Comic Shops are the lifeblood of the industry throughout the western world and particularly here in the UK and the USA. Yet comic shops are suffering like never before thanks to the Covid pandemic.
It’s up to all of us – me, you, everyone, to step up and do our bit for comics, to keep the comic shops open for the future. Here are a few things you can do…
My history with comic shops goes back to the early 80s when I discovered Nostalgia & Comics (now Worlds Apart Birmingham) in Birmingham, UK, one of the country’s oldest comic shops and one I’d end up working at, man and boy, for about 19 years all told. So yes, I love the places and dearly want to see them thrive and continue to be the places to get our comics.
But selling comics has never been a path to untold riches, margins are tight at the best of times and, with the last year of Covid and lockdowns and a general change in our shopping habits across the board, they have it worse than ever. But we can do a few things to help them out, to make sure that once all this pandemic stuff is done with, once we’re out the other side of it all, there’s still enough comic shops to support the industry left open.
First of all – if you don’t know where your local comic shop is – try comic shop locator, check online, find a good store.
Second, if you have a local store, use them, buy your stuff, get something extra, maybe give a few gifts of graphic novels at birthdays or get gift cards from the comic shop for use later in the year.
The key thing is that the store needs your money NOW, right now, not when the pandemic ends. So, if you were a regular customer, if you had a pull-list or standing order, you need to keep picking it up, keep paying for it, please, please don’t leave it sitting there uncollected and unpaid.
So if your comic store is open for business, if you feel safe going in, go in and get your comics from the store. If you’re worried about safety, give the store a ring, see if they do kerbside pick-up at all.
And for those stores, like those here in the UK, that aren’t allowed to open because of lockdowns, you can still give them your business through mail order – sure, it might cost you an extra few bucks or couple of quid, but to the comic shop it’s vital that your money keeps coming in in these difficult times.
Here’s Jared Myland, boss of OK Comics in Leeds, a great comic shop here in the UK, talking about a few of the problems faced by all shops right now…
“If you haven’t had anything from us for a little while, please email and we’ll arrange delivery. A few people have suggested that they’d like to wait until we reopen before getting their order.
This is killing us!
We don’t have the space to store multiple months worth of stock, and we certainly don’t have the funds available to pay multiple months of stock bills while un-purchased orders pile up!”
And he’s absolutely right – you cannot just leave all that uncollected, unpaid for order sitting in the shop – they need the money in their hands right now, to pay the bills, to get more stock, to keep going.
We will get through all of this, there’s already a big chink of light at the end of this very long tunnel. But we need to pull together as well, and some of that means looking after your comic shops the way they look after you.