Best of 2020

Although the Lounge is no longer actively selling new material (we work with our retail partner ALL NEW COMICS, INC.) I’m still a reader and follower of new comics. I’ve continued to maintain my best of lists, entirely subjective, and post them here on the Comic Book Lounge website.

It’s been certainly one of the oddest years, especially when most people I know had huge chunks of the year when they couldn’t actually go into a comic shop, and since early March there haven’t really been any comic cons at which we meet and assemble. At least we have social media on which we can disagree (and occasionally agree) on what we like.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to us, but I am optimistic we’ll see some semblance of what we had a year ago back again in 2021. I hope our shops can weather through the latest COVID-19 induced storm and please, if you have a pull list, comics ARE coming out and if your shop isn’t open for walk-in, chances are they still want you to come and get your pull list books via curbside pick-up or delivery. They need you to maintain and keep revenue flowing, as they still have bills to pay for those comics at the very least.

I’m finding myself, as an old fogey over the age of 50, skewing towards the past more than the future with my book orders but that doesn’t mean I’m not watching and seeking the well reviewed books and supporting the new work by creators whose work I enjoy, and looking for my next favorite new talent. Proud to see many young talents whose work I’ve encountered through our conventions moving up and into the big leagues and wish everyone a strong 2021.

2020 Best of Serialized Comics

I skip so many periodicals, waiting for the trade – but I do get Marvel books and the occasional DC and other periodicals as single issues. Unfortunately not enough to qualify for any kind of best of list, especially considering I have hundreds of Marvel comics on my iPad yet to read. However, some periodical comics and one shots I enjoyed:

DC – highlights include: Batman: The Adventures Continue, Rorschach, Green Lantern, Shazam!, 80th Anniversary Specials (Robin, Catwoman, Joker, Green Lantern), Detective Comics 1027

Marvel – highlights among the regular series include: Immortal Hulk, Thor, Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Savage Avengers, Venom, Daredevil

Misc.- The Cimmerian: Red Nails (Ablaze), Mtsyry: Octobriana 1976 (Adhouse Books), Solid Blood (Image), Walking Dead: Negan Special (Image)

2020 best of Comics History / Illustration / Biographies

#5 – Comics Ad Men

#4 – The World of TwoMorrows

#3 – Austin Briggs: The Consummate Illustrator

#2 – Masters of British Comic Art

#1 – Ditko Shrugged

2020 best of Comic Art Books

Honourable Mention: (not comics) The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian

#5 – The Art of Frank Cho: A Twenty-Year Retrospective

#4 – Big Tease: A Naughty and Nice Collection by Bruce Timm

#3 – Batman: The Animated Series by the Phantom City Collective

#2 – Dave Cockrum X-Men Artisan Edition

#1 – Michael Golden The Micronauts Artist’s Edition

2020 Best of Collected Editions – New Material

#10 The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage HC by Jeff Lemire, Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz (DC)

#9 Adventureman HC by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson (Image)

#8 Batman: Curse of the White Knight HC by Sean Gordon Murphy (DC)

#7 History of the Marvel Universe Treasury Edition by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez (Marvel)

#6 Batman: Three Jokers HC by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok (DC)

#5 Doomsday Clock TPB by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank (DC)

#4 Batman Universe HC by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derrington (DC)

#3 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. IV: The Tempest HC by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill (IDW/Top Shelf)

#2 Once and Future Volumes 1 and 2 TPBs by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora (Boom!)

#1 Criminal Vol. 3 Deluxe and Cruel Summer Hardcovers by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

2020 Best of Collected Editions – Source Material published prior to 2018

#10 – Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner HC (DC)

#9 – Man of Steel Volume 1 HC (DC)

#8 – Power of Shazam HC (DC)

#7 – The Incredible Hulk by Peter David Omnibus HC Vols 1 and 2 (Marvel)

#6 – Timely’s Greatest: The Golden Age Sub-Mariner by Bill Everett The Post-War Years Omnibus HC (Marvel)

#5 – Plastic Man: Rubber Banded – The Deluxe Edition by Kyle Baker and Scott Morse HC (DC)

#4 – Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne Omnibus HC (Marvel)

#3 – Wrath of the Spectre Omnibus HC (DC)

#2 – Absolute Swamp Thing Volume 2 HC (DC)

#1 – The Complete Hate (Fantagraphics) Slipcase HC Set

2020 Best of New Graphic Novels

To be honest, this list skews very Canadian, and it’s tough to rank these.

