Once a premier destination for fans of many photocopied pamphlets, including Cometbus, Dishwasher and Optic Nerve, during the 1990’s Zine Explosion, Wow Cool faded from view for many years. Now, after over a year of preparation, and six months of development, the long-running DIY clearinghouse has once again thrown it’s hat into the ring of Small Press Bookselling. The new WowCool.com store is being officially launched at 11am Pacific Time on Saturday, October First, 2011, marking the start of San Francisco’s APE, the Alternative Press Expo.
This new web store at https://WowCool.com offers hundreds of titles by nearly as many artists, from comic book legends Alan Moore and Steve Ditko to the fresh talents of Hellen Jo and Michael DeForge. Books from over 20 publishing houses are represented, and new product is added weekly. The site is built on the robust X-Cart e-commerce platform and features SSL – Secured Socket Layer – protection; and, full integration with USPS and PayPal for a smooth and secure shopping experience. Wow Cool is committed to following what founder Marc Arsenault describes as “A greatly improved set of best practices for marketing, stocking and shipping these unique works of art”.
Wow Cool was founded in January 1988 by Marc Arsenault and cartoonists Tom Hart and Sam Henderson, while still students at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. Starting out as the label under which their various solo publications and the anthology Tuna Casserole were published, Wow Cool quickly started adding works by many other artists. The sole constant person through Wow Cool’s over 23 year history has been Marc Arsenault. The label emerged as a proper company and the largest American distributor of self-published comics and zines for much of the 1990s after its move to the San Francisco Bay area in February 1993. After surviving the media attention given to the zine explosion, Arsenault chose to return Wow Cool to it’s East Coast home and focus on the core artists associated with the label. Wow Cool returned to California in May, 2009.