- Full Description
The early 1970s saw the birth of the modern comic book shop. Its unprecedented growth to thousand of stores was due in large part to a dynamic entrepreneur, Phil Seuling. His direct market model allowed shops to get comics straight from the publishers, bypassing middlemen. Stores could better customize their offerings and independent publishers could now access national distribution. And it opened up a space for quirky ideas to gain an audience and helped transform small-press series, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Bone, into media giants.
Comic Shop is the first book to trace the history of these cultural icons. Dan Gearino brings us from their origins to the present day, when the rise of digital platforms has the industry at a crossroads even as sales are robust. He spends a year with stores around the country, with a spotlight on The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Along the way he interviews those who shaped comics retailing from the early days, including many pioneering women; top creators; and shop owners who continue to push the industry in new directions.
Dan interviewed me twice, once in person, and we continued to work together to get facts right and questions resolved. I was a partner in one of the earliest retailers (1968), I co-founded (with John Barrett and Bob Beerbohm) what may be the first chain of comic stores (Comics and Comix), and I was one of the earliest mail order retailers, beginning the business that you see now back in 1970. On the distribution side, I began wholesaling comics-related material to stores before Phil Seuling created the Direct Market. Phil and I often would take entire print runs from publishers (Squa Tront, Elfquest, Comics Journal) and distribute them to comic shops, before any other distributors existed.
Phil then broke through to Marvel and DC and started distributing comic books direct to stores. I supplemented him distributing comics related material until 1982, when I also became a distributor of comics and the market grew and stores blossomed. So I was there through all of the growth described so well in Dan's book, and I am honored that he chose to include both me and other pioneering retailers who remain my friends.
A guide to forty of the most interesting shops around the United States and Canada is a bonus for fans, with pictures of each. Vintage pictures show Phil Seuling and the 1971 Comic Art show, Diana Shutz as a Comics & Comix fangirl, myself at an early show, Chuck Rozanski, Neil Gaiman, Chris Claremont, and a host of others who all play a part in this history.
I have taken it upon myself to sign and date all of our copies and I hope that you find this a small bonus of sorts. We are told the book has already sold out its initial printing of 1500 copies, but our copies until further notice are first editions (a reprint is forthcoming) and the earliest orders will also get a bonus promotional postcard done for San Diego Comic Con in July.
Dan Gearino is a lifelong comics reader with tastes that swing from the classic Legion of Super-Heroes to the work of Michel Rabagliati. As a business reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, he has won national recognition for his work. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters.
- Additional Information
Item Code COMSHO Publisher Swallow Publish Date 2017 ISBN 9780804011907 Binding Hard Cover - No Dustjacket Dimensions 6x9 # Pages 252pg Color Text/b&w