#10 Blackhand and Ironhead by David Lopez (Image)

#9 To Know You’re Alive by Dakota McFadzean (Conundrum)

#8 Eat and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo (Boom!)

#7 Titan by Francois Vigneault (Oni Press)

#6 Camp Spirit and What if We Were by Axelle Noir (IDW/Top Shelf)

#5 Fire Power by Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee (Image)

#4 Pulp and Reckless Hardcovers by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image Comics)

#3 Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams HC by Michael Allred, Steve Horton and Laura Allred (Insight Comics)

#2 Bix HC by Scott Chantler (Gallery 13)

#1 Paul at Home GN by Michel Rabagliati (D+Q)

Books Available January 2021

These are the books we currently have in stock, sorted by Publisher, then Title. For the sake of pricing we’ve included the original US price. That’s not your final purchase price, let us know what you are interested in and we’ll do a condition check and provide our best price. In the case of some Out of Print books we may price to market. Please contact me at Kevin@comicbooklounge.com to inquire. For items to be shipped we will quote actual shipping cost based on size and weight but will need your postal code and city/town for the estimate. Happy Hunting!

TITLEPublisherCover PriceFormat Language
Goldtiger: The Poseidon Complex (the secret history of the 60’s greatest unseen comic)2000 AD$24.99TP Trade PaperbackEnglish
Cerebus Vol. 2: High Society Gold Logo Signed and Numbered Edition 608/850Aardvark-Vanaheim$39.99TPEnglish
Eric Powell Coloring BookAlbatross Funnybooks$10.99TPEnglish
Doctor Who: The Official DoctionaryBBC Books$16.99HC HardcoverEnglish
Brok Windsor (Kickstarter numbered edition #55)Bedside Press$24.99HCEnglish
Adventure Time Mathematical Edition Volume 4Boom!$34.99Oversized HCEnglish
Adventure Time presents Marceline and the Scream QueensBoom!$39.99Oversized HCEnglish
Adventure Time with Fionna and CakeBoom!$39.99Oversized HCEnglish
Kong of Skull Island Volume 1 Boom!$16.99TPEnglish
Doc Frankenstein Vol 1: The Messiah of Science ResurrectedBurleyman$16.99TPEnglish
Sam Keith: Samplings and DrawingsCartoon Art Museum$19.99TPEnglish
Morton: A Cross Country Rail JourneyConundrum Press$20.00TPEnglish
Paul Joins the ScoutsConundrum Press$19.99TPEnglish
Paul Up NorthConundrum Press$19.99TPEnglish
Paul: The Song of RolandConundrum Press$19.99TPEnglish
Angel Catbird Volume 1Dark Horse$14.99HCEnglish
Blacksad: AmarilloDark Horse$17.99HCEnglish
Essential Kurtzman Vol. 1: Jungle BookDark Horse$24.99HCEnglish
Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card Dark HorseON HOLDHCEnglish
The Art of Masters of the Universe Limited Edition SetDark Horse$129.99Slipcase HCEnglish
100 Bullets Volume 7: SamuraiDC$12.95TPEnglish
Avengers Kree/Skrull WarDC$34.99Oversized HCEnglish
Batman (1989 Movie Adaptation)DCSOLDPF Prestige FormatEnglish
Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (Court of Owls/City of Owls/Death of the Family)DC$49.99Slipcase TPEnglish
Batman Volume 9: BloomDC$24.99HCEnglish
Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark KnightDC$12.95TPEnglish
Batman: Full CircleDC$5.95PFEnglish
Batman: Haunted KnightDC$14.95TPEnglish
Blackhawk 1-3DC$8.85PFEnglish
Camelot 3000DC$34.99Oversized HCEnglish
ChaseDC$29.99TPEnglish
Coloring DC Harley Quinn and the Suicide SquadDC$15.99TPEnglish
