Monday, June 13, 2005

Richmond Comix, Buying Existing Stores, and Other Musings...

How are you doing?

I spent much of the past week further getting my house fixed up (more painting, minor home repair stuff, buying curtains and furniture). Exciting, no? I'm just hoping to get all of this completed before A) I start having to actually work for a living again, and B) the money I made from the sale of my house is gone (which will happen rather quickly once the store is up and running).

I had a 30 minute or so conversation with Frank Miller, the owner and operator of Richmond Comix. Good, decent fellow. He was EXTREMELY reluctant to talk to me when I entered the store and introduced myself, but I guess I can understand that. After all, he didn't know me from Adam, and I'm walking in saying, "Hey there, I'm looking to open up a business that may compete with yours, wanna be friends?"

However, once I demonstrated that I wasn't going away no matter how long he ignored me, and after I actually bought some comics, he was willing to open up a bit. In short, he was certainly the most curmudgeonly on the store owners I have spoken with. And I am not trying to be disparaging when I say that. He described himself as such, and I got the feeling he was being that way because A) he really did not have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the comics industry, and B) he wanted to be sure that SOMEBODY took the time to tell this 30-something just how hard this business can be.

I explained to him that I wanted to either open up my own store or purchase an existing store that the owner was ready to part with. He then mentioned that he is likely to only stay in the busines for another few years. Surprisingly, he didn't seem at all inclined to discuss whether he might want to sell his store to this guy he just met. Can you imagine? Well, if you are reading this Frank, and you really are interested in selling you store at some point, I'd love to discuss it with you.

I don't think Frank is going to read my blog, however, so I'll just have to keep my ear to the ground on that one....

I also had an interesting conversation with Scipio of The Absorbacon fame. He told me that his current boss might be interested in making a play to (get this) buy the comic store I used to get my stash from back in DC, and wanted to know if I'd be intersted in going in on this as well. How could I not be intrigued? How could I not apprecaite the irony -- I had to move to Richmond to have a chance to buy the store at which I used to shop back in DC. In truth, I don't know if this is REALLY going to go anywhere, but it is certainly intriguing. I don't think that they store's owner even is considering selling, but if the price is right, you never know. God, that would be funny.

On a real fan boy note, I just wanted to state that all of you should most definitely be picking up the DC books that are related to the upcoming Infinite Crisis. All of them are good reads. Except for the Return of Donna Troy, that is. I've tried REALLY hard to be a Phil Jimenez fan, but there is something about his writing that just never works for me. I think it's too dry and calculated for my tastes. Even though he writes stories that are often broad and fantastical in scope, in delivery, he manages to wring all of the wonder and excitement out of the stories. Technically sound, but emotionally cold, I guess you could say.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, I saw the latest Star Wars film and REALLY enjoyed it. Definitely the best of the Star Wars movies since Empire. That being said, you know what I was MOST excited about coming out of the theatre? The trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Oh. My. God. I knew they were making the film, but I had assumed that it would just look like a high budget BBC production or something (kind of like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). This will be NOTHING like that -- I had goosebumps during that trailer. It looks like the movie is going to be big and epic on a scale of Lord of the Rings. If you haven't seen it, check it out at And be prepared to remember WHY you loved these books as a kid.

I guess that's it for now. I'm having dinner with Brett of Brett's Comic Pile later this week. He has graciously agreed to talk to me about the business and the back issue business in particular. I'm really looking forward to it. He seems like a very nice fellow.

Talk to you later.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger Ed Sizemore said...

Jack, Frank scolded me for spreading rumors on the internet that he was a nice guy. I'm glad you finally got to talk to him. Frank has a great love for comics, but little love for the current comic industry and he isn't shy about it either. I know part of the frustration is publishers who don't deliver books on time and distributors who habitually leave things out of your shipment. Plus, publishers and distributors blaming each other for late books. I only got back into comic reading around five years ago and Frank has taught me a lot about how the industry works and what to expect as a consumer. The one thing I have never heard Frank complain about is the customers. And we all know comic fans are not the easiest people to deal with. Sure Frank is a curmudgeon, but I have a soft spot for the appropriately cynical.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Devon said...

"I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

Jack, I myself have tried to be a fan of Phil's and I finally found a way.

Hate his writing. Dislike his art.

Just be a fan of PHIL HIMSELF.

It's how I can sleep at night.

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