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

April 27, 2012

Go, Read: Alex Cox Of The CBLDF Visits Los Angeles

imageThere's a short report up on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site from Deputy Director Alex Cox about the Fund's successful work in Los Angeles at the LA Times Festival Of Book buttressing that affair's comics presence and raising money for their work. I'm alway up to hear how the CBLDF is doing at any particular show, but what struck me was the third and fourth graph when he talks about visiting the great LA neighborhood shop Secret Headquarters and their new related store Vacation Vinyl. I just visited Floating World in Portland, and one of the features of that store is a chunk of their space is given over to an art gallery, and another to vinyl record sales (it's that section of the Portland-based store you see in the photo at right).

This isn't an uncommon set-up. Comics shops have carried a variety of other material for years, probably most famously other expressions of fantasy culture -- role-playing games, prose books, t-shirts, movies. The music partnership is something you saw in the 1990s with one of the most important retailers of that decade: Fallout Records (and its various "and" designations) in Seattle. Lest we forget, the move of comics into bookstores had a "move of comics into music stores" component as well. Record stores and music stores have seen some tough times recently as a big chunk of the way that art form is consumed has moved to the Internet with startling speed and completeness; but there are other ways of value to buy music, and one of them is a retail experience. To see two very good comics retailers with significant partnerships with vinyl-selling set-up makes me wonder if that isn't a significant model moving forward. I don't mean significant in that I think you're going to see people getting wealthy by putting under the comics shop banner all the retailing groups that are struggling to have that kind of presence in the general, post-Internet market, but that maybe you'll see people surviving that way, especially in certain markets. Just a thought. There's a certain kind of comics reader that always seemed to feel cheated by the fact that comics might be sold in the context of other items, but I'm not sure the state of retail allows that luxury anymore.
posted 4:55 am PST | Permalink

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