Coloring DC SupergirlDC$15.99TPEnglish
Coloring DC Wonder WomanDC$15.99TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering ComicsDC$22.95TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Creating ComicsDC$24.95TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Digitaly Drawing ComicsDC$22.95TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Inking ComicsDC$22.95TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Pencilling ComicsDC$22.95TPEnglish
DC Comics Guide to Writing ComicsDC$22.95TPEnglish
Detective Comics: 80 Years of BatmanDC$29.99Oversized HCEnglish
Harley Quinn and Poison IvyDC$24.99HCEnglish
Justice League Vol 7: The Darkseid War Part OneDC$24.99HCEnglish
Justice League Vol 8: The Darkseid War Part TwoDC$24.99HCEnglish
Naomi Season OneDC$19.99HCEnglish
Nightwing: FreefallDC$17.99TPEnglish
Superman Inc.DC$5.95PFEnglish
Superman: KalDC$5.95PFEnglish
Superman: The Golden Age Volume OneDC$19.99TPEnglish
The Flash: The Return of Barry Allen TPDC$17.95TPEnglish
The Omega Men: The End is HereDC$24.99TPEnglish
The Spectre: Crimes and Punishment (Glow in the Dark Cover)DC$9.95TPEnglish
Wrath of the SpectreDC$19.99TPEnglish
Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover ArtDK/MarvelSOLDSlipcase HCEnglish
Spider-Man Chronicles: Celebrating 50 Years of Web-SlingingDK/Marvel$50.00HCEnglish
Grumpy Cat (and Pokey!)Dynamite$12.99HCEnglish
Peter Cannon: ThunderboltDynamite$29.99HCEnglish
TitanEditions Pow Pow$19.99TPFrench
Butterscotch 2 (Adults only)Eurotica$10.95TPEnglish
Click (Adults only)Eurotica$9.95TPEnglish
Click 2 (Adults only)Eurotica$12.95TPEnglish
Complete Buddy Bradley Stories Vol.3 Buddy Buys a DumpFantagraphics$19.99TPEnglish
PatienceFantagraphics$29.99HCEnglish
HiddenFirst Second$16.99HCEnglish
Sailor TwainFirst Second$24.99HCEnglish
The SculptorFirst Second$29.99HCEnglish
Mark Schultz: Carbon Volume 1Flesk$24.99TPEnglish
Mark Schultz: Various Drawings Volume 4Flesk$29.99HCEnglish
The Nexus ChroniclesFlesk$50.00HCEnglish
World of Pop! Volume 3Funko$29.99HCEnglish
Overstreet Comic Book Marketplace Yearbook 2014/2015Gemstone$12.95TPEnglish
Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics Gemstone$24.95TPEnglish
Danger Girl Permission to Thrill Coloring BookIDW$9.99TPEnglish
Farscape: The War for the Uncharted TerritoriesIDW$29.99TPEnglish
Genius, Animated: The Life and Art of Alex TothIDWSOLDHCEnglish
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex TothIDWSOLDHCEnglish
Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex TothIDWSOLDHCEnglish
Gil Kane’s Undersea AgentIDW$17.99Oversized HCEnglish
Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las VegasIDW$24.99HCEnglish
Sergio Aragones Groo the Wanderer Artist’s EditionIDW$150.00HCEnglish
Worlds of Sam KeithIDW$49.99HCEnglish
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate CollectionIDW Limited$199.99Slipcase HCEnglish
Black Magick Volume 1: AwakeningImage$9.99TPEnglish
Chrononauts Volume 2Image$14.99TPEnglish
Glory: The Complete SagaImage$34.99HCEnglish
Jupiter’s Legacy Book TwoImage$16.99TPEnglish
Monstress Volume 1: AwakeningImage$9.99TPEnglish
Nixon’s PalsImage$19.99Oversized HCEnglish
Paper Girls Volume 2Image$12.99TPEnglish
The Art of Charlie AdlardImage$SOLDHCEnglish
The Goddamned Book One: Before the FloodImage$9.99TPEnglish
The Walking Dead Coloring BookImage$14.99TPEnglish
