ComicsPRO is the only trade organization dedicated to the progress of direct market comic book retailers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

ComicsPRO directors elected

LAS VEGAS — Gary Dills, Amanda Fisher and Phil Boyle were named to the three ComicsPRO director positions up for election this year at the annual meeting.
Fisher, of Muse Comics in Missoula, Mont., and Dills, of Phoenix Comics in Sterling, Va., were re-elected to the board. Boyle, of Coliseum of Comics of Orlando, Fla., joins the board for the first time.

Outgoing director Michael Drivas, who did not seek re-election, is from Big Brain Comics in Minneapolis, Minn.

Fisher thanked Drivas for his years of hard work, and for being a member of the founding board of ComicsPRO.

More information about the incoming directors:

Gary Dills is co-owner of Phoenix Comics & Toys in Virginia and The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio, and he has worked in the Direct Market since 1994. Gary was a member of the ComicsPRO Founding Board and provided the organization with a startup loan to help make the trade association a reality. He is also a member of the Free Comic Book Day advisory board and a frequent poster to the Comic Book Industry Alliance forum, sharing his insights into comics retailing to help other retailers improve their businesses. Gary serves as Chair on the ComicsPRO Outreach Committee, supervising ComicsPRO’s presence at trade shows and conventions, Chair of the Nominating Committee, overseeing new board member elections, and Chair of the Staffing Committee, managing the development of ComicsPRO’s paid staff positions.

As part of the Founding Board, Amanda Fisher did the legwork for the creation of ComicsPRO as a nonprofit organization. She is the Chair of the Membership Committee, handling new applications and member files. Amanda began her career in comics at the age of 16, working at The Splash Page in Billings, MT. She helped open a second Splash Page location in Missoula at age 18, and became the manager of that store in 1998. In 2001, Amanda bought the Missoula store with a partner and renamed it Muse Comics. Amanda opened a second Muse Comics location in downtown Missoula in 2006. She has written articles for “Comics & Games Retailer” and is a member of the Free Comic Book Day advisory board. She was recently hired as the ComicsPRO Communications Coordinator, the organization’s first paid staff position, handling its corporate, administrative and outreach work. She is deeply committed to the success of comic book retailers, and her focus within ComicsPRO is finding ways for members to improve their stores.

Phil Boyle opened Coliseum of Comics in 1983. During the quarter century Phil has overseen the expansion of Coliseum into a chain of stores that runs coast to coast in Florida. Among the stores there is a mix of city, rural, and mall stores. Stores range in size from 5000 sq ft to 830 sq ft, which gives Coliseum a unique view of stores of all sizes and markets. Phil has been a member of DC Comics’ RRP since its inception, has worked on advisory panels for publishers, manufacturers and distributors, and serves on the ComicsPRO mentoring board hosted on Delphi. Phil writes the somewhat monthly column Comics Arena for Comics & Games Retailer magazine. Phil’s current projects working with ComicsPRO are creating a program for having retailers paid for dealing with inserts; working with the position papers committee, and writing a position paper for late comics.

The remaining board members are Joe Field, Chris Powell, Brian Hibbs, Carr D’Angelo, Rick Lowell and Ben Trujillo.

-- Matt Price

Thursday, March 20, 2008

24 Hour Comic Book Day planned for fall

LAS VEGAS — Rick Lowell, chairman of the 24 Hour Comic Book Day Committee for ComicsPRO, tentatively announced a fall date for this year’s event.
The 24 Hour Comic Book Day event allows cartoonists across the country to attempt to create a 24-page comic book in 24 hours at comic book stores and other locations.
As previously announced, ComicsPRO will take over the administration of 24 Hour Comic Book Day in 2008.
“It’s a great way to reach out to our communities and show that comic-book stores are something beyond what they think they are,” Lowell said.
A full press release and date announcement are forthcoming, Lowell said.

-- Matt Price

"Full Steam Ahead"

ComicsPRO president Joe Field kicked off the first session of the 2008 ComicsPRO annual meeting, with a theme of “Full Steam Ahead.”

Field made a call to action among the members.

Field exhorted current members to recruit new members to the org, to raise awareness and funds. He called for more volunteerism among members, as well.

