by David Doub
[Editor’s note: as we reported earlier, this year’s ComicsPRO retailer summit invited comics creators to attend, and writer David Doub took advantage of the invite and he sent us a brief report on his impressions of the event. Check out all our ComcisPRO 2023 coverage here.]
Marco Davanzo of Alakazam! Comics and the organizer for the ComicsPro event was kind enough to let me attend the first in person ComicsPro after several years of the pandemic. He and his team were amazing and ran a really good event.
At first arriving at the event, I was a bit nervous and awkward because I was surrounded by all these great comic retailers. One of the few times I feel imposter syndrome is when I am around retailers because they are on the front lines of the comic industry. I feel like I’ve made it and can coolly hang around fellow creators and publishers, but comic retailers, I feel like they’ve seen and dealt with it all and can tell I’m not ready for primetime.
That all said, everyone was so welcoming and supportive at ComicsPro. Todd Mcdevitt of New Dimension Comics was supper cool and ran fun things like a tour of local breweries and the con suite that was full of the beers that he had commissioned , with comic book labels. Another cool retailer was Jen King owner of Space Cadet Collections and Co-Owner of The Comic Book Shopping Channel CBSN. She went out of her way to make sure that new and old retailers connected and traded tips and everyone was getting the most out of ComicsPro. But other creators, like Marvin Wynn and the rest of the Comicsburgh crew were super welcoming and showed me around their home turf of Pittsburgh. Even Dinesh Shamdasani of Bad Idea and C. B. Cebulski of Marvel were more than welcoming to talk with indie creators like myself.
One special treat for me was finally meeting Brigid Alverson, currently of IVC2, who had been covering my indie comic journey since the beginning and she remembered my earlier work!
One group that I don’t think got enough attention outside of ComicsPro is BINC – the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. They are the only charity that supports book and comic book stores in the US. They have given out $11 million in aid over their 27 years and around $4 million of that was during the Pandemic. They help with bills, medical, and mental health. I got to meet Judey Kalchik, the Program Manager and she is such a sweet and caring person. From her you could tell the BINC genuinely feels for retailers and wants to help them out the most they can. During the Charity Auction, where proceeds went to BINC< the people in the room gladly bid high on almost every items all to give to BINC (the open bar helped a little bit too :P ).
Overall I am so glad to have gotten to go to ComicsPro. It was great for networking and learning, but also it helped recharge my enthusiasm about comics in general. I could go on and on about all that I learned (like how webcomics look to become the new manga in the comics industry), but the most important thing I took from ComicsPro, is there is so much passion in the comics industry – comics aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
David Doub is a comics writer known for his horror and supernatural styled comics. He’s had works published by Antartic Press, Source Point Press, Odyssey Comics, as well as his own self-published work.
He is currently a proud member of Shonuff Studios!