Undiscovered CountryImage$9.99TPEnglish
Bill (Finger) the Boy WonderJunior Library Guild$17.95HCEnglish
ParisKnockabout $23.99TPEnglish
Crawl SpaceKoyama Press$19.95HCEnglish
Paul au ParcLa Pasteque$19.99TPFrench
The Rise and Fall of AxiomLegendary$19.99TPEnglish
Adventures of Captain America Marvel$34.99TPEnglish
Avengers: StandoffMarvel$24.99HCEnglish
Black Widow: The Sting of the WidowMarvel$24.99HCEnglish
Black Widow: Web of IntrigueMarvel$24.99HCEnglish
Cloak and Dagger: Crime and PunishmentMarvel$29.99HCEnglish
Color Your Own Civil WarMarvel$9.99TPEnglish
Color Your Own: Age of Ultron featuring the AvengersMarvel$9.99TPEnglish
Ka-Zar: Savage DawnMarvel$15.99TPEnglish
Klaws of the PantherMarvel$14.99TPEnglish
Marvel Firsts: The 1980’sMarvel$39.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Excalibur by Alan Davis Volume 2Marvel$24.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Excalibur by Alan Davis Volume 21Marvel$24.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by John ByrneMarvel$24.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 1Marvel$19.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 2Marvel$19.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 3Marvel$19.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 6Marvel$29.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 7Marvel$29.99TPEnglish
Marvel Visionaries: Incredible Hulk by Peter David Volume 8Marvel$29.99TPEnglish
Namor Visionaries: John Byrne Vol. 1Marvel$24.99TPEnglish
Namor Visionaries: John Byrne Vol. 2Marvel$24.99TPEnglish
Official Index of the Marvel Universe: The Amazing Spider-Man Marvel$19.99TPEnglish
Sensational She-Hulk by John ByrneMarvel$24.99TPEnglish
Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne: The ReturnMarvel$39.99TPEnglish
Spider-Man vs Doctor Doom Marvel$6.95TPEnglish
Spider-Man: Chapter OneMarvel$34.99TPEnglish
Spider-Man: Maximum CarnageMarvel$29.99TPEnglish
Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister SixMarvel$29.99HCEnglish
Thanos: Infinity AbyssMarvel$24.99TPEnglish
The Art of Marvel Studios (4 Art books – Iron Man/Iron Man 2/Thor/Captain America)Marvel$150.00Slipcase HCEnglish
The Savage HulkMarvel$6.95PFEnglish
The Vision: Little Better than a Beast Volume 2Marvel$17.99TPEnglish
Venom: Deathtrap: The VaultMarvel$6.95PFEnglish
Wolverine: The Jungle AdventureMarvel$4.50PFEnglish
X-Men: Magik – Storma and IllyanaMarvel$19.99HCEnglish
Visionaries: Thor by Walter Simonson (Signed and Numbered 133/1500)Marvel Limited$69.95HCEnglish
Gullivera (Adults only)NBM$13.95TPEnglish
The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot’s VengeanceOni Press$17.99TPEnglish
FrankRenegade Arts Ent.$20.00HCEnglish
The Contemporary Illustrated Pin-UpSchiffer$34.99HCEnglish
SistersScholastic$10.99TPEnglish
Stranger Things Field GuideSmith Street Books$19.95HCEnglish
True Patriot: All New Canadian Comic Book AdventuresTrue Patriot Comics$19.99HCEnglish
American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950’s (1950-1959TwoMorrows$40.95HCEnglish
Grailpage: Original Comic Book Art and the CollectorsTwoMorrows$15.95TPEnglish
Modern Masters Vol. 29: Cliff ChiangTwoMorrows$15.95TPEnglish
The Best of From the TombTwoMorrows$27.95TPEnglish
Shadowman (1994)Valiant$9.95TPEnglish
Jeffrey Jones: The Definitive ReferenceVanguardSOLDTPEnglish
The Sensuous FrazettaVanguardSOLDTPEnglish

