Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 24, 2010

My Hometown Has 3 Comics Shops

Here's something I just realized the other day. Barring recent closures my hometown of Muncie, Indiana -- the fabled "Middletown, USA" of sociological studies, Tom Slick cartoons and Steven Spielberg movies -- has three comic stores within city limits: Bob's Comic Castle, Alter Ego Comics and a store called Heroes For Sale. That has to count for something, although exactly what I'm not quite sure. Certainly the symbolic aspect of the country's representative small-city hanging in there with multiple stores seems like a good thing. I'm going to take it as a positive, anyway.

Muncie's a typical modest-sized former Midwestern industrial city that's hanging in there economically on the employment capabilities of its school system, its university and its hospital. It's not Detroit, but there are neighborhoods where you could take a photograph that might fool someone into thinking it is. In terms of comics, Muncie didn't really develop a shop of its own until the mid-1980s, and even then it was buying its comics from an Indianapolis shop rather than with a distributor account of its own. Until about five years ago Muncie tended to support one-and-a-half stores: one that functioned and then one in decline or down to a spinner rack or two. Three shops -- if they're all functioning at any level whatsoever -- seems worth noting.

I think if an industry aspect to comics is going to continue to be a part of those things that service the art form as opposed to letting emerge a kind of post-industry that subsists on nothing but movie development deals and kickstarter-funded pass-alongs, multiple Direct Market store openings needs to be a huge part of that. And maybe in places that don't get a lot of attention paid to them, this is already happening. Maybe.
posted 7:45 pm PST | Permalink

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