Comic Home Delivery in DC

Via Journalista comes news that one of the Washington, DC, area branches of Fantom Comics is closing its doors as of Sunday. That’s not unusual — in this economy, many small businesses are shutting their doors. What is newsworthy is their new plan: home delivery. (Post, and plan, no longer available.)

Fantom Comics logo

Whether or not you’re a subscriber, the shop will bring comics to you (in particular zip codes) on either Wednesdays or Saturdays. (If you’re not a subscriber, there’s a $15 minimum purchase. At today’s prices, that’s merely 4 comics.) You’re also able to browse other comics; see below. Most amazingly, this is a free service!

There is no service charge and our people will not be allowed to accept gratuity. Comic book store at your front door will cost you nothing extra! We will bring along your subscribed books, already sorted, as well as the entire stock of new books for the week, which you can browse and purchase to your heart’s content. We can also do special requests on older material, but we need a week’s heads-up on that.

I’ve never previously heard of Fantom Comics — is anyone a customer? Anyone trying out this service? It sounds like a terrific idea. I’d subscribe, if I lived in the area. In today’s comic market, most serious readers have to pre-order to get their titles, anyway, so why not save them a trip?


7 Responses to “Comic Home Delivery in DC”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Wow, it’s such a completely origin idea, I’m going have to that sink in for a few days. That’s an amazing service and I wish them well.

  2. Argo Plummer Says:

    I hope it works out for them. It’s a great idea, but I wonder how much overhead will really be saved. Certainly rent, but you still have to pay people and pay for gas. Anyway, I hope it takes off.

    Kind of reminds me of DC’s failed comic-mobile in the 70’s (that may not be the actual name).

    Just a side note, I am a serious collector, have been since I was eight (I just read them before that) and I have no subscription or pre-order service. I don’t even go to the comic store every week. Yeah, sometimes I miss out on something (I just caught up on Echo because my LCS kept selling out of # 10 and I missed Incredibles # 2 from last week but I’ll get it eventually).

    I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but I have found (I have had subs in the past) that I actually spend less and am more likely to drop a subpar title if I have to physically go and browse the racks and choose my books each time rather than just rely on the inertial of a pull list.

    And as for the books I miss, I actually enjoy the rush of hunting for them–reminds me of the joy I got when I was just a reader of looking at all the neighborhood drug, grocery, and convenience stores to find the next issue of Batman, JLA, or Captain America.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I think it *was* the Comic-Mobile, based on the popular idea of the bookmobile. Run by Bob Rozakis at one point!

    I admire your commitment to buying only what looks good. I’ve switched over to that as much as possible, although when I can’t find certain books to browse anywhere, I regret not pre-ordering. The thrill of the hunt is fun!

  4. Mike rhode Says:

    Fantom had a very good store, albeit rather small, in this location. If Big Planet Comics wasn’t in the area, they would be my default choice because they got a lot of alternative and European material – as it is, even with the expiration of Geppi’s chain of stores, we still have good comics stores in the area.

  5. Brad Soule Says:

    I live in DC.

    I’ve tried Fantom’s Tenleytown store once and was completely put off by the staff. I always ask for suggestions to see what’s going on, but the guy totally didn’t get it. This was surprising since I feel like the quality of comic book stores has risen drastically in the last decade. I don’t want to say that everyone who worked there was like this, but if someone walked in and said “I like the Goon, Local, Scott Pilgrim, Fables, and no super heroes except for Powers, what else would you recommend” would you show them nothing but super heroes? Again, they may have better staff, but I was completely put off by the attitude more than any store i’ve been in years. He wasn’t condescending, just clueless, even when I re-articulated the “I don’t like super heroes.”

    Big Planet is good, but if you want real service, make the trek to Third Eye comics in Annapolis. Fantastic service and they really tailor their recommendations to any taste.

    Also, go read Mike Rhode’s (commenter #4) ComicsDC blog. great stuff, even if your not from DC.

  6. Julia Says:

    I’ve only been to the Union Station store. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything there, mostly because their current issue stock was fairly paltry, running out of issues within a week of their release. I imagine that’ll change now that they’re the only branch. I don’t remember the staff being terribly helpful either. I do like that they’re keeping the Metro accessible store.

    As for the home delivery, I’ll have to keep that in mind if DCBS and I don’t work out. Big Planet may have the stock, but they have a ten book minimum for a pull list, which if you’re trying to cut *back* on titles (or only want a few choice titles) can be frustrating.

  7. Julia Says:

    (Oops, I didn’t catch that it was only for certain zip codes. I don’t live on that side of the Potomac alas. But good to have other subscription options anyway.)

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