2020: Seeing Clearly During a Time of Change

Since March, comic conventions have ground to a halt, so our focus since 2015 – working on the comics section at Fan Expo HQ events across North America was severely impacted. While we had booked guests for all events leading right up to what would have been next weekend’s Fan Expo Canada event, the cancellation of those events has been a severe disappointment for me and for other members of the comics team.

While we continue to plan for the upcoming 2021 events, this has given me the opportunity to sort out our remaining stock as well as organize a number of collectible and comics related items that the Lounge has available but hasn’t been able to do anything with in 2020 – as there have been no comic con events (large or small) locally at which I can sell these items. So I’ve decided that, starting in September 2020 we’ll be reviving the Comic Book Lounge for online sales through Facebook, Kajiji and other avenues.

STAY TUNED

 

 

2019 Highlights

As we enter 2020, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favourite purchases from 2019.

Specifically:

  • collected editions
  • original graphic novels
  • art books
  • books on comics
  • artist’s/artisan editions
  • mini-series
  • ongoing series

Plus a publisher I think I’ll be watching closely in 2020…

Collected Editions (Classic Material)

Ditko is.. AMAZING! King Size (Marvel Comics) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

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Absolute Swamp Thing Vol. 1 (DC Comics) by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben with Rick Veitch, Shawn McManus and Dan Day

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Doc Frankenstein: The Post Modern Prometheus (Burlyman) by Lana and Lili Wachowski and Steve Skroce. Contains a final chapter not previously available.

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The Joker: Bronze Age Omnibus (DC Comics) by Jim Aparo and various. You can have your movie, this is the real Joker.

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Graphic Novels

When I Arrived at the Castle (Koyama Press) by Emily Carroll

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The Problem of Susan and Other Stories (Dark Horse) by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell with Scott Hampton, Paul Chadwick and Lovern Kindzierski

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O Josephine! (Fantagraphics) by Jason

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Books on Comics:

Jack Kirby Collector 75 presents Kirby and Lee: Stuf’ Said (TwoMorrows)

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Mac Raboy: Master of the Comics (TwoMorrows)

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Brain Bats of Venus: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton Vol. 2 1942-1952

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Artist’s and Artifact Editions

John Byrne’s Marvel Classics Artifact Edition (IDW)

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Jim Lee DC Legends Artifact Edition (IDW)

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Walt Simonson’s Star Wars Artist’s Edition (IDW)

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Art Books

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame – The Art of the Movie (Marvel)

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Hellboy: 25 Years of Covers (Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola and Others

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The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla (Archie)

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Mini-Series 

Superman: Year One (DC Comics) by Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr. with Danny Miki and Alex Sinclair

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest (IDW) by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

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Silver Surfer: Black (Marvel Comics) by Donny Cates and Tradd Moore

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Doomsday Clock (DC Comics) by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

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Ongoing Series

The Immortal Hulk (Marvel Comics) by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett and others

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Detective Comics (DC Comics) by Peter Tomasi, with Doug Mahnke and others

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Star Wars (Marvel) by Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta / Greg Pak and Phil Noto

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Publisher to Watch:

TKO Studios – if only their books were easier to get. 

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2019 Update

What is Kevthemev’s Comic Book Lounge?

Formerly a retail store in downtown Toronto that picked up the reins on College Street when the beloved Dragon Lady Comics and Nostalgia closed in 2012. The Lounge shop closed in the spring of 2015. Now it’s a philosophy that I apply to the services I provide. There is a Comic Book Lounge and Gallery, it’s just not open to the public.

Conventions

We are really keeping convention appearances where we set up a retail booth to a minimum – usually to the Toronto Comicon in March (the 2019 edition just wrapped a few days ago) and Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show in December. We still have some remaining inventory from the old store in storage that we’ve been bringing out on these special occasions. Occasionally you may find me at other local one day shows.

Comic Convention Consulting Services

The business is primarily providing exclusive convention consulting and organizing services to Informa Canada’s Fan Expo HQ division and in 2019 that includes these conventions:

  • Fan Expo Vancouver
  • Toronto Comicon
  • Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo
  • Fan Expo Dallas
  • MegaCon Orlando
  • Fan Expo Boston
  • Fan Expo Canada
  • Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo
  • Dallas Fan Days
  • Calgary Expo Holiday Market
  • Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show

In the past this has included additional events in Tampa (Megacon Tampa Bay) and Regina (Fan Expo Regina).

Services include booking sponsored comic book guests and screening applications for pro creator tables. Organizing seating, staffing, programming and schedules related to comic book creators. Advising on comic book related matters. I also have recently been screening artist alley applications to ensure that applicants meet the show requirements.

