Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture
The upcoming paperback release of Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture by Dan Gearino prompted me to finally read the hardcover I was sent a year and a half ago. Boy, that was a comprehensive trip through comic industry history!
Gearino, a business journalist from Columbus, Ohio, puts local store The Laughing Ogre in the center of his history of how the direct market, the non-returnable distribution system for comic books, began and changed over the years. He’s clearly done his homework, with citations backing up his figures and story about the development of this unique system for comic book retailers, and he doesn’t shy away from discussing how the market is changing now with new audiences, graphic novels, and mis-steps by the traditional corporate comic publishers.
Key retailers are interviewed, providing a diversity of perspective, with the last third of the book covering 40 notable comic shops. Comic Shop is an essential read for anyone interested in the mechanics and money of the comic industry, but I was most amazed to learn that, beyond Carol Kalish, there was another woman behind the formation of the direct market. That’s not a story that’s often been told.
The paperback can be preordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond code MAR19 1929. There’s a new epilogue in this edition that brings the book, which previously covered events through 2016, up to 2018, as well as additional shop profiles.