The Comic Pimp: Issue #8

Fri, October 31st, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
James Sime, Columnist

PIMPIN' AIN'T EASY

Hi, I'm James Sime. I pimp comics for a living.

Comic retailing is an often criticized and unappreciated profession in our industry because comic retailing is all about selling. Comics is a high-risk industry where a retailer's cash is tied to product that rapidly spoils and is subject to the fickle whims of style and taste. But that doesn't stop new comic retailers from entering the field each and every year and selling the fuck out of some comics. It takes incredible faith, unending endurance and some fucking balls of steel to open up a comic store. Like my well-worn Flaming Carrot shirt reads "Fortune favors the bold" and owning your own business isn't for the timid, simpering, or the weak.

As they say, pimpin' ain't easy.

"Selling" isn't exactly the most popular word in our industry's vocabulary. It's a word that makes some uneasy and others scared stupid. It is a word that invokes fear in creators and retailers alike. There is this perception that anyone who uses words like "selling" is a greedy con artist who preys off of their customers like a vulture picking away at a rotting carcass. But that couldn't be farther from the truth…

The fact of the matter is nobody gives better customer service than a professional salesman who loves what he sells and has his customer's best interest at heart. As someone who takes customer service very seriously, I appreciate when my consumer needs and desires are being handled by a professional. I like a waiter who knows the food he's serving, a brain surgeon who knows where he's cutting and a tailor who understands how to taper a suit so that it fits like I was born to wear it. No matter what the situation is, I like my hard-earned American dollars to go to the professionals.

And you'd better believe that professional salesman with his customer's best interest at heart is James Sime and hundreds of other comic retailers just like me. We're not in the comic industry because we think we can make a quick or easy buck and we're not in the comic industry so we can play big shot at some neighborhood kids who come in every Wednesday.

We do what we do because we love comics. And the people who read comics. And the people who make those comics.

Creators and publishers need to help retailers like me help them sell their books. This might not be an easy thing to do, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done. Pimpin' ain't easy, but so fucking what? Do you want to sit around on your ass and let your hard work go down the drain because you were too afraid to stand up and sell your comic? Pimping comics isn't just my job; it isn't just a job for the comic retailer. Pimping comics is also the creators' and publishers' jobs.

When the new summer Tom Cruise blockbuster comes out, the studio promotes the film to the public, the theatres run an ad in the paper and Tom Cruise does his usual rounds at Late Night with Jay Leno, hits the Today Show the next morning and then runs across the studio lot to make an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly, all before catching a good night's sleep. That's a whole lot of professional people devoted to selling one movie. Far too often for independent and self-published comics our industry relies entirely on the comic retailer to do all the promotion. With a 500 page Previews catalogue of new material for the retailer to sift through every month, it's easy for a book to get lost amid the shuffle and chaos. For creators and publishers who invest their time and money (to say nothing of their heart and soul) in their comic projects it's a shame to watch it all go to waste because they were afraid to sell their book to either the retailer or the comic buying public.

Retailers like me want to help you sell your comic. Let the Comic Pimp help you get your comics into the customer's hands!

For me, reading a great comic is like eating a fine steak. If your comic is as good as a corn-fed 100% USDA certified prime dry-aged beef then I sure as hell don't want your book ending up as a McDonald's patty. I want to see it seared up in its own natural juices, cooked to order, and served up in mouth-watering bites to comic connoisseurs the world over.

Makes me hungry for a good comic read just thinking about it!

But in order to get that delicious comic reading entertainment onto the dinner plates of the comic consuming public; it's going to take more work than just raising some cows. It going to take a whole bunch of cowboys to get those steer from flatlands of Arizona and into the steakhouses of New York City. If you're a comic creator already, or if you're on your way to becoming one, or even if you're only dreaming of the day when your comic is on store shelves… the next Comic Pimp installments are for you.

We're going to drive those longhorns across those amber waves of grain and we're going to get out the chaps and strap on the six-shooters. We're going to do some professional comic selling.

I can't say this enough:

Retailers want to help you sell your book. We're here for you. Don't get lost in the shuffle.

Now we're going to put all that comic pimping talk to good use and do a little Halloween Comic Pimping! If you're not reading these books in celebration of All-Hallow's Eve, you're definitely missing out. Check these out…

TREASURY VICTORIAN MURDER VOL 6 BEAST OF CHICAGO HC
by Rick Geary


NBM Publishing


$15.95 (JUN03 2427)

I consider myself a huge fan of Rick Geary's "Treasury of Victorian Murder" series. Mr. Geary is a unique and intriguing voice in the industry, with a great illustrative art style. And each volume of these true crime comics is nothing short of fantastic. Volume Six chronicles H.H. Holmes, the man generally thought to be the America's first serial killer.

Completely true and completely creepy stuff.

FORT PROPHET OF THE UNEXPLAINED TP
by Peter Lenkov and Frazer Irving


Dark Horse Comics


$9.95 (STAR17981)

"Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained" follows the adventures of Charles Fort, in turn-of-the-century New York, librarian by day, paranormal investigator by night. Frazier Irving's beautiful, moody art, combined with Peter Lenkov's dark Lovecraftian scripting, makes this graphic novel one of the best of 2003.

KILLER STUNTS
By Alan Scott and David Hahn


Pulp Mag Press


$2.95

Ok, so this book hasn't seen a general release yet… but our friends at Pulp Mag Press were kind enough to send Isotope a box of the first issue. Alan Scott and David Hahn tell the story of Billy Andrews, the world's greatest stuntman. The secret to his success-young Billy is also a VAMPIRE. Motorcycle jumps, explosions, bitchin' cars… all cool stuff.

www.killerstunts.com
CBR News Interview with Alan Scott

ESSENTIAL TOMB OF DRACULA VOL 1 TP
by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan


Marvel Comics


$4.99 (STAR19952)

The perfect Halloween read. Romance, tragedy, dark-horror, and lust. The best fucking art in comics (I really prefer Gene Colan's art in black in white too-BONUS!!), the first appearance of Blade, the Vampire-Slayer, Dracula vs. Werewolf by Night, moody, dark-stuff… what else do you want?

If you haven't checked this book out yet, you absolutely need to.

THE WALKING DEAD #1
By Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore


Image Comics


$2.95 each

How is Robert Kirkman managing to be so damn prolific, and yet be turning out comics that are so god-damned awesome?! HOW?! The Walking Dead is Kirkman's attempt at an ongoing survive-the-future-zombie-onslaught title. Having read the first issue, as well as preview copies for numbers two and three, he's been more than successful so far. Oh, but wait-what about Tony Moore's incredible art? Glorious! I loved his prior collaboration with Kirkman, the hilarious BATTLE POPE, and on "The Walking Dead" Mr. Moore has stepped his art up to the next level.

Everything you could possibly want from a zombie book I can't wait for more!

Issue #1 (AUG03 1264)


Issue #2 (SEP03 1314) - In stores in November


Issue #3 (OCT03 1308) - In stores in December

As always, feel free to pontificate on industry issues, preach the gospel of great comic books or discuss this article on the Comic Pimp Forum

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