I also appeared regularly on the Fan Expo After Hours weekly podcast available on iTunes, soundcloud, stitcher and on video on youtube. While I was not on every week, it  depended on the topic and my work schedule. The show is currently on hiatus.

Joe Shuster Awards

I continue on as Director of the annual Joe Shuster Awards, founded in 2004.

 

Thoughts on Free Comic Book Day

I ran free comic book day events at the shop for three years – between 2012 and 2014 (we closed April 30th 2015 so our participation that fourth year were simply books dropped into the packages for delivery the following week.

I think it’s a great idea – new people do come to your shop, and generally it showcases your store and it’s a positive sales day, often it was my best sales day of the year. The more you showcase your retail shop by bringing in guests and having sales in various departments the bigger your traffic and sales potential.

Yesterday I decided to visit two Greater Toronto Area stores on FCBD. One did not partipate in FCBD and treated it like a normal Saturday.

For the two hours I was around the non-participating store I saw steady foot traffic and regular sales on normally priced items. The owner did nothing special to mark the day, but being downtown in a high traffic area on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon people were there and in the mood to spend some money. I certainly was and picked up some figures I was interested in adding to my collection. The FCBD model doesn’t really fit here, the majority of the store stock of comics were manga, and there’s very little FCBD material that fits or serves this audience.

Quite randomly as I was getting in my car to head home, Mike B. who used to work for me at the shop was walking by. He decided to join me on a drive out to Mississauga for what was definitely the biggest FCBD event in the city with multiple big name guests and a great selection of talented local artists.

Since my last visit this retailer doubled his floor space by renting the adjacent unit and opening up the wall between. It gave him floor space to add a large events area where the guests were sitting and new revenue streams like a candy shop, better displays for clothing, action figures and framed artwork. The store was packed when we got there (and things they say were even busier in the first few hours). The line-ups for the cashiers were long and people seemed to be buying. The artists all had great things to say about the day and were happy with the art commissions and sketches they had done.

Reading friends walls who live in the downtown core detailing their own FCBD adventures I was struck by something which did bother me a lot as a downtown Toronto retailer. While I think it’s great that people do the store crawl thing in the downtown core and visit multiple shops, it struck me as offensive (to me, as a consumer I understand why they don’t care) that people would go to comic shops to pick up the FCBD books (in the number allotments determined by each shop), but then would go and rave about the great deals and money they spent at the downtown discount semi-used bookstore chain.

I shop there from time to time, and I have many friends that work there, I’ve even offered them grading and pricing advice from time to time. But the discount semi-used bookstore chain (I say semi because one location has a Diamond account) was directly responsible, in my opinion for the decline in new book sales in the core shops after the Bloor Street location opened. I understand people want to pay the lowest price, but it is impossible to compete on new product sales when this store marked the same books down to slightly above cost. It meant reducing orders dramatically and lessening the risks. It forced us to specialize more on what did sell, and on the material the loyal customers wanted.

So to read people preferred spending money there after visiting comic book shops and taking the Free Comic Book Day books offends me as a former retailer. At a time when comic shops are struggling, that’s like a slap in the face in the retailers who spent time and money organizing FCBD events at their shops. It says we’re not competitive enough to be a proper alternative to the Amazons and discount book shops. People will come and take the free product you bought to get potential customers in the door, but they are walking out and buying discounted product at your non-FCBD participating competition.

Thankfully the stores I went to were clearly unaffected by the trials and tribulations that their downtown comic book store peers are facing. The first shop doesn’t sell the same material that the discount chains sell, so it remains a destination for people who want what it does have to offer – it doesn’t need the FCBD gimmick to draw people in. It has a devoted audience and they are coming anyway. The store that went big is in an area that doesn’t have the discount chain and has diversified – I’d still say trades and books were probably their slowest moving product line – with singles, toys, statues and candy being the prime movers. It also saw more families.

6th Anniversary of shop opening – 2/2012

This week marks the 6th Anniversary of the opening of the Comic Book Lounge + Gallery at 587A College Street which opened in early February 2012, picking up from Dragon Lady Comics, which closed in late January of that year. The Lounge’s retail location closed on May 1, 2015. Incidentally, Marvel’s Fantastic Four title officially came to an end the day two days before that.

