Home News ComicsPRO anounces awards, board election and addresses industry issues

ComicsPRO anounces awards, board election and addresses industry issues

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photo by Ralph Matthieu

Just to wrap up the mighty deeds at the annual eeting or comics retailer organization ComicsPRO, several announcements have been released.

First, the official winners of the awards presented. Winners are in BOLD.

The nominees for this year’s Industry Award were:

* The BOOM! Studios Team 
* Steve Geppi
* Jonni Levas
* Margaret “Maggie” Thompson
* Gene Luen Yang
The nominees for this year’s Memorial Award were:
* Batton Lash
* Bill Liebowitz
* Joseph Henry “Joe” Simon
* Don Thompson
* Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson
(Impressed to see Jonni Levas, the unsung mother of the DM who worked with PHil Seuling to create it. Hoping her day will come soon!)
There was also a board election. with Joe Murray elected. and Jenn Haines and Colin McMahon re-elected.
The board remains:
  • Peter Dolan (Main Street Comics) – President, Director
  • Jenn Haines (The Dragon) – Vice President, Director
  • Colin McMahon (Pittsburgh Comics) – Recording Secretary, Director
  • John Dudas (Carol and John’s) – Treasurer, Director
  • Joe Murray (Captain Blue Hen Comics) — Director
  • Steven Olson (A Little Shop of Comics) – Director
  • Tim Stolzfus (More Fun Comics – Director

Marco Davanzo remains Executive Director.

 

In a statement,m the board addressed the general “industry malaise”:
Comics retailers are sharing with us the feeling they are shouldering a lot of the risk in the industry and are looking for new ways to move this market ahead,” said Peter Dolan, President of the Board of ComicsPRO. “This malaise convinced the ComicsPRO board to facilitate retailer brainstorming with an eye to solutions. We recently released a report showing some suggested ways forward.  I believe publishers and other vendors are hearing our concerns and are moving to sensible ways to share the burden and grow the market,” added Dolan.
Publishers and distributors pledged to help in various ways. “The themes I heard from publishers were returnability, responsible curation of product lines and strategies to deal with the glut of variants, plus better information flow,” said Marco Davanzo, Executive Director of ComicsPRO.
A “State of the Comics Industry” discussion was headlined by veteran retailers Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience, San Francisco CA), Phil Boyle (Coliseum of Comics, Florida), and Joe Field (Flying Colors, Concord CA).
Speaking first from the dais, Brian Hibbs of San Francisco’s Comix Experience said retailers, distributors, and publishers all share the blame for comic sales’ difficulties. He proposed a 10-point plan to move the market forward and hopefully solve some of its current issues: 
* Lack of quality in core superhero and licensed titles
* The current glut of comics
* Retailers, Publishers, and Distributors working against their own long term interests.
* Shortage of new customers becoming regular comicsbuyers.
Phil Boyle, owner of Florida-based Coliseum of Comicseight-store chain, then started his talk sharing a long list of recently shuttered shops, pointing to the urgency of just how much comics publishers, retailers, creators and distributors need to work together.
“We’ve seen times of crisis in this industry via the black and white glut of the 80’s and the speculator crash of the 90’s,” said Boyle. “This time we’re in a different, more subtle type of crisis, as other forms of entertainment have whittled away our base of readers. Even with many great things in this business we need to reconsider all aspects of publishing, distribution and retailing.” Boyle added “I’m very happy to see the open dialog that happened at this meeting”.
Long-time retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord CA and the founder of Free Comic Book Day was the last to give his prepared statement. Stressing the difficulty of ordering comics in a world where there are not just so many titles, but so many entertainment choices, Field pushed for publishers to share some of the risk. He mentioned graduated returnability as a possible solution. “We need to work as much toward 100% consumer satisfaction as we do toward 100% sell-through,” said Field. ” Publishers want retailers to order more aggressively. The way to do that is to mitigate our risk. We have to get back to taking care of the comic book fans that have been so faithful for so long while also having enough stock on hand for more people to become regular comic book readers.”
All in attendance agreed to look at potential solutions for the benefit of all involved with the comics‘ specialty market, from publishers, creators, distributors to retailers and fans.
The complete texts of Bob Wayne’s keynote address, and a speech by Beat columnist Brian Hibbs were also released, but we’ll put them in their own posts.

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