All Kinds of Blue

Short and sweet this week as I’m on holiday up in Blue Mountain, Ontario. Blue Mountain is on the shores of Georgian Bay, this is Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven country up here.

Our fearless EiC Scott always tells me to work ahead for situations like holidays and the flu but I can never seem to get myself to work ahead. In the words of Archie Bunker I seem to like to work in the sperm of the moment.

Yesterday would have been the last day of the San Diego Comic Con and the comic culture community would not be abuzz with news, trailers, teasers and announcements. Has anybody follower Comic Cons attempts to do things virtually?

Next week when I get back to the shop I would normally be diving in full throttle preparing for Toronto’s Fan Expo which would have went August 27th to 30th, it will be a little weird coming back from my week up north and not having the stress of Fan Expo weighing on me, I’ve set up at every one since their first, 26 years ago.

Is anybody seeing anything evolving as a virtual substitute for these cons? I know online back issue sales are strong and that might be in part because of the lack of cons. How are publishers and studios releasing new info, how are artists holding up with no Artist Alley access, how are old back issue dealers that do well travelling from con to con doing now that there are no cons? What the hell am I going to focus on in August? On line sales? I guess I’ll have to leave my default patterns, leave my comfort zone and try to come up with new solutions and opportunities. I’m actually excited to see what I can come up with.

How about you the con goer? You may have gone to three or four cons a year, maybe more, how are you adjusting?

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. I completely bypassed virtual San Diego. I am sure there was good stuff there, but my life is full already. I’ve looked at and bought from three of the virtual antiquarian BOOK shows, and think its an idea whose time has come. We plan to participate in a Fall Pasadena virtual show, and maybe in the monthly Getman book shows…

    If someone built a virtual comic dealers room, I would look. There might have been something at San Diego, I thought Ted Van Liew mentioned something on his Superworld site. But then I heard nothing more, so I skipped it.

    My online sales are excellent, well up from last year, so I am grateful for some silver lining in all this. With print catalogs (bi-monthly, and down-loadable) and my weekly new items email, my business was already geared up to take on added orders from stay-at-home collectors. We’ve picked up many new customers via friends referrals, Facebook and Instagram. And I expect, selling more to our existing customers, especially when Diamond stopped shipping to comic shops. We still had our product coming in from the book dustributors who handle Marvel, DC, IDW, Image, Dark Horse, etc…Random House, Simon & Shuster and Little Brown handle these publishers for “normal” bookstores and they kept shipping.

    It was clear when comic shops closed, last Spring, we picked up a bit of that demand, at least for Graphic Novels, archives, omnibuses and art books (we sell almost no real comic books).

    Personally, I don’t miss setting up at a few shows, my schedule is always too full. I can work a three or four day week at my warehouse, then take the next days off to do projects with my collection, work outside, keep on my excercise schedule (which I sadly neglected before the pandemic). Like taking a year off, kinda….and catching up on all those projects that I had neglected.

    Collecting-wise, nothing has changed except missing a few show dealer rooms. There’s no lack of stuff in online auctions and from my favorite online dealers. But if anything, the pandemic may be driving prices up even more, auction results are deranged at times.

    That’s my take so far in all this.

    PS: Normally I am not a huge fan of the Gang of Seven, Walter, they are bit modern and impressionist for me. But that’s a really nice example. Thanks!

  2. I have visited Bud, a dear friend for more than 50 years, and partner Anne twice in 2020 and it helped replace the void in my life caused by a lack of travel and a lack of conventions, since I normally drive more than 30,000 miles per year to at least a dozen shows of various types.
    I am so glad his business has continued to prosper and to provide fandom with such a rich source of so much material. Be sure to sign up for his weekly e-mail blasts — fun to read even if you don’t order! I learn something from every one. Also, always think of Bud when you want to see any comic-related and art material. We need to support our own people!
    On two of my three quick trips this year — masks, social distancing and hand-washing, all on a constant basis — I have visited various sources of comics and related material to create a “convention on the road” of sorts. I believe that smaller shows can be held once again if we are all conscientious until a vaccine is available. It will take a huge amount of personal discipline, but as a community we can do it!

  3. Good assessment Bud, I don’t miss the shows either and nothing is drawing me to anything virtual quite yet. I know Ted, one of my favorite guys to deal with back when I was doing all the US shows in the late 1980s to early 2000’s. I kind of worry for the shows as tools for vendors to make money, I think many are going to be finding more cost effective ways to sell their stuff, but in the long run I do wish for their return to full glory.

    Michelle, you road warrior, that’s a lot of miles. It sounds like you are making the right adjustments though with visits to old friends creating new templates on the fly. We’ll look back at this as a great opportunity to create and discover new things and it sounds like you will not have any regrets looking back.

  4. Nice picture, Dave. thanks for that! . I live in mountains not to different than this. Was just out yesterday with my son and the grandkids, biking in the woods and paddling around a gorgeous little lake.

    I look at this painting Walter chose with no knowledge of the subject, just for what it is, an abstraction of a scene. But I am with you, I think, I have always preferred realism and detail in art. Maybe with some romanticism thrown in. Not a modernist, cubist, dada fan, etc. More Thomas Cole or the Hudson River School, I like those guys.

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