Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Week: Another Shortage

There is some good news here at Comics Fairplay. Comics were on time. I got the Black Canary/Green Arrow Wedding special and Captain America #30 like clockwork. Almost all my other comics were there too, except for World War Hulk #4.

My retailer was shorted seven copies of the book so she was three short for files, including mine. Jim got his copy, but I didn't get one as she was trying to spread them around. The Diamond invoice billed them for 22 copies, but they only got 15. This means I will not be reading World War Hulk #4 this week.

It isn't a major deal, but it is just another example of the "same old crap" that I have come to expect on a weekly basis.

The good news is that I got the Black Canary/Green Arrow "'Til Death Do Us Part" trade paperback and it looks excellent. That will help compensate for the WW Hulk shortage. I can expect my copy next week.

Interestingly, I have read the Wedding Special twice because I keep trying to figure out what it is I feel is missing. It just doesn't feel right to me. It seemed rushed and choppy. I give points to Amanda Conner for her art, but otherwise am underwhelmed. At this point in time, I am convinced that this whole wedding thing is just another plot device in DC's "countdown" to final crisis. The poster for Countdown and the way this played out are telling signs of this.

At any rate, I am going to go sit and relax now and enjoy the books I did get. I have my health and a pretty decent life, so if the worst thing that happened is not getting a comic book, I will be okay. The fangirl in me is a bit uppity, but I am going to medicate her with adult beverages this weekend.

Have a nice night!


Eaglewing said...

No Hulk = Heidi Smash! (Just kidding :) That's too bad about the shortage, but at least you've got some good books and adult beverages to enjoy. I don't know what isn't right with the Wedding Special either, but then I haven't read it :) I'm reading my Punisher hardcovers and a new novel - Dope by Sara Gran. Not bad, so far. Enjoy your relaxation reading.

Nick said...

Is it just me or is Diamond seemingly screwing over retailer stores a lot lately.

Lisa said...

That's a pretty tight order if they don't have any kind of extras for the shelf or pulls with only a seven-issue shortage. For such a popular series that doesn't make much sense to me.

At our store pulls always get priority. If we end up with 5 pulls and only order 5 issues of something, our pulls get them and then we try to reorder more for the shelf for the next week.

But at least the shippment arrived!!

James Meeley said...

That's a pretty tight order if they don't have any kind of extras for the shelf or pulls with only a seven-issue shortage. For such a popular series that doesn't make much sense to me.


Remember when I told you all the different products they carry? Well, doing that means they don't have very much focus on any one area (at least, not until there is money in front of them). They don't really do anything to promote the comics side of the business... at all. They fail to order any shlef copies of books on the basis of "it doesn't sell well." Of course, when you are doing virtually nothing to promote the works, how can you expect any different.

When I worked there, I not only did a weekly "hot pick of the week" from the new stuff, I rotated the entire stock of the back issues and pushed to get them to do a quarterly "Comic Appreciation Nite", where we basically had a raffle and trivia contest for prizes, offered discounts on back issue and trades, brought in free food (usually pizza) and tried to get the comic reading community in town to seem more of a fun place to be. After I left, there hasn't been one since. I think that tells you all you need to know right there.

They never order shelf copies for ANYTHING, unless it is a new series (and if issue #1 doesn't sell well right out of the gate, orders will be cut way back) or for quntified sellers (like Batman or Amazing Spider-Man). Smaller selling books never get a chance to grow here and even some books, like World War Hulk, only get enough shelf copies to hopefully last through the day. They like having something sell out and then try to get more, than to order more and have to push the product themselves.

Like I said, if they weren't an ingrained part of this community (they've been around for over 35 years), I might have made a play to start my own shop here. But the fan base is fickle and has no real loyalty. I know I would crash and burn, because I'd be relying on the comic market almost entirely for my income, while they have a multitude of different product to absorb the dent my shop would make in their comic sales. I often wish that they'd give up doing comics, so someone who really wanted to do them right might have a chance to do them right. But that's never going to happen.

Just one more reason why I want to get Heidi and myself out of this town....

Lisa said...

James - ordinarily I agree with you. But this time I've just got to disagree. Yakima is slightly larger than Waukesha, where our store is. I have a hard time believing that a REAL comic book store could not compete with your current shop. From everything I've read from you and Heidi about the way they run the place, and from what I know about your passion and knowledge of comics, I just don't believe that you couldn't have a successful store. Those that shop at that local store probably show signs of being "fickle" because they've been undeserved by the current store. We went up against a store that had been in town for 10+ years, and he is now out of business. He wasn't properly serving his customers and they left. Plus, once non-comic readers came into a quality store with quality staff who love comics, many of them got into comics as well and have grown into regular shoppers here at Neptune. Clearly there is an interest in comics from some in the area, since that store does carry them and probably wouldn't bother if there weren't buyers. It wouldn't be easy, but I just don't accept that you'd fail. And you probably wouldn't do much harm to that store you go to now, because they carry so much other stuff they'd just cut way back on comics as people left to buy from a REAL store and they'd stock other things instead. Seriously - think about how you and Heidi feel about that store and the way it's run and how well or poorly they cater to comic book readers. You are NOT alone in that feeling, I can guarantee that. And all of those that share your frustrations would leave in an instant if there was a better option. It doesn't happen overnight, but with hard work and passion and a belief that you really ARE the best store and lots of grass-roots marketing, I think that you could have a great store out there. You could set up near a school and carry some manga and graphic novels along with a decent selection of comics - and while you won't become a millionaire (well, if you do I'm coming out there to learn how you did it) but you could make a decent living and own a great store.

Of course, if you want to move out to Wisconsin in a couple of years and run a store with us, I won't stop you. We've had an analysis done and this area is STILL largely undeserved for comics.

Lisa said...

Oh - one more thing.

I was reminded of this at the retailer summit... You wouldn't even be competing with the other store, as they sell COLLECTIBLES. New comics and graphic novels are ENTERTAINMENT. They compete against other entertainment like video games and movies for people's money. Let your current store keep catering to the collectible market and you could cater to the entertainment market.

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, you have me pegged! I was not a happy girl. Thank God for the rest of the books and adult beverages!

You are reading good stuff... I may have to pick up the book!}

Take care!

Heidi Meeley said...

Nick, I am starting to wonder. It seems like an epidemic!

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, I think you make very valid points. Jim and I have been struggling with wanting to open a shop for quite sometime. Unfortunately, most of the fault is mine. Financially and because of some other short term situations, I haven't felt like we can take that step. It is frustrating for Jim, and it makes me feel crappy that I can't support him in the endeavor the way he needs to be.

That being said, I think we could capture the business. We had a friend try and do it, but he burned out. The owner of the "big diverse" shop always likes to fight the little guy, and he made it tough. We would need to have an angle and be ready to do battle. We would probably look to you for advice.

Opening a shop is a dream of ours. Hopefully someday it will come true and we can get past the weekly frustrations. God knows watching you has been an inspiration. I think I want to be you when I grow up!! Seriously. :-)

Thank you for your honesty on this. I appreciate it and hope to talk more.

Greg said...

You know what's missing from the GA/BC Wedding Special? A good writer!

Heidi Meeley said...

Greg, now you made me laugh!! Good point.