8/21/12

Where To Sell Your Mini Comics


The following is a guest post by Evelyn Tate, with subject matter & stores suggested by yours truly. Enjoy!

When Love For Art Prevails Over ˝Cash-In˝ Desire, Mini Comics Are Born
In every art form, there are two types of people: there are those who cash in, and then there are those who are broke! In the music world, pop and mainstream music are an example of those who cash in. Of course, there is also the jealous bunch who will tell you that there is no real artistry where the money is. They will come at you with pitchforks and torches yelling how these “mainstream” artists have sold out from the art. We all know that no one will say no to a few dollars, and we all wish to create the next big thing.

Kevin Cannon's "Beard Hero" mini comic


When You Expect ˝NO˝ When Asking for Shelf Space for Your Mini, You Are Probably Right
Our world of comics isn’t that different. Only thing is, instead of mix-tapes and self-published You Tube videos (where Justin Bieber was discovered) we have mini comics. Say what you will, but these comics represent the truest form of artistic expression that comics have. They form beautiful channels of expression and creativity. What is so great  about them is that you can find any sort of content and style you are looking for. From dark humor, mystery stories, simple sketching, complicated composite drawings, squiggles of almost incoherent lines and so many other artistic elements all within the pages of these free expression comics.

While some of us do this purely for the love of the art, there are those who want to share or cash in on their comics. Anyone who has ever tried to sell their own comic knows that it really is an uphill battle. The brutal truth is that there are not many people who will go out of their way to look through the piles of mini comics in their local comic store. Why should they anyway? Who knows if you even have content that is worth their hard earned two bucks? If you are trying to sell your mini comics, you should probably read what Alex Cox has to say about it. Although he closed the doors to Rocketship a few years ago, his advice remains valid. 

A comic shop is not like a soup kitchen; it needs to make sales to stay afloat! That is why they most likely won’t give you a second thought about giving up space on their shelves for your mini comics. What’s more, even those that honestly want to help you out have costs to think about, too. No matter how good hearted they are, at the end of the month when the landlord comes knocking, he doesn’t want excuses. His landlord insurance doesn’t cover broke comic stores with an affinity for helping mini comic artists! Accolades are due to comic shops that actually give space to this art form.

R.I.P., Rocketship - It was fun while it lasted!

When You Expect ˝NO˝ When Asking for Shelf Space for Your Mini, You Might Be in For a Huge Surprise
In a time when artists are turning to the web to provide greater publicity, giving up your shelf space is a real sacrifice. Some of these comic retailers that have taken their space to showcase mini comics in their stores, still stand proud, though.

If you live in New York City, Forbidden Planet (check out their new location!) and Jim Hanley’s Universe are great spots to check out mini comics. Across the bridge, Desert Island in Brooklyn also ensures that mini comics see the light of day. Owner, Gabe Fowler, is also one of the founders of the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival.

Forbidden Planet's new digs
JHU storefront (photo by Garrett Kling)
Desert Island (photo borrowed from an interview with Gabe Fowler in Readymade Magazine)

We all love the traditional brick and mortar comic stores; there’s just something authentic about them. What makes them even better is when they carry your favorite editions and a huge section of mini comics, like Quimby's and sister store, Chicago Comics, does. 

Quimby's - oh, how we love that logo by Chris Ware (photo by Wonkavision)
Chicago Comics storefront (photo from The Cool Kids Table blog)

In Baltimore, Atomic Books in Maryland has a section devoted to mini comics (and  zines). They are not a comic store in the strictest sense of the word, but they give plenty of space to DIY mini comics and even occasionally publish their own ("Mutant Funnies"). Owner, Benn Ray, encourages self-publishing through his The Revenge Of Print group 

Atomic Books storefront (photo from Atticus Books blog)

Jason Leivian’s Floating World in Portland, Oregon is also worth checking out if you are in that area. They have a stylish place with a lot of comics on offer. However, it is Jason’s love for the little guy of art that is especially inspiring. You can check out their collection ofmini comics and even pop in for their exhibitions when they are up.

Floating World (photo from here)

Laughing Ogre, which has locations in Columbus, Ohio and Virginia is also worth mentioning. The traditional image of a geeky, messy area is put to shame here with their large, ultra-organized shelving. They have a great array of comics, including local mini comics that you can look through.


The Laughing Ogre (photo from Flavorwire)

There are so many other shops across the country, and indeed across the world that could be mentioned. Austin BooksThe Secret HeadquartersHouse of Secrets and many other shops give mini comics even a small chance. Wherever your shop is, thank you for giving these artists a chance. You never know, you might be stocking the next big thing.

If you live near these comic shops, please go and support them. Take a few minutes to go through their mini comics instead of rushing for the latest edition of The Avengers. It won’t cost you a lot to buy an interesting mini comic, they are usually cheap anyway. Let’s support these unsung heroes in their labor of love. You can also attend mini comic events, such as the Mini Comics Day or any of the great mini-centric festivals where you can meet the artists face to face (MoCCASPXCAKESTAPLEAPESTUMPTOWNTCAFBC&GF, etc., etc.)

* If you know of a retailer that deserves recognition for carrying handmade comics, please give 'em a shout-out in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Star Clipper in St. Louis as a pretty reasonable section of indies pubs and mini comics - and they stock them cover out which is pretty awesome!

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