Coronavirus and Comic Stores

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nycjadie
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Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by nycjadie »

Many stores are shut or shutting around the world due to quarantines and the fact that they aren't an essential business.

Diamond has announced closure until further notice (presumably through April).

But comic stores still have to pay rent, salaries, invoices, etc., and I don't think many are doing well enough that they can shut down for two months unscathed.

It's not just comic stores, but the businesses in my neighborhood that I rely on not just for services, but also social interaction. Some are already throwing in the towel, and we aren't even halfway through this thing. The butcher, the vegetable stand, the wine store (might permanently close), the Mexican grocer (permanently closed), the newsstand (permanently closed). The many restaurants I go to, one closed this month permanently. I am expecting many more, and I feel for all the waitstaff that work there that I know by name.

I'm feeling really down about what the world will look like at the end of the summer. Big tech will get bigger, and I don't think that's good. Government will get bigger. Businesses will close and people will move closer to family. People will leave cities for smaller and cheaper places.

Still, I'm optimistic. I think at the end of this year we will see thousands and thousands of people opening new businesses in new vibrant ways. They will be online. They will be in trailers and mobile homes. They will be scrappy, and show ingenuity.

I started my law firm in September of last year. It's virtual. I hit the ground running last year, and I've never been busier. I just made my first FT hire this week, and I have someone PT as well. There was virtually no change in the way I worked from a month ago. I had this idea of how I thought a law firm should and could work that gave people more time with their families, allowed them to live wherever they wanted, and still provide fun and challenging work. My clients get top notch experience, and competitive rates, even if sometimes they can hear my kids in the background. So far, my scrappy experiment has worked, and it's been a really fun ride. I'm hoping there are more than a few scrappy experiments that we see at the end of this tunnel.

Maybe even one of them is a Bad Idea.

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GGSAE
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by GGSAE »

Great post Steve,

Sadly a lot of the local service-related businesses will close, but I am interested to see what kind of innovations come from this environment.

Just the other day I was said, I wonder what business ideas people will come up with.

If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer!


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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by greg »

GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:39:39 am
If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer! Image
Clippers with the standard numbered attachments work great if you can live with short (or no) hair.

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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by nonplayer »

Cell phones and computers TVs we already were social distancing.
What will a furthur social distancing society look like.
On the other end of this do you think people will just continue.
Pretty good idea goverment will be happy nobody to stand up and protest
I Miss Dinesh running Valiant

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GGSAE
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by GGSAE »

greg wrote:
GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:39:39 am
If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer! Image
Clippers with the standard numbered attachments work great if you can live with short (or no) hair.
Ahhh a business idea to retain most of my hair....


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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by greg »

GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:21:38 pm
greg wrote:
GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:39:39 am
If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer! Image
Clippers with the standard numbered attachments work great if you can live with short (or no) hair.
Ahhh a business idea to retain most of my hair....
Lots of choices on YouTube... here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L995UPBWzcw

Plus, plenty of time to practice (if you mess up) since social distancing can keep you from seeing anyone you know (or just wear a hat).

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nycjadie
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by nycjadie »

Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics sent this message via email:

New Comics Distribution Ends
Howdy!

Our world of comics profoundly changed today, perhaps forever. For the first time in my memory, all shipping of new comics has ended. We received that information in a letter from Diamond Distributing yesterday, in which they announced that whatever comics that they received from publishers this week would be held at their main warehouse, at least until the Coronavirus pandemic subsided enough for a critical mass of comics shops to reopen.

Were this temporary publishing shutdown taking place in a vibrant and healthy market, I would have no concerns. Modern comics publishing is, however, an 87 year-old business (born in 1933), that has been in failing health for years. If even 20% of the comics shops in America cannot reopen after the pandemic restrictions are lifted, I doubt that we will see a revival. Simply put, both AT&T (Time/Warner’s (DC comic) new parent company) and Disney (Marvel’s parent company) are in dangerous financial stress right now. Expecting them to allocate precious resources to restoring print publishing is simply not logical. Maintaining intellectual property rights might have (barely) justified their decisions to continue to issue paper comics on a monthly basis up to now, but the vast financial losses currently being absorbed by those two media giants are going to require severe cost-cutting if they are to survive as ongoing enterprises. Sadly, keeping comic book publishing alive may well rank among the least of their concerns.

Truth be told, I have been anticipating this eventuality for over a decade. Our company’s steady retreat from having eight stores in Colorado and California, to only operating our gigantic Jason St. Mega-Store and our online website, reflected my determined efforts to insulate us from the impending demise of the new comics market. Whereas we were once one of the largest new comics accounts in America, we have since reduced new comics to less than 20% of our gross revenues, and pretty much zero as regards our earnings.

