Will the now wholly owned Beat be the last comics website to turn out the lights? Ya never know
There was some private social media conversation this week about Comics Bulletin sort of dwindling into the forest. I hadn’t been following the site’s workings since a snappy new staff and direction were announced last year, but I had noticed a drop off in the number of stories coming across my RSS feed (Yes, I still use RSS. A more streamlined replacement has not been found.) I see the excellent Daniel Elkin has moved his small press news column back to his own site, Your Chicken Enemy. Speaking of which, here’s a fine review of WHAT IS LEFT by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Bookmark, or follow or…I don’t know. Hit the link? How do you do this now?
Anyway I don’t know any more than that (I reached out to a few folks but got no response) but it should be noted that Comics Bulletin has been around for more than 20 years, a very solid comics resource, long run by Jason Sacks. Before that it was Silver Bullet Comics, run by Jason Brice, one of the earliest comics news/reviews sites out there. I don’t know if anyone named Jason is running the site now, but I hope the content is archived somewhere.
MEANWHILE, on a happier note, ComicMix is still around to change lightbulbs and everything! A few weeks ago the site’s founder Mike Gold sent a letter out to folks saying he was leaving, and there was a certain ominous overtone to the missive. However, I’m told it was just an evolution of sorts for both Gold and ComicMix, and the site is still going strong.
Gold expanded on his departure in a column, terming it “shuffling off to Buffalo.”
There are lots of reasons for my departure, the most significant of which is, quite frankly, I’ve been looking to leave for several years. Again, my short attention span: my professional mind wanders the same way my id does. When ComicMix chose to go in a different and largely unarticulated direction, I seized the opportunity to change my business url.
I shall be getting back to writing, and I will be expanding my podcast and publishing work. That’s what I do during those brief periods when I’m not being sarcastic. Maybe I’ll write that exposé about the comics industry; who knows?
He adds that Adriane Nash will be starting a new site called Pop Culture Squad.
ComicMix has dropped many of its columnists, but they have a new business development person on board, and their Planned Parenthood benefit comic, Mine! is coming out next year, so a lot going on.
Speaking of ComicMix, here’s Ed Catto interviewing Dan Gearino, the author of Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture.
EC: How would do you respond when someone says, “I’d like to open up a comic shop?”
DG: My advice would be that a new shop owner needs to be well-capitalized to be able to afford the kind of diverse inventory to have a strong start, and to weather the potential of a slow start. The amounts are different depending on the region, but $100,000 is a number I’ve heard more than once as a rule of thumb. This is very different from the 1970s, when someone could start a shop with their own collection and first month’s rent.
If you have the financing make a go go of it, my next advice would be to visit lots of stores and see what they do well. Many retailers will be eager to give advice, as long as that new shop isn’t in the same market. The best stores have a lot in common in terms of attitude and merchandising choices. Also, find a bad store or two, with disorganized stock and an indifferent staff, so that you can see how not to be.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.