With recent events already having a notable impact on comics retail, our friends and collaborative partners at London’s Gosh! Comics have sent us this open letter to comics readers about what they can do to help support their local stores in these difficult times. It’s signed by a large number of comics shops (all of whom we’ve linked to at the bottom so you can help them directly) and lists practical ways in which you can continue to help your favorite shops in the short-term.
We have always believed passionately in the power of comics community here at BF and in the irreplaceable value of shops as community hubs. Now more than ever we need to be recognising that. So take a look at the steps outlined below. If you can help with direct support then please do. Or share this open letter on your social media accounts and get the message out there. Every little thing is so important at the moment and this a chance to come together once again as a community and support each other.
An Open Letter to Comic Readers
We’d like to take a moment to speak to you all as retailers in this medium that we all so dearly love. We are in unprecedented times, and the struggle ahead of us all has yet to even be fully measured, let alone prepared for. We as retailers are already beginning to feel the pressure of what is happening, and over the course the months and possibly years to come, many of us will be struggling to survive.
We have received many messages of support, and are overwhelmed by the efforts people have made to make purchases with us over the last couple of weeks as things have developed. People have come in to collect when they are able, and have arranged mail orders when they are not. It is all greatly appreciated, and we, as an industry need you. We know that it is difficult for us all right now, with worries around jobs, money and of course most importantly the health of ourselves and our loved ones.
Many have asked us what you can do to help us through this time, and we would like to take the time to suggest the following:
- Start a standing order if you don’t have one, and add to it if you do. If you’re someone who pulls from the shelf each week, or you like to grab a few things to supplement your order, please let the store know what you would like. The greater degree of certainty with which we can place our orders right now, the greater our chances of making it through this. Use sites which give upcoming release information such as https://www.previewsworld.com/, http://www.comiclist.com/php or your local store’s own release information to give us as much advance information as possible about what you would like.
- Please clear your order at least once a month. In person if you can, or by mail order if you cannot. Cashflow is absolutely crucial to us at this time as bills fall due, and by making a purchase once a month you help us to meet our obligations to staff, landlords and suppliers. If we go into complete lockdown and stores are unable to fulfill mail orders, please consider buying vouchers or the like to the value you would estimate your comics to be. Again, this will help us massively, not to mention ensure you don’t have a massive backlog when we reopen.
- Any little extras you can order will help. Stores have an inventory sitting on the shelves that isn’t doing much right now. Any extra orders of a book here or a back issue there in addition to your standing order will help. Do you have a wants list? Send it through!
- Please signal boost us on social media. Most stores are constantly putting out information, offers, pleas and so on. As much attention as you can bring our way is appreciated.
- And above all, please be patient with us. Many of us are now operating with reduced staff, reduced hours and reduced access to our stores. We may encounter shipping issues, stock supply issues and more. A little kindness and forbearance will go a long way towards helping us all get through this with our mental and physical health intact. Please bear with us if there are delays in getting product shipped, or irregular product deliveries. Rest assured, we’re doing our absolute best.
We know we’re asking a lot. But we believe in this medium, and we believe in the role of comic shops as an important community hub. Ours is an underappreciated medium, and having a place where we can all be united in our love for this unique, powerful means of storytelling matters. Having a place where we can be exposed to new stories matters. Having a place where we can learn about the history of comics matters. And having a place where we can meet, make friends, escape from the daily grind and even just talk a bit of frivolous nonsense about superheroes matters. Please help us preserve this industry so we can continue to give you that place when this crisis is over.
And of course, all the best to you all. We’re all in this together. Be kind. Be patient. Be helpful. Be considerate.
Gosh! Comics, London, UK
Big Bang Comics, Dublin, Ireland
Close Encounters, Bedford, Northampton, Peterborough, UK
Comix Experience, San Francisco, USA
Impact Comics, Canberra Australia
Tilt Comics, Athens, Greece
Comic City, Canton, W. Bloomfield, Pontiac, (Detroit) Michigan, USA
The Comix Shoppe, Swansea, UK
Generation X Comics & Games, Bedford, Tx, USA
Blue Ox Games, Greenville, NC, USA
Bridge City Comics, Portland, OR, USA
Alternate Reality Comics Las Vegas, NV, USA
Golden Eagle Comics & Games, Reading, PA, USA
Titan Comics, Dallas Texas, USA
Hooked on Comics, Lebanon PA, USA
Comics Conspiracy, Sunnyvale, California, USA
Strange Adventures, Halifax & Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Strange Adventures, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Comic Hero University, Fullerton, CA, USA
Impulse Creations Comics & Collectibles, Tulsa, OK, USA
Arkham Comics & Games, Pearland, TX, USA
Bridge City Comics, Portland, OR, USA
Mighty Moose Comics, Bellevue, Washington, USA
Comic Envy Asheville NC, USA
Cosmic Monkey Comics, Portland Oregon, USA
Time Warp Comics, Boulder, Colorado, USA
JHU Comic Books, NYC, USA
Automattic Comics & Toys, Corsham, UK
Aw Yeah Comics, Muncie, IN, USA
Cape and Cowl Comics, Oakland, CA, USA
Dr. No’s Comics & Games SuperStore, Marietta GA, USA
Galaxy Comics, Saginaw, MI, USA
Big Planet Comics, Bethesda, MD, College Park, MD, Vienna, VA, Washington, DC, USA
Zeppelin Comics – Benicia, CA, USA
Big Adventure Comics, Santa Fe, NM, USA
Twilight Comics, Swansea, IL, USA
Casablanca Comics, Portland, Maine, USA
Gobsmack Comics, Horsham, UK
Double Midnight Comics Manchester NH, USA