It’s a crucial time for the comics specialty market, Field said, as the economy slumps and media technology moves forward at a breakneck pace. Comics have traditionally been safe in faltering economies, but Field warned that changing price models in comics and other media could alter that conventional wisdom this time around. But while there are challenges, there is continuing and growing interest in graphic novels and comic books. Now is the time for the comics industry to move forward, Field said — full steam ahead.

-- Matt Price

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Vegas Meeting Schedule & Final Call for Retailer Attendees

March 6, 2008

Joe Field, ComicsPRO President,
Chris Powell, President Pro Tem,
Amanda Fisher, Communications Coordinator,

ComicsPRO, the Comics Professional Retail Organization, returns to Las Vegas March 19-21 at the Texas Station Hotel and Casino for its second annual members’ meeting and trade event. All direct market comic specialty retailers are encouraged to attend.

Hotel reservations are available by calling the Texas Station Hotel and Casino Reservations Department at 1-800-654-8888. Attendee registration information is available at

2008 ComicsPRO Membership meeting Schedule:

Wednesday March 19
4:00PM, 5:00, 6:30, 8:00, 9:30 Free Airport Shuttle Pickups at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, sponsored by Cartoon Books

7PM--- Informal "Meet & Greet" for early arriving attendees.

Thursday March 20
All Day

Hospitality Suite --- sponsored by Slave Labor Graphics

POS System Demonstrations from Bitter End Systems (MOBY Point-of-Sale) and Diamond Comic Distributors (Microsoft RMS with ComicSuite)

10:30 – Noon
Opening Session (Full & Associate Members only)

Noon – 2:00
Lunch sponsored by Diamond Comics Distributors & Alliance Games Distribution

2:00 – 3:30
After-Lunch Session (Full & Associate Members only) includes announcement of election results, introduction of new Directors and member discussions

3:30 – 4:30
Position Papers (Full & Associate Members only) --- discussion of past position papers and possible future position papers

4:30 – 5:30
Industry discussion with attending publishers and distributors

5:30 – 6:00

6:00 – 7:00
"Streetfighting" with Allan Caplan--- The marketing master behind Inkworks Cards shares from his lifetime of experience in retail marketing.

7:00 – 9:00
Dinner sponsored by DC Comics

Friday March 21
All Day

Hospitality Suite --- sponsored by Slave Labor Graphics

POS System Demonstrations from Bitter End Systems (MOBY Point-of-Sale) and Diamond Comic Distributors (Microsoft RMS with ComicSuite)

8:00 – 9:30
Breakfast sponsored by Graphitti Designs

9:30 – 10:15
Sponsor Presentations from Graphitti Designs and Cartoon Books (Full and Associate Members only)

10:15 – 11:00
Non-Profit Presentations from Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The HERO Initiative

11:00 – Noon
Changing Perceptions---Industry Public Relations: How can we change the perception of our industry? Facilitated by Joe Field, Flying Colors Comics (Concord CA)

Store Fixtures---Sources & strategies for outfitting your retail space. Facilitated by Rick Lowell, Casablanca Comics (Portland ME)

Noon – 2:00
Lunch sponsored by Bitter End Systems – MOBY POS

2:00 – 3:00
POS System Discussion --- What is your store looking for in a Point-of-Sale system? The designers of two comics industry-specific systems, Mark Richman from Bitter End Systems and Mark Winsor and Cheryl Sleboda from Diamond Comic Distributors will be available to listen to suggestions and answer questions. Facilitated by Gary Dills, Phoenix Comics (Herndon VA)

3:00 – 4:00
"Covering Your Assets" Tips on insuring a small business by Jim Camburn from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)

Selling on the Internet--- Methods for selling online and concerns about online selling. Facilitated by Amanda Fisher, Muse Comics (Missoula MT)

"Who Are Your Customers?" Studying demographics, methods of data collection, using your data and determining "target" customers. Facilitated by Benjamin Trujillo, Star Clipper (St. Louis MO)

4:00 – 5:00
Managing Your Business Effectively--- Tips on Managing Your Business Effectively by Bob Cushman from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)

Human Resources –Strategies, Policies and Procedures. Facilitated by Gary Dills

Marketing Programs--- Retailers share their marketing successes and failures. Facilitated by Joe Field

5:00 – 5:30

5:30 – 7:00
Working Together More Effectively--- an open discussion with attending publishers and distributors. Facilitated by Carr D’Angelo, Earth-2 Comics (Sherman Oaks CA)

7:00 – 9:00
Dinner & Closing Remarks Sponsored by Dynamite Entertainment & Top Cow Productions

Saturday March 22
8:30 AM, 10:00, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30
Free Airport Shuttle Pickups at Texas Station, sponsored by Cartoon Books

"ComicsPRO is pleased that representatives from other companies will also be attending, including Dark Horse Comics and Marvel Comics, " said Joe Field, ComicsPRO President. "With the active involvement of dozens of retailers and other comics business professionals, we have all the right ingredients for a very productive meeting."

