Dealing Cool - All New ComicsI wrote this for Bleeding Cool, the online comics and rumours site, but it's been a few weeks, and they haven't gotten back to me on whether or not they'll even run it. In order to make sure that the hour or so of research and writing I did doesn't go to waste, I'm putting it up on here on the site.
The Web Guru.My Shop, Defined
All New Comics is an online comic shop serving Canadians. Our warehouse is located in Toronto, and our customers are from all over the country (we even had someone from the remote territory of Nunavut who's nearest comic shop was an 8 hour drive). We try to keep the comic shop feel, by keeping in touch with our customers via email as often as we can (without annoying them), and many of our customers have been with us for 5 or more years.
All New Comics has been in business since 2006, and our niche is serving people who can't get to a comic shop for whatever reason. Our main product is "New Comics" (it's right there in the name), and a large majority of our sales come through our subscriptions service. We're a pretty small shop, with only three people. Peter is the owner, and he runs the lion's share of the business, handling customer orders, the packaging, mailing, and customer service. Gus handles the monthly subscription update and gets new books up on the site. Then there's Brian, who deals pretty much exclusively with the marketing and technical maintenance of the site these days.
Movers & Shakers
DC's New 52 is still up across the board for us compared to pre-relaunch numbers. Batman is head and shoulders above other titles for us. The fact that Image is performing so strongly across the board still surprises us, and the fact that the stuff they're putting out is so great is a tremendous bonus. It's so refreshing to see things take off not because of a national news campaign, but because something like Saga is just darn good comics.
In terms of our big sellers, our top 10 is:
- Batman (almost 3-2 more than the #2 title)
- Justice League, Detective (tie)
- Avengers vs X-Men
- Amazing Spider-Man
- Batman and Robin, Green Lantern (tie)
- Batman: The Dark Knight
- Daredevil, Saga, Uncanny X-Men (tie)
- Batgirl, Aquaman, Superman, Flash, Batman Inc (tie)
- Action Comics
- Uncanny X-Force, Wolverine and the X-Men (tie)
We haven't seen a major bump for Avengers that we might expect based on the movie, and the numbers are fairly consistent from before the flick came out. With that said, the Avengers titles are in the top 20. Avengers vs X-Men (#3), Avengers (#11), New Avengers (#12), and Secret Avengers (#16). Even Thor (tied for #16), The Mighty Thor and Captain America (both tied for #17) show up in the top 20.
We are always trying cool new things, but this year our major initiative is to offer some new #1 comics at a super low price if you pre-order. For example, we had Bleeding Cool #1 available for only $1.00. We also did Earth 2 #1 for $2.00. Every month we try to spotlight a couple of comics that really appeal to us in our monthly customer email as well.
Hype Vs. Reality
Saga was a huge winner, and all of the hype around it was deserved. The same goes for Thief of Thieves, which started off slow, but as soon as it was announced as an AMC show, it took off. Mind the Gap, Planetoid, and Revival look to be pretty big too.
Considering sales and customer feedback, how did a particular big-ticket series or event perform at your store?
Walking Dead is obviously a massive winner and we are constantly restocking the trades. Again, Saga has done great, and the entire 52 line is up for us overall compared to DC before the reboot.
Peter: Near Death from Image is really good comics. Batman from DC's New 52 line, Scott Snyder has made Batman great again, and Greg Capullo's art may be the strongest of his career so far. Both Daredevil and Captain America are really picking up steam for me from Marvel's line.
Brian: Saga is without a doubt my favourite comic on the market right now, but a close second would be Manhattan Projects. I am loving so much of what Image is doing (especially Glory, Prophet, and America's Got Powers). As a die hard DC guy for my entire life, I'm enjoying the whole New 52 line. I am really enjoying Shade, Justice League, and Earth 2. Brian Azzarello's run on Wonder Woman is blowing me away. His use of the Greek pantheon, and Cliff Chiang's designs are just incredible. The guiltiest of guilty pleasures for me is Red Hood and the Outlaws. I know it got off to a rocky start, but damn if month in and month out this isn't just a cool looking, fun book.
The Downright Strange
Not strange really, just cool. As an online shop, we don't get to meet our customers face-to-face, but whenever we do comic conventions, we make a point of letting folks know they can pick up their comics from us at the show, and we throw in a nice little "bonus pack" to make it worth their while (free trades, hardcovers, and the occasional store t-shirt). It's so great to get to meet the people whom we provide comics to every week. Quite a few customers have also become Facebook friends, which is a really great way of connecting with people.
You can find us online at http://www.allnewcomics.com and we're on Twitter @allnewcomics, and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/allnewcomics