I just returned from the annual ComicsPRO Industry Conference. This year's event was back in Portland OR at the Portland Downtown Hilton.
From Wednesday evening until Saturday afternoon, it was whirlwind of meetings. seeing friends and colleagues, learning new things, seeing what's coming up from a variety of publishers and other suppliers... and generally, just trying to move the comics specialty business ahead in meaningful ways.
I use this meeting every year as a gauge of sorts--- How do my colleagues see this business? What can I learn from meeting attendees? What can I learn to bring back to Flying Colors to make my business better and please our fantastic FlyCo Faithful even more?
During the meeeting on Friday morning, we got the news that long-time DC Comics publisher Dan Didio was ousted from the company. That news which spurred lots of conversation and stories about Dan and hopes for some quick clarity on what the move means for DC Comics both immediately and in the longer term. I wish Dan all my best in whatever the future hold for him.
So back to the conference:
Over the last ten years or so, ComicsPRO, the industry's retailer trade association, has given Industry Appreciation Awards. There are two categories for the Industry Appreciation Award, one for professionals who are still active in the business of comics and a Memorial Award for those who have passed away and left an indelible mark on the profession of comic book specialty retailing. After a period of accepting nominations from members, the ComicsPRO Board of Directors presents the final ballot. Members will vote in each category.
|"So You Want to be a Comics Retailer?" panel with Mark Thompson from Cold Cut Distro, Joe Ferrara, Robert Scott from San Diego's Comickaze and Mike Camp, Arizona's Heroes & Villains. San Diego Comic-Con, 2005|
The Memorial Award for 2020 went to Robert Scott, the San Diego retailer and founder of the Comic Book Industry Alliance, a hitching post for comics professionals to talk about business, exchange ideas and trade stock. CBIA was on the Delphi network but when Facebook groups became a thing, it really took the shine off other internet groups and the CBIA suffered for it.
Robert's CBIA advocacy work kept a lot of comic book retailers, publishers and creators in touch with one another for many years. Robert was both a cantankerous argumentative conversationalist and a big bear of a sweet guy. He passed away in early December 2019. At the beginning of my remarks in the video here, I mention Robert and his wife Denise, since I know first hand that small businesses are a family affair even if other family members don't directly work in the business.
I was very grateful to receive the other 2020 Industry Appreciation award. In my acceptance, I talked about how my business is so dependent on not just our wonderful FlyCo Faithful who shop with us day in and day out all year long, but also dependent on the work ALL comic book retailers do on a daily basis.
In order for our comics specialty market to be its best, we need the hard work, innovation and enthusiasm of every comic book retailer. The comics specialty market is a business built by fans, but we still need to apply sound business practices to keep our segment of the comic book business moving in the right direction.
I also relate a story--- a Goofy story--- that goes back to Flying Colors earning the 1995 Will Eisner "Spirit of Comics" Award. Please watch the five minute video, even though the cavernous convention center meeting room is horrible for sound.
Thank you to my retailer colleagues and friends who gave me this recognition.
Believe me, I tried to get them all to vote for the other deserving nominees.
You can see who those other nominees are and all they've done for comics HERE!
Peace 'n' Comics!
Joe "FyCoJoe" Field