ComicsPRO President Pro-Tem Chris Powell, whose duties include strategy and planning for the membership meeting, noted "I’m thrilled with the schedule we have arranged for the meeting. We’re devoting a great deal of time to roundtables and discussions that our members have expressed an interest in, and we’ll also have several informative presentations from our guest speakers. With last year’s first Annual Meeting such a great success and learning experience, I believe attending retailers and our business partners will take even more home from this year’s meeting."

ComicsPRO’s mission:
* For direct market retailers to speak with a single, strong voice on important industry issues,
* To provide educational and mentoring opportunities to current and future retailers with the goal of growing the comics specialty market
* To offer benefits that will reduce some of the fixed costs that all direct market retailers incur.

Information is available at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ComicsPRO to Spearhead 24 Hour Comics Day

March 4, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact: Joe Field,
Rick Lowell,

In a move that furthers its mission to expand the comics market, the board of directors of the direct market retailer trade group ComicsPRO is assuming the organization and facilitation of 24 Hour Comics Day ("24HCD"), the annual comics creation event started by About Comics publisher Nat Gertler.

24HCD is a scheduled challenge during which single artists attempt to create a full 24 page comic story in 24 consecutive hours. Past 24HCD events have seen comic pros and aspiring cartoonists participate at special events in comic book stores and other venues around the world. ComicsPRO is taking over the administration of 24HCD as a way to support the creation of new comics material and also to promote and support comics retailers. Past 24HCD events have generated substantial press coverage for participating cartoonists and retailers. The event also gives retailers a creative way to get involved with public schools, libraries, universities, and local art communities.

Additionally, Ohio State University will house all of the submitted 24 Hour comics entries, providing a permanent home to 24HCD archives within its Cartoon Research Library, which already boasts a large collection of original art and regular comic art exhibits.

ComicsPRO will announce the specific date of 2008’s 24 Hour Comics Day soon.

ComicsPRO board member Rick Lowell (Casablanca Comics, Portland ME) said, "Our store has participated in 24HCD since its inception, and the event has always generated a great amount of local press as well as national press. We’ve partnered with arts venues in the city to expose comics to a much wider audience. The opportunity for stores to reach out to the public with such events is important for the continued health and growth of the comics market. With ComicsPRO's involvement in managing this event, that opportunity should continue for years to come."

"I have a lot of respect for the individual retailers who founded ComicsPRO. The participation of comic book retailers – including many ComicsPRO members – has been key to 24 Hour Comics Day's success," said Nat Gertler, founder of 24 Hour Comics Day and publisher of the About Comics line. "We had a number of fine people and organizations eager to help 24 Hour Comics Day continue to grow, and I'd like to thank FX International, the Minnesota Cartoonist Conspiracy, and Pittsburgh's Toonseum for their willingness and passion in supporting comics creation. I'm proud of how quickly this event has grown, and look forward to seeing it continue to grow with the additional abilities that ComicsPRO brings. But the best part of not having to manage 24 Hour Comics Day is that now I'm free to participate in 24 Hour Comics Day!"

Nat Gertler’s About Comics is a small but diverse comics publisher and packager, best known for publications including a series of 24 Hour Comics trade paperbacks, collections of the work of creators ranging from Kurt Busiek to Charles M. Schulz, and Panel One and Panel Two, books of comic book scripts by top writers.

ComicsPRO, the Comics Professional Retailers Organization, is the only trade organization dedicated to the progress of direct market comic book retailers. ComicsPRO represents a membership of more than 100 comic specialty retail companies comprising more than 140 storefronts. Retailers interested in helping to secure a stronger future for the comics specialty market are encouraged to join.

More information and membership applications are available at

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