Wednesday, April 13, 2005

And So It Begins...

This is the beginning of my story.

Over the course of the next year or more, I will chronicle the ups and downs associated with my potentially Quixotic quest to open my own comic book store. Hopefully you will find my trials and tribulations to be nothing if not entertaining. In the end, though, I hope that those of you who read this little story are able to enjoy the ride as much as I will.

But first, a little introduction.

I have been reading comic books since 1982 when I bought The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #2 at the Dover Newsstand in Dover, Delaware. From then on I was hooked.

A few months later I discovered the first comic book series that I was totally into (i.e., I rushed to the store each month to buy), Alpha Flight. I loved that book, and it was issue 12, the one where Dr. James McDonald Hudson dies when his power pack overheated/exploded, that I realized comic books could do more than simply tell small stories about crazy people dressed in bright costumes. The art form's unique combination of pictures, words, and pacing could tell tales with true emotional impact.

Furthermore, as I learned over the years, the sheer breadth of the kinds of stories that could be told (superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, porn, crime, mystery) -- as well as the style of story (heroic, dramatic, tragic, comedic, epic, intimate) -- made the art form so much more than an expression of the "adolescent wish fulfilment" into which popular culture and the intellectual establishment wanted to pigeohole comic books.

Fast forward to today (don't worry, I'll talk more about the intervening 23 years as time goes by) and I am beginning to take that deep love of comic books and do something more concrete with it than just buying, bagging, and boarding them.

In just the past three months, I have moved my family to a new town -- Richmond, Virginia -- given notice at my current job -- Director of Marketing for a DC law firm -- and have begun the concrete work of getting a brick and mortar store up and running. My goal is to research the project for the next three months and decide at that point whether I will go forward with it now or wait a year. Why wait a year? Well, at that point my beautiful and supportive wife will likely be going back in to the work force after staying home and raising our two children (now nearly 5 and 2). Given that owning and operating a comic store is not normally the path to great wealth, it might make some sense to have at least one steady income.

But if I was worried about doing the "smart" thing, I would still be the Director of Marketing for a DC law firm. And I've reached a point in my life where I want to succeed or fail with a venture that is all my own. I can always go back to a job that has me sitting behind a desk for 9 hours a day. This is something that I may not have a chance to do later in my life, so I need to grab this opportunity by the horns and ride it for all it is worth.

Either way, you will get a chance to see how it all pans out.

Okay, I think that may be enough for now. But before I go, let me tell you what I have and don't have at this moment with regard to this quest:
  1. Personal enthusiasm for the task ahead -- Got It
  2. An idea of how much storefront leases in Richmond cost -- Don't Got It
  3. Nearly 5,000 comic books to form the back issue section of the store -- Got It
  4. A concrete idea of how to handle the accounting associated wth a store (P.O.S. system, sales and payroll taxes, etc.) -- Don't Got It
  5. An idea of where I am going to get and how much I am going to spend on fixtures and the like -- Got It
  6. An account with Diamond -- Don't Got It
  7. And last but not least, the support of my family -- Got It


At 1:30 PM, Blogger Gelf13 said...

Support of friends and fellow geeks: CHECK

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Brownthorn said...

Well, thank goodness somebody included the "Support of friends" category!

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Brownthorn said...

I've actually got another category: "People already lining up for free stuff, DEEP discounts, and exemptions to local loitering laws:" CHECK

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

Jack, I've put a link to your site on mine, so both people who read the Absorbascon might visit you, too...

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Devon said...

Oh, this is gonna be great, Jack. (Said with ZERO cynicism.)

At 9:54 AM, Blogger JackM said...

Thank you all for your kind comments, I'm really looking forward to keeping this going.

And Scip, thanks for putting the link on your site. As soon as I figure out how to do that (*smile*) I'll return the favor!

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea and looking forward to reading your blog.
On the other hand I am interested in starting a comics publishing company. It's taking a while and I might do it in your format, since it would keep me going. I am trying to keep my job and do the research on the side. This is very difficult. Anyway, good luck!

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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