Over the holiday, Mark Waid announced that he is crossing the last frontier of comics prodom by becoming a partner in his local comics shop, Alter Ego Comics, which is located in Muncie, IN. The store was previously run by Jason Pierce, who will remain a co-owner with Waid and his partner, Christy Blanch. The store is well thought of by the locals, past and present, and Waid will gain a whole new range of experiences:
So I’ve put my money where my mouth is. Effective immediately, you can trust me when I say I want comics retailers to thrive, because now I am one. I said, I AM ONE. (I had to raise my voice there a little to drown out the screams of rage from anti-Thrillbent retailers like Phil Boyle. Hi, Phil!) Along with my partner in life and now in business, Christy Blanch, I’m logging inventory on Tuesdays and running the register on weekends and navigating the ordering process at our brand new location. This isn’t a vanity purchase, a symbolic gesture, or a silent partnership; Christy, Jason and I are each equal shareholders in Alter Ego Comics. I have skin in the game, and I’m eager to see what there is to learn about the only side of the industry I’ve never involved myself with.
How does this impact you? As with all things digital, what I learn as a retailer, I’ll pass on to you, here. Retailer Brian Hibbs writes a regular column called TILTING AT WINDMILLS; I am likely going to refer to my columns informally as NUKING WINDMILLS because, frankly, you would expect no less of me. I’m genuinely champing at the bit to, with your help, synthesize all this information now pouring through my unnaturally round head into some sort of Unified Theory of Comics. How best can digital comics advance the medium without kneecapping brick-and-mortar? How can physical storefronts best take advantage of the outreach digital provides? How will I ever stay ahead of my Daredevil, Hulk and Green Hornet deadlines? How many times a week will I have to promise Peter Krause that this week’sInsufferable really is “almost written”? This is going to be a hell of an adventure, and you’re along for the ride.
While we await our first pull quote from NUKING WINDMILLS with the eagerness of Miley Cyrus looking for a new twerking opportunity, it’s worth noting that a few other comics pros are at least part-time retailers. Geoff Johns is part owner of Earth 2 on Reseda Blvd. in Northridge, CA, although he doesn’t put in too much time behind the counter.
At any rate, best wishes to Waid, Blanch, and Pierce. This should be fun.
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.