DC Comics: The New 52!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Business Planning Chapter IV: Website Meeting

Today we met with internationally renowned web developer Stefan Hartman from Wide Open Communications. Stefan is a man of many talents and is perhaps best known for his stellar work on the popular comedy website BangBoomCrash.com. He is also known by some for his poignant performances as "Willis" on the popular 1970's television sitcom "Different Strokes".
It was our most fervent hope that he bring his unique talents to the development of the upcoming Planet X Online Retail Store. During the course of our meeting, we discussed many different aspects of the Planet X Web Design Strategy, including but not limited to, Logo Concepts, Flash Animation, Site Design, RSS Feeds, Search Engine Optimization.... and many other big words.
It was a pleasure working with a professional like Mr. Hartman. We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Business Planning Chapter III: Capital and Feasibility Report

In today's planning session, Rich and I drilled down to determine the capital requirements of opening our brick and mortar store by August 1st, 2010. As you may know, many Comic Stores have made the dangerous and irresponsible move to "Online Retail" only, ignoring the needs of consumers who seek their own unique pop culture destination.
Well, Have No Fear! After careful analysis, we have determined that we are financially viable and on schedule. Tomorrow we meet with several area banks to complete the capital infusion for our launch. In an effort to reduce costs, we have cancelled the purchase of the Planet X Helicopter.
I didn't really like the color anyway.

Free Giveaways at Grand Opening!

That's right, I said FREE!
First up for grabs is this unique "Zombie Survival Guide- Recorded Attacks" one- shot, personally autographed by world- renowned author Max Brooks. This book is actually autographed in blood! Well, maybe not blood, but it really is Max's autograph. This rare collectible was only given to attendees of the Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo, and now we are giving it to you!
This unique item will be given away for FREE to our first retail customer on July 1st, 2010! This gift is perfect for people who love comics, Zombies or just Free Things.
You might want to start standing in line now... just in case.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Business Planning: Chapter II: Web Strategy

Today we held a focus meeting on the future Web Strategy of Planet X Comics and Collectibles. After much discussion, we both decided that the internet was most likely a fad, so we decided to just ignore it.
So.... Rich and I spent several hours discussing the value of Facebook, Twitter, Intuit, GoDaddy and the relative cost of designing our own site over that of hiring a professional. After exchanging insults, we decided that the value of a professionally designed site was well worth the initial cost, so brace yourself blog readers- you are about to see something really cool.
Also in today's Business Planning meeting: We visited a local video store; more specifically, one that is going out of business. Our strategy is to keep our own costs down, so we are purchasing their fixtures (shelving, glass cases, etc.) in bulk. Rich didn't like the purple color of the shelves but what the Hell does he know! In any event, after cost analysis, this venture alone should reduce our fixture cost by over 50%!
This is how we pass the savings along to you, our dear readers. Well, either that, or we might use the money that we saved to buy a helicopter.

KICK- ASS: The Premiere!

One of the great things about being one of the C2E2 guests was our sneak peek at the movie "Kick- Ass". Being the totally awesome VIPs that we are, we were permitted to view the movie two days early. It was very top secret- we actually had to relinquish our cell phones before the showing. I guess they knew well that a room full of comic book geeks would have posted their pictures on the internet before the movie even opened. In retrospect this was a good call on their part.
Although this blog is a business forum and not a review site, I would like to state my opinions of the movie. I enjoyed the film immensely, but it is NOT FOR EVERYONE. By turns violent and profane, "Kick- Ass" is an edgy, mature superhero film in the vein of "Kill Bill" or "Watchmen". If you go to see this because you thought McLovin was funny in "Superbad", prepare to be completely shocked.

The Lessons of C2E2- The Retailers

The second most important thing that we gained from our Chicago trip was the ability to interact with hundreds of retailers from all around the United States and Canada. We interviewed as many attendees as possible. This experience greatly reassured us about our start- up, as most retailers had been in business for over twenty years, and had seen many ups and downs in the industry. We learned that some dealers are quite successful and passionate about their business.
We also learned that most Comic Store retailers do not own a clean shirt.

The Lessons of C2E2- The Focus Groups

Our visit to Chicago actually consisted of a great deal more than just attending the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. The primary focus, at least for us, was the education available at the Diamond Retailer Summit: Focus on Retailing.
This helpful summit included many aspects of day to day retailing including "Best Practices" Merchandising Tips, Independent Retailers Working Together to Promote Community, and Boosting Business with Online Technologies. The information was presented in a Roundtable Focus Group Format, in which three teams rotated every hour to attend each panel. This gave each team ample time for Q & A sessions with publishers, authors and editors.
I personally got a lot out of the address given by keynote speaker Ted Adams, CEO of IDW Publishing. I felt he had the most intimidating task- to address the growing anxiety of retailers regarding the digital distribution of media. His Topic- "Will Digital Media Destroy Traditional Publishing?"
A compelling speaker, Mr. Adams used sales data from 2009 to answer this question. As of the end of 2009, digital media distribution had increased dramatically. However, in analyzing the pure numbers, he revealed that digital media distribution accounted for only 1% of the company's yearly revenue. Clearly traditional publishing was in no immediate danger! He even went so far as to suggest that some customers may "discover" their favorite titles online, and then migrate toward purchasing the print version for their collections. An interesting theory, and presented in a way that seemed to alleviate the retailer's concerns.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet the Principals- Volume II: Timothy Fling

Timothy Fling, a seasoned Sales Manager and Musician, brings over twenty years Marketing and Advertising experience to the fledgling company of Planet X Comics. With a diverse background of Profit and Loss Analysis, Public Relations and Guerilla Marketing, he lends a natural business savvy to the new venture. A lifelong Comics fan and collector, Timothy finds this business a natural match. When not constantly talking about numbers, Timothy enjoys Creative Writing, Videogaming and Complaining about Tyra Banks. Tim considers himself an expert on Silver Age Comics, Canadian Beer and Post- Apocalyptic Literature.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Notable Meetings

We were fortunate to be introduced to several key players in the Comic Book Industry. On the first night of our arrival, Dark Horse Comics hosted a welcome party featuring legendary author, editor and creator Jim Shooter. At the age of 14, Shooter began selling stories to DC Comics. Writing for both Action Comics and Adventure Comics, beginning with Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966), Shooter provided not only writing but pencil breakdowns as well. Shooter created several characters for the Legion of Super-Heroes including Karate Kid, a teenage superhero who predated the martial arts fad of the 1970s; Ferro Lad, a teenage superhero who can transform to living iron; and Princess Projectra, who could cast realistic illusions. He also created the Superman villain The Parasite. A super talented guy who has made a profound impact on the genre. The party at the Java Bar was sweet. We not only met Mr. Shooter, but we were pleased to meet several comic retailers from across the United States and Canada. This was invaluable experience for us to learn more about the industry- from people who had experienced the challenge first- hand. Dark Horse was giving away some great swag- autographed graphic novels and other cool stuff. Perhaps best of all- the drinks were free!

Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo 2010

Like all good stories, this one starts at the beginning. After several weeks of intense competitive research, Rich G. and I decided to attend the retailer's convention in Chicago IL. This adventure began at the urging of John Kim of Diamond Comic Distributors, who wisely suggested we take the the time to interact with our retailer peers before the launch of our store. His advice was more valuable than we knew. We attended seminars on best retail practices, business planning, made contacts with independent publishers, and even learned a great deal about the impact of digital distribution on the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Industry.