The ComicsPRO 2023 meeting wrapped up over the weekend, and as always, everyone came away happy, or at least those who posted about it on social MEDIA came away happy. Beat columnist Brian Hibbs wrote on FB:
For sure the ComicsPRO meeting absolutely remains the most productive 72 hours that I spend every year. So so good to interact with my peers again!!!! My voice is DONE, however. I started to tag people that I loved at the show, but quickly realized that would be five times longer than the post itself. So, know I love *you*! VIVA LAS COMICS!!!!
And the comments on the post were just more love festing.
Before we give more of the love wrap-up, a new newsy notes:
§ Just as a correction to our preview, Dark Horse did attend the show, although virtually.
Come check us out at ComicsPRO Comic Industry Annual Meeting 2023. It's almost time for the virtual speed-chatting sessions! #COMICSPRO #COMICSPRO2023 #COMICSCONFERENCE2023 #CPROPITTSBURGH pic.twitter.com/FB5qfprjHp
— Dark Horse Comics (@DarkHorseComics) February 24, 2023
• I’m told Dark Horse has been sitting out cons during the pandemic but will be returning to in person events in 2023, so that’s exciting!
• Dark Horse was smart since a bunch of Portland comics companies were SNOWED IN on the day they were supposed to fly out and arrived late or not at all.
• Oni rounded out it personnel announcements with word that former Diamond VP and indie comics pioneer Bill Schanes will be joining the company as a consultant.
“Bill is universally respected throughout our industry, and with good reason: As a retailer, publisher, and distributor, he personally helped build the foundations of the Direct Market as we know it today,” said Hunter Gorinson, President & Publisher of Oni Press. “There are few who can rival his experience, instinct, or wisdom, and we’re fortunate to be able to draw on all three as Oni writes a new chapter for the future.”
“I’m looking forward to working closely with Hunter and the Oni-Lion Forge team, as they have an ambitious publishing program, one which I believe can add value to the comics book specialty retailers,” says Bill Schanes.
With more than 50 years of experience in publishing and distribution, Schanes’ influence has loomed large over the course of comics history. Schanes’ career began in 1971 when he, alongside his brother Steve, co-founded Pacific Comics – eventually transforming their successful chain of San Diego comic shops into one of the industry’s first independent publishers and distributors. During his tenure as President & Publisher of Pacific, Schanes was among the first to release creator-owned series from some of the industry’s most legendary creators, including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Dave Stevens, Richard Corben, Sergio Aragonés, and many more – making Pacific a pioneering force in the development of then-burgeoning Direct Market and the cause of creator rights.
• ComicPRO president Jenn Haines’s opening remarks are available at PopVers, with a list of the organizations activities last year:
- We took your concerns to publishers and distributors when they were raised and tried to get answers when answers were available.
- We had regular meetings with [Penguin Random House] to work on improving the functionality you have been asking for and to illuminate your packaging concerns.
We were in regular contact with Diamond, to make sure your concerns around shipping, software, and other issues were heard.
- We talked with Lunar throughout the year, addressing retailer concerns, and attended the Day with Lunar at C2E2 as an exhibitor to spread the word to more retailers about what we do.
- We hosted a webinar with Universal so they could answer your questions about their distribution plans.
- We hosted multiple small group sessions between members and DC to brainstorm marketing and publishing strategies.
- We hosted a [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund] workshop on ADA Compliance.
- We hosted webinars with IDW to discuss upcoming projects.
- We ran the Symposium on Kids YA Comics and Graphic Novels, bringing together retailers, publishers, distributors, creators, and librarians to understand this unique segment of the market.
- We ran a webinar on Best Strategies for Ordering Manga.
- We ran programming at San Diego Comic-Con as well as our annual panel, “So You Want to be a Comic Retailer?”
- We attended the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, sharing the information presented with the membership.
- We worked on further investigating data concerns in an attempt to find ways to be able to come together as an industry and forge a common path forward. This is a big part of what we’ll be focusing on in the year to come, with key conversations happening here as a launch for change.
• The keynote address from Cartoonist Kayfabe’s Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg is up on Youtube, expressing excitement to mingle with their retailer colleagues.
• Many of the publisher presentations are up on YouTube, such as US manga publisher Saturday AM’s presentation with bonus crowd’s eye view.
• A company called “Blank Canvas” apparently debuted at ComicsPro, but I only know because I saw their tweet to their 3 followers on Twitter:
You see this mug, you better snag that! #comicspro #BLANKCANVAS Follow an artist on his journey down the rabbit hole… AVAILABLE NOW pic.twitter.com/pF3jhb6uKU
— Blank Canvas (@blankcanvasHQ) February 23, 2023
By the end of Comicspro, they had 3 followers, so a 50% increase. Poking around, seems to be some kind of AI-based NFT thing, with a comic book attached. They also have a Spotify playlist for the comic.
Honestly? It takes some cojones to launch a comic in person with 2 twitter followers. But someone (me) noticed so I guess it worked.
• Finally more tweets and reax:
What a @CartoonKayfabe weekend! ComicsPRO was amazing. Meeting comics retailers was electric! So many brilliant, dedicated retailers are responsible for today’s comics golden age and they have a lot of ideas to sell more comics! THANK YOU, comics shop owners and retailers! pic.twitter.com/klcsRKqR2G
— Jim Rugg (@jimruggart) February 26, 2023
Flying back home to super rainy LA and filled with energy, gratitude, and inspiration from the first in-person ComicsPRO since 2020.
It was gratifying to have our retail partners respond so positively to our message, initiatives, and upcoming series (https://t.co/HPQAJIDqTN).
— Filip Sablik (@FilipSablik) February 26, 2023
Our first (in person) ComicsPRO was a big success! Got to hand out these shiny Tower #1 holofoil covers to each retailer in attendance.
HUGE shoutout to @CozmoMeg86 for all the work she did connecting with comic shop owners and spreading the word about all our great titles! https://t.co/PCNjzjd52R
— Tyler Chin-Tanner (@TylerChinTanner) February 27, 2023
How fun was @comicspro? Diverse manga brand, SATURDAY AM, founder & @FrederickLJones had a blast showing off the company’s graphic novels from @quartokids w/ the incredible folks from @yenpress @KodanshaManga & @RocketshipEnt! Great companies & people – please support us all! pic.twitter.com/xfWll0ZM19
— Saturday AM (@Saturday_am) February 27, 2023
We had an amazing time at ComicsPRO and want to give a S/O and thank you to those involved for including Blank Canvas comic amongst it's featured items. The adventure has only begun! Stay tuned, a new canvas awaits… pic.twitter.com/mxRzVvZnle
— Blank Canvas (@blankcanvasHQ) February 25, 2023
Team BAD IDEA meeting at ComicsPRO pic.twitter.com/YjP703l42b
— Dinesh Shamdasani (@dinesh_s) February 25, 2023
ComicsPRO with @cparadize, @JoshuaDysart, @_peter_stern pic.twitter.com/8v5HYT1Shd
— Dinesh Shamdasani (@dinesh_s) February 23, 2023
Loved this year, and as always no DB ever at CP , makes the event stress-free. DC , Marvel , BOOM , Lunar , etc , “ducked” no questions. Positive energy all-around. Can’t wait for the next one.
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