A few words for traders at Comic Cons

For the past few weekends my vision in front of me has been something like this.

From the front it looks something like this.

It’s old skool comic convention tables. Back issues and new stuff. No Funko Pop’s, no merchandise, no bubble tea. Just comics because even though I’ve been reading comics for five decades, and in and out of the industry for four of those and I have had days when I’ve had, or not wanted anything to do with the industry I’ll tell you a wee secret.

I fucking love comics. Not just for the characters but the entire medium and I love selling them. It isn’t easy. You need to know your stock, plus you’ve got to know what people want to buy as after all if you’re still dragging around a Thunderbolts section that nobody has asked about in years then you’re not just wasting limited space, but you’re putting strain into dead space.

Basically, it isn’t as easy as turning up, throwing open the boxes and sitting back watching the cash flow in. So one of the things I’ve seen a lot of are traders who are sat behind their tables at cons who do nothing to sell their products who then complain to the event organisers they had a terrible show as if to blame them. Yet I’ve seen over the years traders who don’t have great shows because their stock is poor, overpriced or they’re not doing enough to sell it. Here’s a vague example of what I mean. At a show last year I watched a trader spend all day on their phone while people were looking at their stock. No attempt to engage or interact with them meant people walked up interested, but were quickly put off because the trader was too busy on their phone to pull people in.

Another common example is of traders who spend their shows chatting with mates at the expense of potential customers. Worst of all are those traders who are just rude to potential customers, or sometimes you get the perfect storm where traders just so put off customers they don’t attract them.

It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a show. Good show organisers who give you a good few thousand people can’t be blamed for any lack of success however there’s one simple rule in becoming a trader who may end up being successful enough to make this game a full time job but you’ll never do that by sitting on your arse, staring at your phone as people walk by you. Engage people, chat with them. Talk about what they like. Draw them into your stock because you will do shows that are hard, and this is the difference between a bad show, or even an average show, or one that’s good or massively successful. This is a hard industry but it can be fun and of course, rewarding but only if you do a few things to engage people which should make things better for you.

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Come to the Paisley Comic Con and buy comics from me

Last weekend the glamour of Edinburgh, this weekend the bright lights of Paisley and their Comic Con. Expect lots of back issues, and a very tired me having done two cons in consecutive weekends, but come along, and have fun!

Come to the Edinburgh Comic Con and buy lots of lovely comics from me

It’s that time of year again as the Edinburgh Comic Con comes running towards us to break up the misery of Brexit and the fact I’m fighting off a dreadful cold. Thankfully most of the work is done and this year Neptune Comics will be in the same place as last year but expanded with lots and lots of goodies from the Golden Age through to the Silver and Bronze Age and today.

I’m even going to fanboy over Kevin Nowlan who’s an artist I’ve loved for a long, long time. Assuming I get the chance to as I hope the show is as busy as last year so come along. They’ll be tickets on the door as the event is sold out of advance tickets and come buy comics and have fun at Scotland’s best large comic con.

The weird world of romance comics

I got a batch of old DC, Marvel and Charlton romance comics the other day and they’re simply insane in their simplistic old-fashioned sexism, or worse, when the creators were trying to be ‘progressive’ in the 60’s and 70’s.

These titles sold hundreds of thousands of copies every month yet they’re now highly collectable thanks to having some work from fine creators like Wally Wood, Jim Steranko, John Romita and Stan Lee who must have churned out thousands of stories where men were men, women knew their place and love always won. What’s bizarre is that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the genre in 1947, but don’t expect a billion dollar film franchise for Millie the Model anytime soon.

Think of this; when Jack and Stan were carving themselves what would be the Marvel Universe they’d sell thousands upon thousands of glorious stuff like this.

And it’s the Marvel romance comics of the 60’s and 70’s I’m drawn to like some masochistic butterfly which isn’t to say that DC didn’t knock out a few gems.

But it’s the Marvel stuff created by then middle aged men trying hard to tell stories which teenage girls could lap up that’s the prime choice.

This stuff is generally awful, but there’s an ironic joy in these tales of romance which are often beautifully drawn, but it really is the cries for contemporary relevance that makes these stories so fantastically shite, yet great at the same time.

By the mid-70’s romance comics were dead, more or less. The rise of the superhero meant Marvel and DC concentrated on that genre and the days of both main publishers printing a variety of comics of all genres were on the way out. However these now highly collectable relics contain some work that needs better appreciation from comics historians and the fact that this genre is often disregarded or skimmed over in various histories of comics is a tragedy. Especially as even low grade copies of these comics fetch high prices.

So seek these comics out. If you’re any sort of fan of the medium you may not be exposing yourself to great stories but you’ll find some amazing art, and you can ironically enjoy them to your hearts content…

So how did the #BoycottCaptainMarvel campaign go?

I mentioned a few weeks ago about the #BoycottCaptainMarvel campaign being run by the same people which brought you the #BoycottBlackPanther campaign last year, as well as the ongoing sad fuckwittery of Comicsgate. The weekend gone was the opening weekend of Captain Marvel, so I’d assume these protesters managed to reach out and convince people not to encourage whatever it is they’re pissed off about.

So I’m sure this weekend was a fucking disaster! Let’s look at what happened,

Captain Marvel opens bigger than every MCU movie except Avengers: Infinity War

Oh, well done Comicsgaters. Another success.

My Captain Marvel

This weekend Marvel’s Captain Marvel film opened. That’s this Captain Marvel.

Not this Captain Marvel appearing in Shazam! (long story, copyright but if you want to dive into the rabbit hole start here) which is the original Captain Marvel.

There’s no sign of new Marvelman/Miracleman comics let alone a film, but I’m sure his day will come.

It thankfully isn’t this Captain Marvel.

The Captain Marvel film isn’t even the first Captain Marvel that Marvel Comics produced.

This Captain Marvel had his own series which struggled hard for 16 issues before enjoying a revamp but even though he had a better costume the series struggled.

It wasn’t til Jim Starlin took over with #25 bringing in a more cosmic flavour, while bringing in characters like Drax and Thanos to tell a story which today would have been a major crossover, with its own series and everything but the 1970’s were cheaper times so readers could pick up issues cheaply as they came out. Well, readers in America that is. Over here many of the issues either weren’t distributed or had suck a low distribution they may as well not come over from the States. So to read this story which dived from one title to another (Captain Marvel to Avengers to Warlock to Marvel Two in One) involved some serious work.

This was my Captain Marvel that I grew up on. There were other Captain Marvel’s (at least two) after this one, not including the one currently packing cinemas but that run by Jim Starlin that ended with Captain Marvel dying not because of Thanos, but because of cancer, is among the best run of SF/superhero comics you’ll ever find.

There’s now pretty cheap trades collecting all these stories so when you’ve enjoyed the Carol Danvers version, go back to the comics for the best run of Captain Marvel done so far. You won’t regret it.

Welcome to Neptune Comics

For ages I’ve been sort of playing with myself regarding what I’ve doing regarding comics since moving back to Glasgow as I’ve been to be blunt, fannying around. I’ve decided to stop fannying around and maybe see exactly what I can make of it. So with that in mind, welcome to the official birth of Neptune Comics. Do excuse the site, it’s still being tweaked..

Alright, it isn’t exactly going to change the face of comics, but there’s space for a good back issue dealer in Scotland selling the sort of stuff you don’t see much of here at genuinely affordable prices. See, the marketing is amazing already!

Next up I’ll be at the Edinburgh Comic Con on the weekend of the 6 & 7th April. Hope to see you there as I try to work out what to do next…