The Comic Pimp: Issue #2

Fri, September 19th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
James Sime, Columnist

COMICS KILL NAZIS

Welcome back to The Comic Pimp. Today, we kill Nazis.

Last week I threw down the gauntlet, preached righteously on the future of our industry, and spelled out the rock solid foundation of philosophy upon which I built my comic store. I talked about how the retailers of the future would help bring comics to the next level… but I could talk about it all I want and it wouldn't make one iota of difference. Because talk is cheap.

The comic industry has talked enough. Now it is time for action.

I bought my own comic store because I wanted comic stores to do something new. But not just something new for the sake of being different… something new in the particular way that I saw comics and the way it should be. I wanted them to be smarter, better and sexier than comic stores had ever been before. I wanted comic stores to start doing the kind of front-lines, dirt-under-the-fingernails action that makes shit happen. I didn't see anybody doing what I wanted so I left behind a lucrative career of high-class bartending to become a full-time comics pimp. As a kid I didn't read "Sgt. Rock" to watch him sit back in his padded armchair and send some poor bastard off to die, I read it to watch Rock suit up and kill some nazis.

Now as politically incorrect of an analogy as that may be, it's the truth. If reading thousands and thousands of comics have taught me anything it's to respect the people who get shit done and fight for what they believe in. To take the chances that others are afraid to take. Sgt. Rock is a great example of a character who routinely took his mind and body beyond the preconceived limits to achieve something he believed in. And Sgt. Rock is a great analogy to illustrate my point here because, like it or not, comics are at war. And the people who are taking it to the limit are the ones who are routinely pushing their minds and bodies beyond comprehension for the entertainment dollars that are available.

The international economy is in the gutter; consumers are bombarded with an increasing number of new products and services to spend their money on. With comic stores closing all over the country comics are becoming harder and harder for non-readers to find. If the comic industry wants to win this war we're going to have to get into those trenches and fight. It's time for the comic industry to start getting the word out as aggressively as we can. It's time for the comic book industry to suit up and start killing Nazis.

It's time to go guerrilla.

Guerrilla Marketing is our cutting-edge answer for promotion. We're talking inexpensive, creative and clever ways to put books in people's hands. We're talking about finding new, untapped markets. We're talking about getting the comics to the people and then teaching them where to get more. We're talking about finding new ways to get people into the comic book stores and to keep them coming back. We're talking about punk rock style self-promotion, smart do-it-yourself trench fighting action.

Clever and effective guerrilla marketing will not only show non-comic readers that comics do, in fact, still exist and that they are a fantastic entertainment art form, but most importantly it emphasizes everything that is hip, stylish and innovative about comics. And that is what is going to push our industry to the forefront of popular culture. Give them a taste of our work, dazzle them with our flash and our bravado, and blow their minds all over again when they come into our stores with their wallets open. It's an easy formula and all it takes is dedication, effort, passion… and action.

This is a guerrilla industry. I believe that comics are able to adapt to environmental, social, and political changes quicker than any other entertainment industry. The comic book industry is not represented by lazy armchair generals sitting back in their easy chairs and growing fat: it's represented by hardened frontline trench fighting soldiers like Sgt. Rock And Easy Company.

Comics Kill Nazis.

Guerrilla marketing is exactly what I've been doing for the past two years to get the word out about my store and to promote our industry. Guerrilla marketing is the entire concept I've based everything I've done in the comic industry around from the start… and I'm not the only one.

There is a whole guerrilla industry of comic creators who aren't sitting around and waiting for someone to tell them it's okay to start making comics. They're making comics, whether anyone cares or not.

These are the guys who aren't afraid to start killing some fucking Nazis.

These are the guys fighting the good fight on the battlefields of creation and they don't need a publisher or distributor's approval to get their work out to the public. They are the ones sitting down at computers and drafting tables and running the Xerox machines at the local Kinko's raw. They're the mini-comic creators. The lo-fi juggernauts of the comic industry. The creative cosmonauts exploring the edge of the comics universe.

They're making comics and they're doing it guerrilla style all the way.

It was in this do-it-yourself spirit that I founded the annual Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. I didn't think mini-comics and mini-comic creators were getting the recognition they deserved and I fucking did something about it. I didn't approach an award committee about presenting and promoting the trophies I hand out each year; I did it in the same guerrilla marketing spirit that the mini-comics themselves are being created. And I wanted mini-comic creators to get the classiest, sexiest and swankiest award possible, so I got on the phone with a designer and I made it happen.

Now that's how you kill a goddamn Nazi.

You know who else is killing those damn Nazis? Last year's winner Rob Osborne. Winning for his mini-comic "1000 Steps To World Domination," all four issues of Rob's award-winning mini-comic are fantastic examples of Nazi-killing action at its finest. They can be found in finer comic stores everywhere, or directly from Mister Osborne himself at Kaboom Comics P.O. Box 453 Gilbert, Arizona 85299. If for some reason you can't get copies of this book either of those ways, you can always drop me an email at james@comicbookresources.com.

  

  

For this upcoming year, Rob joins the Isotope Awards Committee along with Ed Irvin, Absence of Ink publisher and mini-comic distributor. With returning judges Ryan "Scurvy Dogs" Yount, Isotope Special Projects Director Kirsten Baldock and myself, we cover the entire spectrum of the mini-comic equation from creators to distributors to retailers.

Like in the past, the 2004 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics winner will be presented with their very own engraved stone and steel trophy at our award ceremony, thrown in conjunction with San Francisco's Alternative Press Expo. Don't be shy about sending in your mini-comics and don't be worried about whether our judges will accept your submission, because we'll accept all the mini-comics that are submitted. Even industry professionals are welcome to send their books in and several are: Brian "Channel Zero" Wood, Becky "Jennie One" Cloonan, and Larry "Astronauts In Trouble" Young are all planning on submitting mini-comics for this competition.

Now, those guys ain't winning the competition… but you? You got a shot.

To get an opportunity to take home this award, all you have to do is send five copies of your comic to Isotope's Special Projects Director Kirsten Baldock at the Isotope address (1653 Noriega St San Francisco, CA 94122) before the deadline (December 31). As is tradition, the award will be given out at a grand ceremony at the Isotope in conjunction with San Francisco's ALTERNATIVE PRESS EXPO. San Francisco's APE convention has been a forum for small and independent publishers in the industry for many years. Because of the nature of this award, winners have to be present at the Isotope at 9 PM on February 21st for the award presentation ceremony.

But...

If you can't wait to get some of that Isotope love, and get your work pimped out by me personally, you don't have to wait. Because the Isotope has our amazing Nazi-killing guerrilla marketing street team who is itching to start pimping your books out right now!

This team of guerrilla marketing maestros will be hitting the streets of San Francisco and dropping armloads of the comics love on some unsuspecting denizens of SF nightlife. If you see the team out on the street killing Nazis, introduce yourself to Todd Hellings, Adrienne Rappaport, Andrew Boyd, Robyn Anderson, Jim Cox, Jared Guenther, and Geoff Wagner, and ask 'em to school you in the ways of comics pimping!


Check out the Isotope Award Official Rules and Press Release.

To keep abreast of everything James Sime and the Isotope, go to: http://www.isotopecomics.com or visit the Isotope Virtual Lounge at: http://forums.delphiforums.com/IsotopeLounge/

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