To be clear, during our strategic retreat we have continued to faithfully serve all of our existing new comics clients, but out of an abundance of caution have not sought to add any new clients. Instead, we have invested huge sums of our precious working capital into purchasing vast quantities of back issue comics, graphic novels, toys, statues, and other pop culture merchandise. In effect, we converted our entire business into a “pop culture repurposing center,” with our core business now being focused on helping to facilitate secondary market redistribution’s between fans in dire need of financial assistance, and fans who still have the means to avidly collect that which brings them joy.

Our new enterprise is most certainly not a business model that will ever make us rich, but it sure does make a lot of people happy. In all honesty, at this stage in my career, that is all that I truly seek. It also allows us some measure of funding to continue to advocate for those comics and graphic novel publishers who do survive this shutdown, both in print, and online. If that number declines significantly over the next few months, I will most certainly not be happy, but I will also be not at all surprised. Nonetheless, Mile High Comics will still be here when that new dawn breaks, and we will continue to help all of those that we possibly can in our beloved comics world to get back up, and to keep going. Love is love.

I will close today’s melancholy newsletter by mentioning that a “shelter in place” order that was announced yesterday by the City of Denver which is forcing our Jason St. Mega-Store to close today at 5 PM, for an indefinite period. The one bit of good news in all this unhappiness is that we are still being allowed under the current quarantine rules to keep fulfilling our online orders for people who are trapped in their homes during the pandemic. Aside from volunteering with “Feeding Denver's Hungry” over the next few weeks, I will be working with about six volunteers from my beloved Mile High Comics staff to keep shipping out orders for you. Our 65% off VIRUS! codeword remains in effect for you in most of our back issues, and all of our books are currently still available to you at half price. Please do allow a little extra time for shipping, however, as we are seeing an onslaught of orders from fans with plenty of time in their hands to organize their collections.

Be safe!

Chuck Rozanski/Bettie Pages,
President - Mile High Comics, Inc.
March 24, 2020

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nycjadie
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by nycjadie »

It's a self-serving message, but I have no doubt he knows what he's talking about and has been predicting the end of comic publishing as we know it.

I was in his store not quite 2 years ago. Hardly any new comics at all.

I think he started to see the end with him pulling out of comic con, albeit a bit dramatically.

People, however, still buy old comics. I do, and probably will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

If comic shops close, I will lose a weekly social ritual that I've had since I was a kid. That would be sad, and I doubt any of us thought a virus would be the thing to tip is close to the edge.

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GGSAE
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by GGSAE »

greg wrote:
GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:21:38 pm
greg wrote:
GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:39:39 am
If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer! Image
Clippers with the standard numbered attachments work great if you can live with short (or no) hair.
Ahhh a business idea to retain most of my hair....
Lots of choices on YouTube... here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L995UPBWzcw

Plus, plenty of time to practice (if you mess up) since social distancing can keep you from seeing anyone you know (or just wear a hat).
My hair is important to me, I don’t really want to go through the practice learning curve. Thanks anyway Greg Image


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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by IMJ »

greg wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:45:38 am
GGSAE wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:39:39 am
If you can think of one that’s a substitute for getting a haircut at a barbershop I’ll be your first customer! Image
Clippers with the standard numbered attachments work great if you can live with short (or no) hair.
Nah, I've never liked the shape of my head. I don't have that great, symmetrical Jason Statham head. I've got a sort of conehead at the top, but without the cone. Like the crystal skull from Indiana Jones. See, but hair hides it. So no clippers for me. I guess it's going to be the mullet I never had then.....

Ironman John and the Kingdom of the Coronoavirus Mullet

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GGSAE
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by GGSAE »

I didn’t read that whole long rant, but I did catch this line ‘fans in need of financial assistance’, meaning ripping sellers off who are desperate for money!


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GGSAE
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Re: Coronavirus and Comic Stores

Post by GGSAE »

nycjadie wrote:It's a self-serving message, but I have no doubt he knows what he's talking about and has been predicting the end of comic publishing as we know it.

I was in his store not quite 2 years ago. Hardly any new comics at all.

I think he started to see the end with him pulling out of comic con, albeit a bit dramatically.

People, however, still buy old comics. I do, and probably will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

If comic shops close, I will lose a weekly social ritual that I've had since I was a kid. That would be sad, and I doubt any of us thought a virus would be the thing to tip is close to the edge.
I think there will always be a need for comic shops, or some type of collectible shop that caters to readers. From setting up at shows, one thing I’ve found is that you need to have books marketable to readers. Readers want to be able to have a complete series, or reading arc, or pretty damn close to a reading arc and many of them are less picky on condition and won’t pay that premium for NM books. Also, a lot of these readers will be priced out if there happens to be keys in a run, so you need to sell that lot with the key in it. Those readers more often than not will just go after the trades...


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