27 April 2005

Comment: Living the Dream...Vicariously

While much of the ever-expanding Comics Blogiverse is made up of wannabe writers - Grant Morrison sycophants praising his every bowel movement, and frustrated hacks full of shallow anti-Marvel/DC snark being the two largest demographics - there's another, much more interesting subculture to be found: aspiring comics retailers.

As much as I'd love to one day see my name credited as writer on a Moon Knight mini-series, I don't actually have any aspirations or intent to pursue that particular fantasy. I do, however, entertain the thought of opening my own store one day. Quite often, really.

Recently, I've come across a couple of blogs chronicling the efforts of hopeful entrepeneurs working towards achieving their dreams of opening their own comic shops. In addition, Newsarama has been running a recurring series of interviews with a duo from Muncie, IN, following them from just prior to their grand opening to, most recently, a three-month checkup. In each case, their tales are both entertaining and educational, and in some ways, inspiring.

The owners of Alter Ego have been refreshingly honest in their Newsarama interviews, offering specifics on how they started the business and how it's doing in general and in relation to their business plan, while maintaining a high-level of optimism about their prospects for the future. Most interesting are the unguarded comments that reveal the fanboyish elements of their otherwise solid approach to their shop, as well as the feedback each article has received from Newsarama members, a few of whom are current/former retailers themselves.

Over at a Comic Riot! draws near, Jason Richards alternates between chronicling his plans for his store and his search for the right location, to ideas for his own line of comics and reviews and commentary on random issues of the day. His future store's admirable manifesto and brilliant addendum/rant are so on-point that, should I ever open my own store, I'll be stealing them!

Finally, the future Big Monkey Comics (aka Otherworlds) is the latest entrant, chronicling JackM's nascent attempt at opening his own store in Richmond, VA along with some HeroClix fanfic. First he has to relocate his family from DC, though!

The one thing each of these chronicles have in common, besides being consistently good reads, is their enthusiasm, each one of them seemingly being sincere fans of the form looking to open their own stores purely out of love with no illusions of getting rich in the process. Their passion and drive is inspiring, and potentially contagious.

Additionally, there's some great blogs out there run by established comics retailers, including a couple of my favorites: Brian Hibbs' Savage Critic and Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin. For anyone entertaining the thought of opening their own comics shop, or those who find the process of doing so fascinating, all of these should be bookmarked in your browser and/or subscribed to via your RSS readers.


jason @ RIOT said...

thanks for the kind words (and the unexpected traffic). always good to know when your ideas mesh with the comic zeitgeist.

consider yourself bookmarked.

and keep an eye open...i might have a comic coming out around the same time the store opens. fingers crossed.

Ryan Murray said...

I want to open a comic store so that I have a place to display a whole bunch of bargain boxes. Man do I have a lot of crap that I just can't bring myself to give away. :)

Jason said...

The Richmond->DC guy is right on, good find Guy.

Wish he had more store, less fan-fic (nothing against his writing but the store story has some promise to it).

I think it resonates with me a bit more cause I'm from DC, trying to grow a DC comics community and this cat is fleeing to Richmond. Should be interesting.