By c0l0nelp0pc0rn1 14 Comments
So comic shops are great and all, but they really aren't very welcoming to anyone who lives further than 10 miles away from them. You see if you want to follow comics in single issue format, you kind of have to be there every week. However, I can't do this because I'm not close to a local comic shop, (the closest one being 14 miles north of where I live) so I can't go there every week or even every month. Every time I do end up at a comic shop I feel overwhelmed by how much stuff I've been missing out on because the trade isn't out yet, (for instance, Flash, JMS's Superman, and the Batman Beyond mini) and I just end up feeling down when the guy with a pull list comes in and picks up his weekly books. It all ends up feeling very exclusionary whenever I go to a comic shop. Now, I'm not saying that the people have been unwelcoming to me or have acted like elitists in their socialite club, (heh, that's not really any comic book fan) but their kindness and enthusiasm when I ask them for help only deepens the sense of how far away from home this place really is.
So why do I feel excluded when I could just learn to drive, and pony up the gas money? Because, I feel that locking up all the cool comic books, action figures, T-shirts, Trades etc. in a comic shop really doesn't help comics as an industry to move forward. I'm not stupid, though, I'm not expecting Publix or Borders to start selling back issues or Macy's or Toys 'R' Us to start dedicating entire sections of their store to Iron Man or Green Lantern. I realize that the closing of comic shops would negatively impact (or even send out of business) the writers, artists, colorists, letterers, publishers, etc. Still, I think there are better ways to bring the product of comics to the people who want them on a weekly or monthly basis.
Internet stores like Things From Another World and Midtown Comics have done a great job (they're great comic shop pull list alternatives, don't ask me if they're profitable) with their "subscription" services. In fact, once I can support a hobby, I plan on using this alternative of having an internet pull-list where your comics come in the mail. Sure, you don't get the interaction or game nights of a brick-and-mortar, but wasn't that what the internet was invented for? So why don't more shops do this? Why aren't there more shops that simply forgo maintaining a retail space, and simply have a warehouse space full of comics? Now I know Midtown Comics and Things From Another World are big, multi-store chains of comic stores, but why bother with the retail stores if you can provide an ever better buying experience online. I want to know what you all think. I want to know, how can comic shops reach more people? I want to know, how can more people reach comic shops? Finally, I want to know, what can the comic industry do to stay afloat?