Loose Cannon: Issue #23

Fri, June 15th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Larry Young, Columnist

MY FUSE IS LIT

The time for subtlety has passed.

No longer will I write, say, a column extolling the virtues of thinking for one's self and then follow it with a column about a comic shop owner who exhibits these qualities and expect people to get the point without metaphorically holding your hands down the path straight from one to the other.

I realize there's a long seven days in between each one of these columns and that many, if, in fact, not most of you indeed have lives outside those of the average comics enthusiast which may entail doing something other than chewing over these philosophical nuggets I craft just for you.

So here's the main point of this one: I give a shit about comics.

Those of you who do not give a shit about comics are invited to click away off to some other likely diversion on the Internet.

No, really.

If there's a doubt in your mind whether or not you give a shit about comics, just stop reading, and go find one of those endless flash animations about cows or something. I only want the serious people here, because The Shit Is Going To Start To Come Down, and you'll only piss off the serious people with your inevitable belly-aching.

There.

Serious people? It's time… wait. You, there; in the back. Yeah, you with the ill-fitting Lady Death t-shirt? Get. The Fuck. Out.

OK.

I give a shit about comics. The artform, the industry, the folks who make 'em. The whole thing. I love comics so much I have to make my own.

But that's not enough, for me. I also want to stretch the industry, in my own small way. Bring it forward.

The latest thing our company has tried would not be a big thing in the real world; in fact, it's the smallest, least risky bit of real-world marketing that you can apply in the comics industry. But you'd think I've asked everyone to start writing left-handed, or something... It's not brain surgery I'm talking about… your mom probably has a few of these things in a junk drawer in her kitchen right this very second.

Of course, I'm talking about the coupon.

You've seen these things, of course. Present this for fifty cents off a two-liter bottle of Coke. Good for two dollars off a large two-item pizza. Buy fucking one, get one for fucking free.

This is not hard, and frankly, I'm a little pissed off I have to explain this.

The World's Best Diamond Comics Brand Manager, Chris Schaff, helped me cook up the scheme you see on page 199 of the latest Previews.

On that page, you will see an advertisement for the AiT/Planet Lar books we have published. All of these books are in print and they were in stock at the Diamond warehouse at the time the ad hit stores sixteen days ago.

If you want one or two or three or damn, every single one, all you have to do is rip the page out, tell your retailer which ones you want, and ask him to call his customer rep and order the books.

To reward you for your obviously good taste in comics, I sweetened the deal by offering autographed copies of Double Image #1 or Astronauts in Trouble: Live from the Moon #1.

Your retailer places the order; you get the books the next week.

What could be simpler?

For some reason, I've had so many damn emails from people who just cannot figure this out that I feel the need to address this in a column. Believe me, I'd much rather be telling you about what a good idea it would be for budding and professional comics writers alike to take Robert McKee's Story Seminar than explain to the comic book industry at large how coupons work, but, there you go. We all have our bears to cross.

The way the comic book delivery system is presently set up is not ideal, of course, but it's not as screwed up as people assume.

If you, gentle reader, have had a problem getting your retailer to make this order for you because it's not in his regular swing of things to do weekly reorders, well…

…print out this bit of the column for him (as the masculine pronoun is proper fucking grammar here, you pedantic jackasses. Save the email; I know):

Let's say you want the Best Graphic Novel of 2000, Channel Zero, by the genius Brian Wood. Make a little check in the box provided with your writing implement of choice and present said coupon to your retailer. Point out that you'll get either an autographed Double Image #1 or an autographed Astronauts in Trouble: Live from the Moon #1 when it comes in. In order to take every last bit of strain out of this process, please tell your retailer that the order code is STAR11745. To help him even further along, tell him that if he gives the promotional code PROMM0118 to his customer rep, things will go so smoothly that a week later you will have your book and signed comic.

The World's Best Diamond Comics Brand Manager, Chris Schaff, has assured me that the customer reps at Diamond have been briefed on this promotion, and I have no doubt that this is so, because ol' Chris loves to move the comics. He has a frankly stunning pride in his job that I am going to miss the poor bastard when he's gone, and that's a fact.

Anyway; let's review:

Check off the books you want in the ad.

Rip out the page.

Hand to your retailer.

For extra credit, remind him of the STAR codes and the promotional code for the autographed book.

Wait one week; enjoy quality comics.

I'm sure next Friday I'll be back to my old non-pissed-off self, with a syrupy Saturday Evening Post-like rumination about my childhood and how that has some vague association with the present-day comic book industry, but this week I'm mad as hell that we have comics and a waiting audience for them and there seems to be some sort of logjam in the process I can't see.

Getting the comic books you want doesn't have to be so hard.

I'm about to set some shit on fire.

No goddamned song lyric cuteness this week. Want to send me an email? Here's the address: larry@comicbookresources.com

Talk about this column? Do it here: Loose

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