ComicsPRO, the annual meeting of the top retailers organization in North America, is taking place in Portland, OR for the next three days, with publishers and retailers meeting in a relaxed and productive setting. The meeting is closed to the press, although a select few media outlets will have reps there, and some retailer is sure to be texting Rich Johnston for minute by minute updates. Over the years this has developed into the #1 business event of the year for publishers and retailers, and folks usually come out of it brimming with good ideas.

The big excitement this year, of course, is DC’s FOUR HOUR PRESENTATION this afternoon. (Marvel’s, by comparison, is only 25 minutes.) Ot’s expected that DC will use its time to rap about whether Star Wars or Star Trek is more scientifically accurate just what will be happening in Rebirth, their “not a reboot” that’s happening in May.

As you can see from the above retailer tweet, attending stores were given a very nice goodie bag that will help pay for the trip to Portland.

The entire schedule can be seen below, so look for some tweeting between 6-10 EST/2-6 PST.

Gail Simone delivers the keynote speech on Saturday, another highlight.

2/18 Thursday (Retailers, Dark Horse, and DC only)
8:30 AM – 9:45 AM      Registration
9:45 – 12:15  Dark Horse Presentation
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook
Faith Erin Hicks
Gail Simone
Chuck Palahniuk
12:15 –  1:30  –   Lunch  
1:30 – 2:30 – Closed Membership Meeting
2:40 – 6:40   DC Presentation
7:00 – 8:00 Reception (Sponsored by DC)
7:30 Dinner Sponsored by DC
2/18 Thursday (Vendors Only)
4:45 – 5:45 Vendor Mixer, Broadway Rooms 1 and 2
  Come by and meet other vendors.  Then perhaps break into small groups for dinner?
2/19 Friday
7:30 AM  Vendor Registration
8:30 AM – 9:50 AM Breakfast
  8:50 Showcase Vendors
  9:05 Titan 
 9:15 Hero Intiiative
 9:20 Dynamite
9:55 – 10:40  Workshops
Workshop A
  Publisher Perspectives: Kids Comics and Graphic Novels
In the first 8 months of 2015, sales of kids graphic novels rose 35%. Why did this happen? And how can you capitalize on this growth? Led by Sven Larsen (VP of Marketing at Papercutz), Robin Herrera (Editor at Oni Press), Gina Gagliano, (Marketing & Publicity Manager at First Second), and Michael J. Martens (VP of Book Trade Sales at Dark Horse Books). Topics may include: “The Raina Phenomenon”, working with teachers and librarians, FCBD and Children’s Book Week, Age Ranges, Color vs. black and white, What is a graphic novel?, growth of kids/YA market as a whole.
Workshop B
Community Building: Increasing profits through connections
As sales of comics and graphic novels keep increasing in bookstores and online, store-front retailers are differentiating themselves by building communities inside and outside of the store. Please join Matthew Klokel and Esther Kim (Fantom Comics) and John Dudas (Carol and John’s Comics) as they explore why community building is the avenue for growth in next five to ten years. Topics may include: (customer engagement, monetizing your community, cliques, marketing and communication, social media, business identity, balancing in-store and out-of store activities, etc).
  Workshop C
  Store Problems: Brainstorm solutions
Please join  Joe Murray (Captain Blue Hen Comics),   Rick Lowell (Casablanca Comics),  Jonathan Cohen (Beyond Comics), and  Christina Blanch (Aw Yeah Comics) as they lead the audience in brainstormng solutions to common store problems. The problems/concerns will have been solicited from our entire membership before hand and at the meeting.
10:45 – 11:10  Marvel
11:15 – 12:00 Local Comic Shop Day® – Summary of 2015 efforts.   Plans for the future.
12:00 – 12:45 Workshops
  Workshop A
Publisher Perspectives:  Running Events in Your Store
How can you work with publishers and organizations to get the best possible events in your stores?  What are publishers and
organizations looking for when they chose stores for their events?  Learn about some easy ways to make the events you want
happen.  Led by Gina Gagliano, (Marketing & Publicity Manager at First Second), Charles Brownstein (Executive Director of
CBLDF), and Anna Pederson  (Events Manager at Fantagraphics).   Topics May include: Booking events with Edelweiss,
timely scheduling, offering added value, school visits, Children’s Book Week and looking for and making the most out of opportunities.
  Workshop B
  Meet the Valkyries: Warrior Women of Comics Retail Unite!
The Valkyries is an organization of over 500 women working in comic book retail. Founded in 2013 by creator Kate Leth, the group has had a significant impact on the comics landscape of the last few years. Join Juliette Capra of Fantastic Comics, Susan Avallone of Earth-2 Comics, and Esther Kim of Fantom comics to discuss what it is The Valkyries do, inclusive community building in comics, and the impact being a Valkyrie has had on their businesses.
  Workshop C
  Sales Diversification:   Profitable and Necessary 
  Are you looking to add items to your store that will complement your comics and graphic novels?   Are you having a hard
time figuring out where to start?  Back by popular demand is Jennifer Haines (M.A., B.Ed., OCT), The Dragon,
Canada. – a trained teacher as well as an Eisner award-winning comic retailer.  Last year she helped you get kids in the
door to start reading comics. This year she will help you determine why to diversify, what products to stock, and who to call,
12:45  – 2:00 Lunch                       
1:00  Valiant  
 1:10  IDW  
 1:35  Oni
 2:00 – 3:30 Roundtables

3:30 – 3:50 Break
3:50 – 4:50  Sponsor Presentations   
3:50 Image  

4:15 Action Lab
 4:30 Boom 
4:50 – 6:20  Roundtables
6:20 – 8:30  Break for Dinner (On your own)
8:30  CBLDF Cocktails
9:00    Auction to Support CBLDF
Saturday: February 20
8:30 AM – 9:40 AM  Breakfast
        9:00 Diamond  
9:50 – 11:20   Roundtables
11:20 – 11:30  Break    
11:30 – 11:45  Keynote Speech   
11:45 – 12:00  Industry Awards
12:00 – 1:30  Roundtables
1:30 – 2:00   Closed Membership Meeting
2:00 End of Meeting
After Conference Activities 
2:00 – 4:00 PM  Lunch sponsored by Dark Horse – Venue near hotel
4:00 – 6:30 PM – Free Time.   Maybe go to Wizard World?   Attendees get free tickets.  See Registration for Details.
6:30 – ???    Reception – Sponsored by Oni 
PunchBowl Social 
340 Sw Morrison St, Third Floor
Portland, OR
Between SW 4th Ave and SW 3rd Ave
(503) 334-0360