The annual ComicsPRo meeting is taking place in Memphis as I write this, a gathering of comics retailers and ann the most important vendors and publishers. It’s closed to the press and by all accounts, its the most important working conference of the year (but see my post on C3 a bit later.) I’ve already heard rumblings of some big announcements but on this year’s agenda Marvel’s future will probably be center stage.

Going into last year’s meeting, DC’s doldrums had everyone giving with the frowny face, but the announcement of REBIRTH gave everyone a lift in their loafers by the time they left.

This year, Marvel is rumored to be going to a meat (classic characters) and potatoes (big name creators) approach, and since they’ve tried everything else, why not? As you read this, Marvel’s David Gabriel will be talking to retailers, and  I’ll report the leaks as soon as they hit the net. (And of course you are welcome to leak them here.) This will be followed by DC’s traditional four hour presentation. Friday is more presentations and a keynote speech by Boom!’s Ross Richie.  And on Saturday retailers will get to tour Diamond’s legendary Olive Branch facility and and investigate their conspiracy theories about how Diamond hires box-crushing robots first hand. ***

As is tradition, retailer/journalist Matt Price will have reports from the event. Follow along here. 

This year, swag has taken center stage, with shot glasses from Valiant mong other things:

And jewelry


Here’s the rest of the schedule, with cocktails, sessions and meetings galore.

2/15 Wednesday
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM            Registration    2nd Floor     Oxfor
 Welcome Reception                                                        1st Floor
(Sponsored by Eaglemoss)                                  Magnolia Ballroom                                                        


2/16 Thursday (Retailers, Marvel, DC, Diamond only)
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM           Registration  – Light Snacks                                             2nd Floor
9:15 – 9:30                      Welcome                                                 2nd Floor Heritage II, III, IV
9:30 – 10:55                    Marvel Comics Q&A with Marvel SVP David Gabriel                        2nd Floor                                     (Retailers Only)                                                                 

11:00 – 12:00                   Closed Membership Meeting (Members only).

12:00 – 1:20                     Retailer Lunch (Retailers Only).                                                    

1:30 – 2:30          Diamond Comics Distribution Q&A                                              
2:40 – 7:00          DC Comics (Retailers Only)                                                       
2:40 Welcome and intros
2:50 Editorial presentation with Publishers
3:30 Publishers Q&A
4:00 – 4:15 Break                    (Snacks)
4:15 DC Collectibles presentation
4:45 DC Collectibles Q&A
5:00 – 5:15 Break
5:15 Sales & Trade Marketing presentation
6:00 Sales & Trade Marketing Q&A
6:40  Giveaways
7:30-9:20            DC Dinner (Retailers Only)                                                                      1st Floor

Buffet:  Southern Comfort                                                             Magnolia  Ballroom

Fresh greens with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and carrots, ranch and red wine vinaigrette
Pineapple cole slaw, Memphis honey bbq ribs, Barbeque chicken, Pasta Primavera, Crispy jojo’s, Collard greens braised with smoked turkey legs, Corn on the cob, Warm rolls, Pecan pie, southern peach crisp

9:30 – 10:30         Dark Horse Welcome Reception (Retailers and Vendors)                

2/19 Friday

7:30 AM                          Vendor Registration
8:15 AM – 9:45                Breakfast                                                                      2nd Floor

Downtown Memphis Table Breakfast Buffet                    Heritage II, III, IV

Assorted breakfast breads, pastries, muffins, and croissants
Butter and fruit preserves, Sliced seasonal fruits, Granola with yogurt, Dry cereals with assorted milks, Bacon, Scrambled eggs, Breakfast potatoes O’Brien, Buttermilk biscuits with homemade sausage gravy, Oatmeal with crasins, brown sugar, and toasted almonds

8:25 Showcase Vendor Shout Out (5 min)              
8:30 Hero Initiative (5 min)
8:35 Titan Comics (10 min)
8:50 Action Lab (10 min)
9:05 Space Goat (20 min)
9:25 Devil’s Due (10 min)

9:50 – 10:35              Workshops                                                       

Hiring, Training, and Managing Staff with an eye to increasing the bottom line  

Finding the right employees can be difficult. Jenn Haines, of the Dragon, will give you tips on how to hire, train, and manage employees to run the store day to day, leaving you free to improve the profitability of the business. (Topics may include: interview questions, workplace resources, training and evaluations, etc.)

Using the Calendar to your advantage                    

We know you celebrate Free Comic Book Day!  But how about Local Comic  Shop Day®?   Or Banned Books Week?  Children’s Book Week? Reading Without Walls? Jack Kirby’s birthday?     Learn to profit from the calendar.  Celebrating Anniversaries and Commemorative Days can bring in new customers and reward existing customers.    This panel will provide a calendar and a hand-out of event suggestions.  Hosted by Gina Gagliano (First Second Books),  Tucker Stone (Nobrow), Alex Cox (CBLDF), and Jim McLauchlin (Hero Initiative).


Please join Joe Murray (Captain Blue Hen Comics), Marco Davanzo (Alakazam Comics), and Jen King (Space Cadets Collection Collection) as they lead the audience in brainstorming ways to increase revenues and decrease costs in your stores.    We will use retailer feedback from the most recent retailer survey as a starting point.

