Sunday, February 18, 2018


A Salute to The Newsstand

It happened and like many things we barely noticed.

The newsstand, the place where comic books were born, sold their final DC Comics issues in latter 2017.

I'll be the first to admit that I hadn't picked up a comic off of a newsstand in decades so yeah, I know I'm complicit in its demise, even more as a former direct market comics retailer.

Won't change the fact that the newsstand was where I discovered my love for comic books. Nothing brought me more joy than the slow, grinding creek of an un-oiled spinner rack straining under the weight of G.I. Joe, Superman, X-Men, Spider-Man, The Brave and the Bold, The Fantastic Four and Charlton comics.

As distribution channels changed for ways to receive your comics, I changed right along with them. On newsstands, I was never quite guaranteed finding the comics I was looking for on a month-to-month basis much less in great condition so the minute I discovered comic shops, I couldn't turn back.

It was where I found the thing I love. Comics fed me for nearly twenty years in comics retail. As a fan, they have balmed my soul for nearly forty. It is where I found my joy. It is where my mind turns to when I think of the discovery of new universes to explore.

Same here -- I used to ride my bike to the drug store and pick up whatever oddball comics they were selling. They'd have years-old "Batman Family" comics sitting there for no discernible reason, but what the hell, it opened me up to material I never would have encountered otherwise. Did you know that there used to be a guy drawing Batman with the name "Dick Sprang"? The things I discovered at Fox Drugs!

But that was the early 80s. In recent years, I can't think of a single place near me that sold comics other than the comics shop, so the newsstand wasn't even an option. That said, I do love my comic book shop and would hate to not offer them my loyalty, so it's a trade-off.

The entire business model is changing, isn't it? Now it's movies drumming up interest in comics, which makes me think it's time for anthology comics again. Like, instead of "Batman Family", these days the hottest commodity at Marvel would be centered on Black Panther and the people in his orbit. At DC ... um, Wonder Woman and friends? Use the anthology format to get people buying the comic for the lead character, but then they can learn more about the comics universe in question. Worked for me!

Bring back the anthologies and digests!

I know they don't really sell them in grocery stores like they used to but sell them in comics shops. I'm more surprised they don't sell them in airport and train stations. When I did comics retail, we had racks full of $1 comics that parents would snatch up for their kids for long train rides. I found my first comic in a bus station on my way to a family reunion.

Cheap paper and reprints; each one should have issues featuring their top characters and not so top characters. Reprint first appearances and one-off stories and tell readers where you can find them in current continuity. Treat these comics sort of like their the maps in a treasure hunt and let them find out just how great comics can be.
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