "What if Diamond finds out?" -that was said to my face three times by shop owners.

So, Diamond thought "Independent comics -they saved us all before!" Which is what the "Black and White Explosion" of the 1980s did along with US companies recruiting UK creators. "Now's your chance to get on comic shop shelves!" they declared -and comic shops had to bite the bullet.

I asked Diamond how many copies per month of titles they would need?  What the special deal was" and so on.

"We only want the books until we can get our usual stock in" I was told.  As were several other Indie publishers. The deal?  Over 75% of the book cover price -and the publisher paid to get the books to Diamond so....publishers had to give their books for free...now you know why those shelves remained empty until the US imports started arriving.

But Indie publishers who did supply comic shops turned up to find their books no longer on the shelf. Most were dumped into boxes waiting for them to collect and some were turn, badly creased or even had coffee stains (?!) on them.  "We did say we took no responsibility for damages" was a phrase used a lot. Three years later one publisher who was owed £20 (just £20 -$40) gave up trying to get his money.

Back in the 1980s with Preview Comic I lost £50 from the sales of issues 1-5 because Forbidden Planet in London "can't read the signature on the invoice?" and other insulting con-man remarks.  £50 back then was a lot of money and would have meant continued publication.

But comic shop owners are "okay" and "their mates" -what I used to think. Remember I supported one shop and was banned (I still have all the emails) because I purchased an Independent comic they told me for months they could not get so I told the owner I'd track it down online. Two weeks later the owner (I saw him) hid at the top of the shop stairs as one of his staff verbally abused me because I bought the comic they now had (after months of saying it was impossible to get so go online). The temptation was to floor the little fecker being rude but I just said loudly "You hide up there while one of your staff rudely insults someone who has promoted and supported your business since day one?" then I walked out (the boss was very brave later in his email).

Like the guy in the last video posted says, most of the people are shit.  Morons.  Rather than build a strong comic shop industry embracing all genres and publishers like they used to up to the late 1980s, they prefer decline with Marvel, DC, Image or that other company.

Decent, honest shop owners are very rare today and how long have they been trading -most are almost dealing with their comic shops as an extension of their hobby not a real business.

Personally, I think we need less and less comic shops.  More need to go out of business, and they will be, because if they are SCARED of their distributor who cannot survive without them, and will not diversify, they deserve to go. "Where are people going to get their comics then?" If you are really asking that question then YOU need to go, too!

9 comments:

  1. We need to get back to grotty old comic shops with boxes of back issues, new comics and so on. Action figures? Only occasionally. Look at Forbidden Planet -everything that is wrong with a comic store....oops...I mean "Specialist chain selling cult sci-fi books, comics and collectibles, plus action figures and toys". I have enough comics to open a small shop BUT you need the money for the shop! Get rid of the DC/Marvel fans who run the shops and get in all-rounders.

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  2. I miss the old grotty comic shops but times and people’s expectations have changed . Can you imagine any 12 year old going into a 70s/80s style comic shop nowadays (I can’t even see them attempting to track the shop down as it would not be on the main streets selling predominately comics) they’d be outraged by the lack of glitz (the precious little pups). Kids by and large only see comics as extensions to computers games, cards, sweets, toys and films rather than the source material of all that stuff and comics are probably only a secondary interest as would any indie titles (if that). The issue is how do you get kids interested in indie titles without toys and films attached. Forbidden Planet (and Waterstones) are not al that bad the store in Glasgow sells quite a few Scottish / UK national indie comics (as does “A1 Toys and Comics”) and good collections of old books and publishers apart from DC/Marvel . To paraphrase you for me “the traditional comic store industry is dead”

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    1. I just found out that even the building that housed and ignited my dreams when I was at college has vanished. I am asking around just to see if any photographs exist of Globe Fantasy, St. Margaret's Green, Ipswich. as it was in the late seventies. I wish I had taken one. Should have done, I should have done it.

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  3. Central City Comics in Eagle St., Bury St Edmunds is what became of Global; Fantasy -still same owner I'm told so may have a photo?

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    1. Central City Comics in Eagle Street, Ipswich is run by my old Rob Last and I have e-mailed him in hopes of a possible photograph. may ring just to have a conversation as we like to chat about art and comics. He told me just last week that he has done a six-pager for a company, just to see if he could do it and was pleased with the result. he said non-paying, but it was nice to have done it. Rob is very good with a brush and black and white. Dave Wright was in charge of Globe Fantasy back in the seventies and would share counter responsibilities with one other, Steve - although it's so long ago, my recall of his last name has gone. I used to go there and discover the latest Eisner strips and when I first collected the Warren, then Kitchen Sink Spirit magazines. The shop had a big front window, with colourful, some fading showpieces which took up most of the front 'room' of the property, a back room up a couple of steps was centrally full of a large table with boxes of comics back issues with the surrounding walls full of shelves with outward facing new titles. Dave or Steve sat at a far corner table diagonally opposite to the entrance to this small square Pandora's box next to a door which led to a small back kitchen. Records would play and it was there that I first heard Hitchhiker's Guide. I learnt more about art and different art styles there than I ever did at Ipswich Art College.

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    2. Old friend Rob Last. Apologies Rob, since he is slightly younger than myself. Oops.

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    3. Have sent you some photos and 1979 EADT article from Rob Last.

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