10:45 – 11:00                  Keynote Speech – Ross Richie
 11:00 – 11:15                  Industry and Memorial Awards Presentation
11:15 – 11:45                   Industry Discussion
 11:50 – 12:30                  Workshops                                                                              

Expand your customer base: Work with Schools!

Jenn Haines, of the Dragon, will walk you through the graphic novels presentations she takes to schools at the elementary and high school levels. She will show you how discussing the language of visual storytelling will not only engage kids to come to your store, but also show teachers how they can incorporate comics in their classroom, leading to increased library purchases. (Topics may include: which books to feature, how to differentiate the presentation for different audiences).

Using Social Media to drive customers into your shop

Hang out with John Dudas (Carol and John’s), Joe Field (Flying Colors), and Bret Parks (Ssalefish) as they talk you through some of the ways you can inspire your customers to shop local and engage the culture of your shop. From planning out a social media strategy, to creating engaging posts, along with tips on how to deal with situations that get out of control. Learn from their mistakes and let’s make Wednesdays great again! (This presentation will include lots of take away information from Facebook on page moderation, popular apps to create engaging posts, and a trimmed down blueprint class path specifically for small businesses).

Sell more Young Adult (YA) graphic novels!                                           

In the early 2000s, the bookstore market underwent a radical change — the emergence of a teen category. Buoyed by books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars, stores and libraries all over the country developed separate reading sections for teenagers, and YA books have become one of the fastest-growing categories in publishing ever since. After the success of kids sections in comics stores, how can stores build the readership for the next level of YA readers? This discussion will provide suggestions and a book list for creating a YA section. . Hosted by Gina Gagliano, First Second Books, and Filip Sablik, BOOM! Studios.

 12:40  – 1:55                   Lunch                                                                            2nd Floor

Buffet: South of the Border                                           Heritage II, III, IV          

Vegetarian Chowder, Field greens with diced peppers, mandarin oranges, tomatoes with cilantro lime vinaigrette and ranch dressing, Fire roasted corn and black bean salad, Seasoned ground beef, Chicken fajitas, Soft flour tortillas and hard taco shells, Shredded lettuce and cheese, Guacamole, salsa, and sour cream, Refried

12:50 Valiant (15 min)
1:05 IDW (20 min)
1:30 BOOM (20 min)

2:00 – 3:30                      Roundtables  (see Roundtable Assignment pages)

3:45 – 4:50                      Sponsor Presentations

3:45 Oni (10 min)
3:55 Lion Forge (10 min)
4:05 Aftershock (10 min)
4:20 Dark Horse (15 min)
4:35 Image (15 min)

5:00 – 6:30                      Roundtables  (see Roundtable Assignment pages)

6:30 – 8:30                      Break for Dinner (On your own)

8:30                               CBLDF Cocktails

9:00                               Auction to Support CDLDF


2/18 Saturday

7:30                                             Bus load-in for Diamond Warehouse Tour.                                      8:00 AM – 10:20 AM            Diamond Warehouse Tour.                                                                         Olive Branch

Refreshments at the warehouse

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM        Light Snacks/Not Breakfast
For those that don’t go on tour

10:45 AM – 12:05 PM        Roundtables  (see Roundtable Assignment pages)
12:05 PM – 12:20 PM              Break

12:20 AM – 1:40 PM         Roundtables  (see Roundtable Assignment pages)

1:40 – 2:10                                 Closed Membership Meeting (Members only)                                                    2nd Floor

                                    Boxed Lunch Sandwiches                                                 Heritage II, III, IV

                                    Ham & Cheese, Roast Turkey or Grilled Vegetable Wrap

                                    Pasta Salad, Chips, Cookies, Bottled Water, Soft Drinks                 


2:10                                             End of Meeting


  1. Heidi, I was wondering how bad areDennis Barger’s and Rich Johnston’s math from ComicsPro?

      “Batman #48 cost $2, cover $3.99 order twenty sold 16 $40 cost $66 collected $26 profit Batman#16 cost $1.50, cover $2.99 order twenty sold 16 $30 cost $48 collected $12 profit”

    How can profit rise from $12 to $26 (more than 2x) from a 4/3 ratio (1.3x)? And isn’t $66 really $64? Precisely:

    Title Cost Cover Order Sold Paid Collected Profit
    Batman #48 $2.00 $3.99 20 16 $40 $64 (NOT 66) $24 (NOT 26)
    Batman #16 $1.50 $2.99 20 16 $30 $48 $18 (NOT 12)

      “Ok twice monthly!!! $24 profit, still $2 less monthly profit”

    Doesn’t this extra $2 come from reporting $66 instead of $64? And doesn’t twice-monthly mean $36 vs. $24 profit, not $24 vs. $26?

  2. P.S.: Table was meant to be formatted:

    Title       Cost   Cover  Order Sold Paid Collected    Profit
    Batman #48  $2.00  $3.99  20    16   $40  $64 (NOT 66) $24 (NOT 26)
    Batman #16  $1.50  $2.99  20    16   $30  $48          $18 (NOT 12)

  3. @Dennis Barger: So you never worked out such numbers for your store before BC called? And Johnston had no duty to check them before posting them? Is that how the fake-news sausage is made? Interesting times!

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