In a comment on his post regarding DC’s allocation of their Villains month promotion, veteran retailer Brian Hibbs mentioned that he had quit the retailer organization, ComicsPRO.

I’ve, uh, decided to stop my membership with ComicsPRO because of the reactions of the Board to recent DC moves. I may or may not go to this year’s meeting (you don’t NEED to be a member), but I’m no longer a member of the organization as of this month.
The org that I formed was intended to look out for the little guy; the current Board seems much more interested in keeping the big guys big. Democracy in action, I suppose, so I vote with my dollars.

Although most headlines regarding this suggested that Hibbs quitting was a direct result of the allocation mess—which we’ll have more on tomorrow—in an email he said his decision predated the Villains month revelation:

I didn’t “quit over this” — I’ve been thinking for 6+ months that the leadership was more interested in protecting their relationships with publishers than they were protecting the interests of smaller retailers. When I got my renewal notice last month I’d already decided I wasn’t going to renew. That the Board has shown zero leadership on this issue, IMO, merely caps my decision.

Hibbs was one of the earliest supporters and spokesmen for ComicsPRO, so the move does come as a bit of a surprise…and also reveals a split among the most vocal retailers at a time when, despite glitches/poor planning like the 3D allocation, comics sales seem to be as strong as they’ve ever been. But when things are flush people often feel they have the leeway to go their own route, as opposed to banding together for survival in a hostile environment, Rick Grimes style.


  1. ComicsPRO and “ghost” variant covers haven’t helped the overall retail community or its customers; just a select few that don’t want to be left out of the latest collecting scam. If I can’t order it out of Previews, it’s not worth the effort to keep track of. I’ll just wait for the collected edition, thanks.

    Not that retailer greed is a new thing: some retailers used Wizard as a price guide in the ’90s. And other than Chuck Rozanski (who explained in detail on his website his purchase of decades’ worth of un-returned Marvel comics), I’m suspicious of retailers who turn up stacks of near-mint newsstand titles from the 1970s-1980s.

    I’m glad that Brian Hibbs is continuing his mission to help the entire market with his consulting services, though. His Tilting At Windmills columns have given me invaluable insight into the business and ethics of comics.

  2. ComicsPRO continues to be the ONLY collective voice for the industry. Austin Books has been a member since the inception and will continue no matter whether I agree with every decision by the group appointed board. Running away or quitting when things don’t go our way is the surest way to have our voices forgotten, even a voice as boisterous as Brian’s.

    My business isn’t a hobby and I won’t treat it as such. If you don’t want to be a member of a progressive, stand aside.

    Also, “Ghost Variants” have nothing to do with ComicsPRO. Thanks for bringing up that point Mike Hansen. Please continue to shake your fist at the dark. I’m certain someone will eventually get off your lawn.

  3. I don’t think anyone in comics thinks Brian Hibbs’s voice will ever be forgotten, but he certainly doesn’t need me to defend him. Since you trolled for a response…

    All of the ComicsPRO benefits sound truly fantastic, except this one:

    “Variant Covers
    As a ComicPRO member, you’re eligible to order exclusive ComicsPRO variant comic book covers as they are printed.”

    I’ll happily lump “Ghost” and “Phantom” and store variants in with ComicsPRO variants as B.S. collectibles that cause long-term damage to the market by valuing collectibility over content. It’s no coincidence that almost all ComicsPRO variants on eBay are “Buy It Now” listings instead of auctions, because even the owners know these books are way overpriced to all but a very select few OCD collectors being slowly priced out of the hobby, with a piece of their love of comics being taken along with their money. (Have we learned nothing from the 1990s?)

    I hope you enjoy supporting greed and profiteering in comics at Austin Books, Brad Bankston. Me, I’ll stick with supporting the many, many retailers who put what’s between the covers first.

  4. Interesting it is the lack of commentary on this subject. Perhaps the retailers are sticking together by saying nothing,

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