ryan-franks-bio-pic-258x300Given that the holiday season is upon us I want to talk about what we as fans can do to give back to our favorite hobby. I have three suggestions that will help your local comic shop serve you better and help them stay in business.

First and most important: the Previews catalog is your best friend. The biggest challenge your shop owner has is trying to find out how many issues of any given comic they need to order. If they order too few issues then people who come in asking for a copy they’ve sold out of could go to another store or Diamond Comics Distributors, North America’s only comic distributor, could run out of copies, which means the store might never get a copy. If the store orders too many copies, then they’ve spent money on issues that may never be sold and they lose profit. Diamond, generally speaking, doesn’t allow returns on anything sold. So, once it’s been shipped, your store is on the hook for those products.

What it means is that if you go to the comic book store regularly, even if it’s for only one comic a month, start a pull list and let your chosen store know what comic you want. You will get the comic you want to read and they will know that you want it and will make sure you get one.
Second, please try and buy everything you order. A few years ago, I was in a comic book forum online when someone in the thread mentioned they had got to their store to pick up that week’s comics. There was an issue of a comic they had ordered, but no longer wanted. When he told the clerk that he wasn’t going to buy the issue the clerk told him “This costs me money you know.” So, while the clerk could have handled that news better, I think it’s only fair that when you ask a store to hold something for you that you buy it. To me, that’s the promise you make when you start a pull, even if you’re not signing a contract saying you have to.

And I’m not saying that what you order is iron clad. Last month I ordered Southern Nightgown #1 from Rothic Comics. I had read the Southern Nightgown graphic novel they had come out with previously this year and thought that Nightgown #1 was going to be a continuation of that. The problem being that when that first issue came in, it was just a few pages of prose writing and the first ten or fifteen page of that graphic novel I’d already read. So I told my comic guy that I wouldn’t buy a comic I already owned and which no details were given that it was going to be reprinted material and to cancel the future issues I’d ordered.

That brings me to my third point: if you want to drop something from your pull, let your store know that as soon as you can, hopefully before it comes in. Call, email, in person, however is the quickest, most convenient way for you to inform the store about your decision. This lets the owner know what to order, which keeps your pull list in your budget and keeps their budget balanced as well so they aren’t over ordering on comics they can’t sell. The same goes if you have to drop the entire pull list. Tell the store, they won’t judge you. It’s business and whatever the reason they will understand and appreciate the heads up.

The owner of my LCS asked me to inform people about the Previews catalog. It’s the tool to get the comics you want into your hands. I myself set the weekend aside in order to go through the whole thing, but it only takes a few minutes to flip through to find comics and other merchandise you’re looking for.

Ryan Franks has been into comics for as long as he can remember. He first started collecting back in 1993.It didn't become an obsession until 2009, but still remains one...