 

2018 Update

familyguyNot much is happening with the Lounge these days, our remaining customers transitioned over to ALL NEW COMICS inc. last year. We still have a fairly large inventory of graphic novels that we bring out for sale at local events like the Toronto Comicon in March and Fan Expo Canada in late August/early September, and Toronto Fan Days in December.

I myself am very active with my consulting work as the Comics Relations Coordinator for Fan Expo HQ and their family of shows. That keeps me pretty busy year round and I travel to places like Vancouver, Dallas, Orlando, Boston, Tampa Bay and in 2018 to Calgary and Edmonton. I also coordinate the Joe Shuster Awards for Canadian comic book creators.

Some people have asked if we would ever reopen the Comic Book Lounge + Gallery as a retail store and the answer to that is pretty easy: no.

While the CBL+G was a fun experiment on College Street with our partners at the location between 2012 and 2015 – Guerrilla Printing, the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, Temple of Toys and Back Space Toronto the concept only works if all partners were doing well, and the realities of Toronto’s downtown retail situation – with high rents and traffic flow issues that ebbed and flowed due to construction, transit problems, Canadian weather and lack of downtown parking eventually caught up with us.  Good on those who are able to make it work, but I haven’t found a shop in Toronto that hasn’t had to suffer through variations of these problems and some other shops have followed us and also closed (or forced to close) or had to relocate and rethink their approach.

I think I was relatively lucky. Risk is high and rewards are low in this business. Unless you are playing the shell games associated with comics retail to try and generate revenues, people are buying less comics than they used to. Rather than analyze why that is, I’ll just say that the decline of sales meant shrinking orders, and shrinking orders meant less sales – to the point where you just have to focus on keeping your regulars happy, and even they start question their commitment and shift their orders or quit when the quality declines. This ultimately led to my decision not to try to relocate in the spring of 2015 and focus on maintaining orders – returning to Fan Expo HQ unexpectedly in the fall of 2015 meant making a decision that would ultimately benefit my loyal customers as well. I still look after them, but I don’t need to be active in the retail side and I could also end my relationship with Diamond, which was not positive in those final years.

And here we are, early 2018. The stock is paid for, there are no outstanding bills. I get to enjoy my comics each week.  All is good.

Kevin

 

 

 

 

Status update Spring 2017

Thanks for visiting the site.

As you know, our brick and mortar store closed two years ago (April 30, 2015). From May 2015 we provided orders and delivery/pick-up options to our existing customers who wanted to continue with us and continued to do conventions.

In October 2015 I was hired by Fan Expo HQ to be the comic relations coordinator and lead comics consultant for their family of conventions that includes FAN EXPO CANADA, TORONTO COMICON, Fan Expo Vancouver, Fan Expo Regina, Fan Expo Dallas, MegaCon Orlando and subsequently MegaCon Tampa Bay and Boston Comic Con. This necessitated a downgrade of what retail services I could provide so I struck an arrangement with Canadian online comics superstore ALL NEW COMICS to gradually shift new comics ordering services for our customers to their site.

This transition took a year and was completed in December 2016. I closed our Diamond account on December 28th, 2016. I still provide a pickup point for the old Lounge customers who purchase from All New Comics, Inc. at this time. We still have a lot of inventory, but this will be sold off gradually at conventions and online over the next few years. Since my time is limited this will likely mean just at events like Toronto ComiCON, Fan Expo Canada, Toronto Fan Days as well as the occasional Toronto Comics Show or Oshawa Comicon.

Thank you for your support of the years, we are very proud of what the Lounge accomplished in it’s five years.

Kevin Boyd

 

 

 

 

 

Books I’m currently enjoying – end of 2016 edition.

Glenn Gould (NBM)

Harvey Kurtzmann Library Vol. 2: Playboy’s Complete Trump (Dark Horse)

The 1964 New York Comicon

Michael Moorcock Library Vol. 4: Elric: Weird of the White Wolf (Titan)

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Vol. 2: Great Responsibility (Marvel)

Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle (an older release) (DC)

The Art of Jose Gonzalez (Dynamite)

Ditko Unleashed (IDW)

The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood Volume 1 (Fantagraphics)

We Told You So: Comics As Art (The Fantagraphics Story) (Fantagraphics)