Saturday, December 30, 2006

Just to show that I can never be satisfied, this is going to be a record month, just beating out August of this year. Yet, I'm a little disappointed. Our comic sales are flat right now, while just about everything else is way up.

Every Christmas my regular comic customers pull a bit of a disappearing act, while they shop for family. (Hey, you can shop here! I say, and I can see in their faces that they are thinking, No, this is MY shop; my family has nothing to do with it.....) Normally, out-of-towners buy enough comics to make up the difference, but not this year. Why?

Late comics.

Late comics were a big part of the collapse of the comic biz back in the mid-90's. If interest in waning, lateness is just the nail in the coffin. We built back from those days, by creating great comics and selling them on the basis of the art and story, instead of on the 'speculative' urge. Graphic novels (I include comic collections in tradepaperback in that term) became a bigger and bigger part of my business, until they are nearly half of my graphics sales. Movies started to give us a bit of credibility, not just in the superhero realm, but in the mainstream.

But we've started to drift into bad habits. Huge crossover events which always start out with a bang, but become harder and harder to maintain momentum. When lateness becomes part of the equation, we have a problem. I just cancelled three of my subscribers who were almost exclusively buying Marvel's big Civil War event.

I'm not worried, actually. We'll right this ship. The movie '300' is coming out and is going to be a big deal. SPIDER MAN (with that crowd favorite Venom) is coming out, of course, the FANTASTIC FOUR (with that crowd favorite Silver Surfer) is on the way and so on....Meanwhile, great comics are being produced. But for this season, at least, they dropped the ball.

To change the subject: Had a couple of young customers come in yesterday and say, "Are you going out of business?" "NO!" I say, "You're thinking of Gambit Games...."

I think this is the problem with talking about downtown and the rents and the tenants being forced out: my store becomes conflated, conjoined and comingled with those events, even though MY STORE IS DOING FINE!

I think that the problems Downtown can become OVERstated. Most businesses, after all, are still there and still doing business. Yes, the pressures are strong, but the foot-traffic downtown is to die for. I can remember looking out my door and thinking I could fire a cannon down the street and not hit anyone. What's going on today is much preferable.

No comments: