Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year---

and, a day late, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Stan "the Man" Lee!

Stan had his 84th birthday yesterday---so it was a case of great timing when Mark Parsons (the first FlyCo staffer back in October '88) sent me this link to featuring Stan Lee as a guest on the old TV game show "To Tell the Truth"!

Check this out!

Happy Birthday, Stan---and Happy New Year to everyone!

Hours for New Years' WeeK:
Sunday 12/31/06--- 12pm-5pm
Monday 1/1/07--- CLOSED
Tuesday 1/2/07---11am-7pm
Wednesday 1/3/07--- 11am-7pm
Thursday 1/4/07--- 11am-8pm (NEW RELEASES DAY for this week!)
Friday 1/5/07--- 11am-7pm

Thanks for making 2006 the best ever here at FLYING COLORS!



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cindy's Song

OK, it's proud papa time.

That beautiful smile you see to the right is on the lovely face of my youngest daughter, Cindy.

Last Friday evening, I had the huge honor and pleasure of being there for Cindy's first live music performance at the Velo Rouge Café (Arguello at McAllister) in the City.

Take a look at a video of her original song called "Deeper Look" HERE!

***Caution: this was shot on a small digital camera in a mood-lit café, so the conditions were not optimum for either sound or video. But this is something I've been busting to share, so I hope you enjoy it!***

Edited to add Cindy's lyrics to "Deeper Look"...


(Lots of new comics and other cool stuff hit the racks Wednesday morning at FLYING COLORS!)

More Gift Ideas: Your New Favorite Shirt!

FLYING COLORS is now featuring the stunning line of Poly-Wicking High Performance Technical T-Shirts from the fine folks at Pure Hero.

Heat and moisture wicking should be the foundation of everyone's apparel for play, work, and living.

This is serious technical stuff, but combined with classic and classy super hero designs, it's also really cool stuff.

Once you own one, you'll make these High Performance Crew Shirts the mainstay of your casual wardrobe.

You don't have to play hard to wear them, but they are designed to!

Engineered for athletes and die-hard comic fans alike.

Now's the time to learn something about the virtues of performance apparel by slipping into these cool shirts from Pure Hero!

Flying Colors has the four Pure Hero styles pictured here in stock right now. Adult sizes S, M,L, XL & XXL. $27.99 each.

Come in soon for the best selection!



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Cool Gift Ideas!

Here's a nice gift suggestion for the sports fans in your life!
FLYING COLORS is featuring a limited edition Sportscards' Gift Pack.
Each box contains more than 20 (yes, twenty!) different packs of Major League football, baseball and basketball cards, along with a pack of 100 card sleeves, a Guide to Collecting Sportscards, and a few surrprise cards of limited availability--- all in an 800 count card storage box, gift-wrapped for the holidays. And it's only $19.99! We only have a limited number of these, so hurry in soon!

One more thing: here's our last new Christmas commercial. This one features Brian (FLYING COLORS' resident New Comics' Genius) and Jenny (Girls' Comics Guru). I'm in there, too...

Come see us soon!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The SPIRIT of the season...

Huge recommendation coming---- Darwyn Cooke (DC New Frontier) and Jeph Loeb (TV's Heroes and LOST) have co-produced the newly released BATMAN/SPIRIT comic book and it is a ton of fun. Featuring most of the Rogues' Gallery from both heroes, with plot twists, turns and sight gags, this is a story everyone can read, re-read and enjoy many times over.

With several artistic nods to the Spirit's creator, the late great comics' pioneer Will Eisner, Loeb and Cooke have come up with an action and humor filled romp that will go down as one of the year's best releases. Don't miss it!

Last weekend's Thanksgiving Sale was well-received by everyone around here, but I realized a lot of folks left town for the long holiday weekend and didn't get a chance to score some of the deals we offered.

So I decided to extend our sale prices in two categories through the end of this week. Right now, a special selection of LIMITED Edition Statues and Busts (all highlighted with red dots)--- featuring many of your favorite comics' characters---are 50% OFF! That's well below our original cost! And DC Direct Action Figure Sets, each set with five figures, are on sale through this week--- regularly $85/set, now only $65/set. Supplies are limited, so come in soon. These prices will be good through Sunday December 3.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two-Day SALE Friday & Saturday!

We'll be going all day Friday and Saturday (11am-7pm both days) with some terrific deals for those doing some early Holiday shopping (anything before Christmas Eve is early for me!)

Besides some special sales prices on trade paperbacks, manga, graphic novels, back issues, t-shirts, calendars and action figures, here's a brief look at some very special sale prices:

*We'll have a nice selection of limited edition statues and busts on sale far below cost at 50% off!
* Marvel Essentials trade paperbacks are Buy Two, Get One FREE!
* DC Direct Complete 5-figure Action Figure Sets--- reg. $85, only $65!
* DC Archives & Marvel Masterworks hardcovers--- buy two or more, get 30% off!

Plus, everyone gets a FREE 2007 Marvel Comics/Flying Colors Poster Calendar with exclusive art by John Romita Jr!

Be here for the best selection.




New SPOCK's BEARD: This Post is Looooong (or maybe it's just Progressive)

This week saw the release of another excellent CD by my favorite "New Prog" band, the mighty SPOCK'S BEARD. And sad chances are that you've never heard of them...unless you're one of the many who visit FLYING COLORS and ask what music we're playing in-store.

Back in the '70s, when radio formats were not nearly as tight or boring as they are now, listeners could tune into their favorite station and hear Pop, Hard Rock, R&B, Soul, Bubblegum and other flavors of music on back-to-back-to-back on the same station. It was called "broadcasting" for a reason. Today, every commercial radio station goes for just a slightly different shade of vanilla when it comes to programming music. Down with narrowcasting. Ugh!

Back then, though, along with the music styles already mentioned, there was a very popular style of music called Progressive Rock. "Prog-Rock" style-hopped from hard rock to classical to pop to jazz, usually in the same songs, which often lasted the entirety of a vinyl album side. The first generation of prog-rockers featured bands like YES, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson, and later Kansas and early Styx. These bands all got airplay on commercial radio, but more often than not, the cuts played were 3 or 4 minute edits of much longer tracks or a section of a progressive "suite".

All right, that's enough of a primer. What I really want to do is tell you how great the new SPOCK's BEARD CD is. First, let me tell you something abnout the band. Each of the players in the band is a virtuoso at his instrument of choice. Each player has a varied career, working with lots of performers you've heard of, even if you may have never heard of Spock's Beard.

Case in point:
* Drummer/vocalist Nick D'Virgilio (NDV) has performed and/or recorded with Genesis, Tears For Fears, The Manhattan Transfer and Sheryl Crow.
* Lead guitarist (and chief shredder) Al Morse has recorded or performed with Chad & Jeremy, Spencer Davis and Chuck Norris(!).
* Bassist Dave Meros has played and/or recorded with Bobby Kimball (Toto), Simon Phillips, Steve Lukather, Mark Lindsey (Paul Revere and the Raiders), Eric Burdon and The Animals, Iron Butterfly, Sugarloaf, Brian Auger, and Robbie Krieger (The Doors).
* Ryo Okumoto has performed and/or recorded with Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Kitaro, Peabo Bryson, Aaron Neville, Robbie Robertson, David Foster, 5th Dimension, Marilyn McCoo, Roberta Flack, Patti Austin, Sheena Easton, Debbie Gibson, Lamont Dozier, Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Eric Carmen, Al Green, James Ingram, and Dionne Warwick.

This is the band's 9th studio CD, the first six with multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter Neal Morse at the helm. The last three feature drummer NDV stepping up to do lead vocals (reminiscent of my favorite prog band GENESIS, with the transition from Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins)---and it is clearly Spock's Beard's most confident and complete effort yet with the new line-up.

True to the progressive form, there's a variety of styles presented on the new SB effort. There's the hard-driving BRAND X influence on the instrumental "Skeletons at the Feast", the bluesy and gnarly style of "Is This Love", the plaintive ballad "Hereafter" featuring Okumoto's brilliant classical keyboard playing and NDV's near-angelic voice....and then there's the neo-progressive sounds of the 8-minute opus Meros/Boegehold penned "On a Perfect Day" (evocative of the band's best work with Neal Morse), and the 17-minute suite of songs wrapped into "As Far As the Mind Can See" (also written by Dave Meros and John Boegehold), featuring "They Know We Know" which could be a long-lost Tears For Fears tune.

"All That's Left" could be mistaken at first for a Porcupine Tree ballad before it breaks into more familar (and welcome) SB territory."The Slow Crash Landing Man" nods to "Duke" era Genesis with its big bass and keyboard-heavy sound, albeit with more layered harmonies than Genesis ever managed.

NDV's chops as a songwriter have grown immensely over these last three SB efforts, with this latest being not only his greatest achievment, but also the band's. "With Your Kiss", a 12 minute sojourn through sweet vocals and Al Morse's stellar lead guitar work, and the CD's final track "Rearranged" with its gum-sticky pop hook, ethereal swirls and melancholy feelings of finding one's sanity in the crazy music business---are two jaw-dropping "love it at first listen" tunes that feel simultaneously fresh and modern while eliciting some truly classic prog moments along the way.

These guys should be MAJOR music stars!!

You can find out more about SPOCK'S BEARD HERE! , with sound samples and an active community of prog-loving music fans. Or you can ask me more next time you're in the if this wasn't long enough already.



Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Week Hours

Tuesday November 21 11am-7pm
Wednesday November 22 11am-8pm
Thursday November 23---Closed for THANKSGIVING!
Friday November 24 11am-7pm
Saturday November 25 11am-7pm
Sunday November 26 12noon-7pm

Tons of New & Cool Stuff will be in-store first thing Wed. 11/22!

...and FLYING COLORS Holiday Sale runs all day Friday 11/24 and Saturday 11/25, with some great deals on Contra Costa's most amazing selection of comics & other ccool stuff. Don't miss it, OK?



Sunday, November 19, 2006

Katie is Supergirl!

Here's another of our new TV ads. This one will start running locally about a week from now on the Astound and Comcast cable systems.

This one features our "Girls Comics Guru" Jenny, JT Tavernier (son of former comics' retailer, Clay), the young Jacob Kirkpatrick (with his "Someday You'll Ask for My Autograph" t-shirt), and the unmistakable, chinchilltastic smile of Katie, seen here in her Supergirl disguise.

Katie is the reason I'm posting this one a little early, since Sunday 11/19 is her birthday. Everyone, sing "HBD2K"!!

Remember---Flying Colors Holiday Sale is coming up Friday November 24 and Saturday November 25. Be here for sure!



Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Some highlights from the New & Cool Stuff hitting the racks Wednesday Novembe 15th---

* Absolute DC NEW FRONTIER slipcased hardcover!
* Astonishing X-Men #18
* Astro City: Dark Age Book Two #1
* Bomb Queen V2 #2
* CIVIL WAR #5 (!)
* And CW crossovers: Iron Man #13, New Avengers #25
* Daredevil: Father #6 (The ending of the series when it seemed it would never end!)
* The Escapists #5
* Girls #18 and also Volume 3 Survival trade paperback
* Infiniteens #1
* Moon Knight #6
* Sonic X #14
* White Tiger #1
* 100 Bullets #78
---and so many more good new titles!

New Star Wars Bust-ups
DC Re-Activated Action Figures, with classic figures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and LOBO!

See you in Flying Colors!



Monday, November 13, 2006

Cool Holiday Savings Coming Nov. 24 & 25

Here are some dates to save:
FLYING COLORS' Holiday Sale is Friday November 24 and Saturday November 25! We'll have lots of cool deals on comics & other cool stuff, so make it a point to be here!

Over the next couple of weeks, you may be seeing this TV ad on a number of cable stations (on the ASTOUND and Comcast Cable systems.) Here's a sneak peek:

And, for those of you who have been asking:
YES! All our new TV ads are complete and will be running once the Holiday Sale is over. Stay tuned here because we will also be debuting the ads here and on before they air on TV.



Monday, November 06, 2006

Comic Books ARE Books, too!!!

Interesting piece I found yesterday while searching for comic book news on ye old Internet.
Read the piece HERE!

The new Gene Yang graphic novel (to a degree it's more properly "graphic non-fiction") called AMERICAN BORN CHINESE is up for the National Book Award, one of the highest honors in book publishing. And writer Tony Long doesn't like that a graphic novel is up for the National Book Award.

You can read Gene Yang's response to Tony Long's comments HERE!

Gene Yang's career features a number of fun, thoughful, entertaining and even spiritual works, including LOYOLA CHIN & THE SAN PELIGRAN ORDER, GORDON YAMAMOTO AND THE KING OF THE GEEKS (both from Slave Labor Graphics' Amaze Ink imprint), DUNCAN'S KINGDOM from Image Comics (with Derek Kirk Kim) and even a graphic novel adaptation of the ROSARY published by Pauline Press.

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE (published by First Second Books) delves into Gene's childhood, exploring prejudice of his own as the only Chinese-American in his class. Using the Chinese fable of the Monkey King, along with some very poignant moments, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE is really one of the year's must-reads.

There are some folks, though, who don't consider anything with panel-to-panel storytelling to be "books", no matter how rich and deep the subject matter, no matter how strong the book spine, no matter how acclaimed the work. Some folks are simply prejudiced against the medium of comics and graphic novels.

Given the attention AMERICAN BORN CHINESE is receiving as a finalist for the National Book Award, I do invite you to check it out next time you visit FLYING COLORS.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

New TV Ads on the Way---

We'll be getting a couple of our new FLYING COLORS TV Ads on the air in the next week or two. Until that happens, though, I wanted to give you a peek behind the camera with these photos from our ad shoot.

We'll be using some of the footage we shot on Free Comic Book Day, along with some new footage. These ads are one of the ways we reach out to the wider community in the hopes of finding new customers. If you look around at all visual media--- TV, movies, video games---comic book related content is more popular than ever, so I hope that means more poeple than ever willbe willing to take a deeper look at all the amazingly entertaining things going on in comics and graphic novels.

Back by popular demand, both Jenny and Brian will be in the new ads. This shot is one of Jenny's out-takes, as she doubled over laughing after flubbing one of her lines. She did a great job with her ads! This girl should be on TV full-time!

It was fun shooting the ads, since we did it here on a Wednesday during a busy New Releases Day. The whole shoot took less than two hours, but there were a number of FlyCo regulars who became audience members as the lights came up and the camera rolled. As always, we have fun doing what we do---and we laughed a LOT through the ad shoot.

And here are a couple shots from Halloween here in FlyCo Land.

It was pretty low-key around here--- I dressed up as a comic book retailer (of all things!).

But the kids in my home neighborhood really liked getting comics and candy when they came by our place.

Now that Halloween is past, we're getting to the point of the year when thoughts turn to gift lists for the Holidays. As always, we're happy to help you get just the gift you want for the Comics' Fan on your list.

Come see us soon!



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Peek at the Picks!

Here's a photo look at the FLYING COLORS Staff Picks' board, drawn every week by long-time Retailing Brigade member Mike. next to the picks' board is another white-board re-done every week by Jenny listing all the titles of new comics and graphic novels that hit the racks each New Releases' Day (47 out of 52 weeeks a year that happens on Wednesday!).

Lots of great stuff in store tomorrow morning.

Be here, y'hear?


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Here's a list of just some of the highlights of new & cool comics available Wednesday at 11am at FLYING COLORS COMICS & Other Cool Stuff---


What's your pick of the week?


Thursday, October 12, 2006

FLYING COLORS Welcomes Young Collectors!

I had the pleasure today of hosting Cub Scout Pack 815 Den #9 Wolf Cubs from Greenbrook Elementary School in Danville, led by Dan Chevez, Elizabeth Donohue and Cheryl Burns.

The topic for the scout meeting was "Collecting", so it sure made sense to have the meeting here in FLYING COLORS. I showed off some of my old baseball cards and comics, and I hopefully got across that collecting is a lot more about FUN than it is about making money later. When that outlook is fully embraced---by the collector and by those close to the collector--- everyone comes away happier for the experience.

I learned the great pleasure of havng a hobby from my Dad who was an avid stamp collector. When I was about the age of the Cub Scouts I met today, Dad tried his best to get me into stamp collecting, and I was into it for only a short while. One of the things all parents learn along the way is that kids have a way of finding their own areas of interest. Some of those interests will intersect with those of our parents---my love of baseball sure came from my Dad. Some of those interests will make parents scratch their heads, too. Rocks? Bottle Caps? Yu-Gi-Oh cards? C-c-c-c-comic Books? You betcha!

Just kids' stuff, right? Well, no, not at all!
Being a collector is all about finding something fun to pursue--- it's as primal as the early humans hunting and gathering and then showing off their stuff to the others back in the cave. In his recent book "Rejuvenile", Christopher Noxon said "The culture of childhood brims with qualities - wonder, adventure, absurdity, make-believe - in short supply in the adult world."

Or, as I've been putting for years: "The reason people can get so goofy about their collections and their hobbies, is to keep from going crazy about things in general."

Keep it fun, y'all!



Monday, October 09, 2006

New & Cool & In-Store Wed. 10/11

It's Columbus Day today---and I want to make sure you know, despite this holdiay, we WILL have New Comics & Other Cool Stuff hittting the racks here on Wednesday, as usual.

Here's a list of just a few of the items we'll have in-store Wednesday October 11, 2006
52 WEEK #23
DMZ #12
DORK #11

See you this week!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Final Fall of TOWER

(Have you heard about Tower Records’ bankruptcy auction? Read about it here .)

Libby and I visited Tower Records/Video in Concord Sunday for the second day of the company’s “liquidation” sale. As if 10% off the highest regular prices of any national music chain could even be considered a “liquidation.” Is everything about this company a sad joke now?

Wasn’t always so. There was a time when Tower Records was an absolute Mecca for music fans. I’ve spent a fair share of time and money in various Tower locations over the years, from local outlets in my home-towns of Stockton and Concord to the bigger stores in Sacramento, San Francisco’s Columbus & Bay and La-La Land’s Sunset Boulevard outlet.

Used to be that Tower was the place for not only finding all the hit records, but it was my first choice for finding obscure singles and imports. I found the "Another Day" single on the CBS-Ireland label by a new band called U2 at the Tower in Stockton in '79, years before the band was well known. In the early ‘80s, 12-inch singles with multiple remixes were the rage of the day and Tower had 'em all.

The company was rarely (if ever) about customer service, with some of the most disinterested clerks in retail history. But Tower was always about selection---and back in the day, they had the right prices to go with the best selection. From the '80s on, Tower tried unsuccessfully to branch off into books, video, action figures, pop culture knick-knacks, you name it. That should have been a sure sign of impending downfall. When a company completely loses focus on its core product, it’s usually not too far from the end.

As an independent business owner, I’ve come to realize that every business has a life-cycle. Unless new energy and ideas are pumped into a business as a regular practice, then stagnation and obsolescence become the order of the day. The comics biz has changed a lot in the time Flying Colors has been open in Concord. What used to be a primarily collectors' market for new and old periodical comics has become a vibrant readers' market for comics and graphic novels. I'm still trying to get some re-modeling done here that will reflect the evolution of the comic book business.

Tower, though, seemed to wilt under the competition from online music sellers, from used music sellers (like Amoeba and Rasputin) from file-sharers and downloaders (legal or not), and from the Big-Boxing of America. Tower was late to adapt to the Internet and when the company finally did, it severely shot itself in both feet by having much better prices online than in the brick and mortar stores that built the company. Of course, when Wal-Mart and Best Buy are the two biggest retailers of music in the US, what chance did Tower really have?

There are also fundamental changes continuing to happen in the music business. The old marketing chain for new music was from the label (and artist) to independent radio stations. From there, listeners would jump into their local record shops to buy what they heard on their transistors (yes, it was a long time ago).

Radio is inconsequential (and mostly indifferent) to new music these days. Even the stations that claim to have vast music libraries are smothered by short and predictable playlists. What new music does make it to radio is usually bought and paid for by the labels, so listeners get a narrow choice of style over substance. That’s a real shame because there is a ton of great music you will never hear on commercial radio. Satellite radio, maybe. Heck, more people get exposed to new music by songs being used in TV series and commercials these days. The delivery system for new music is now over-whelmingly about the Internet, with iTunes and MySpace being two of the primary sampling spots for tunes of all kinds.

Oh well.

So it’s with sadness and a tinge of nostalgia that I mourn the passing of Tower. It was my old hitchin' post for tunes, but soon it'll be just another memory.

(Although I may still visit the local store a time or two more if the “liquidation” sale ever really kicks into gear.)



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Introducing: The FLYING COLORS YouTube Review

Just goofin' around here, trying to promote some great comics. On our first edition of the FLYING COLORS YouTube review, FlyCo Brian takes a look at Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' CRIMINAL, new this week from Marvel/ICON.

The review is low-tech, sure, but we want to get the message out on this cool new title.

Peace 'n' Cool Comics!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Comics & Ice Cream: Very Cool!

I mentioned to my staff that today is the 18th anniversary of the opening of FLYING COLORS. Nothing big or dramatic planned, just nice to look back on some good and memorable moments here. Tuesdays are also days that are quite busy around here, as we process all the New & Cool items that will be on sale on Wednesdays, so doing something big would have been more of a challnege, especially on a Tuesday.

So I was surprised when I was called out of the office to take a look at some old comics brought in for me to possibly buy. When I went to the back counter to see the old comics, Chris, Mike and Brian surprised me with a FLYING COLORS 18th Anniversary ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. Nice! Here are a couple of pix from our little celebration.

I've got to tell you, after all these years, the FLYING COLORS Retailing Brigade constantly make my job easier. Mike, Brian and Chris are among the finest Brigade members I've worked with here.

Lots of great stuff hits the racks Wednesday (including several first issues)---
Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips' CRIMINAL #1
Brian K Vaughn & Marcos Martin's DOCTOR STRANGE: OATH #1
Robert Kirkman & Phil Hester's IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #1
Marjane Satrapi's CHICKEN WITH PLUMS graphic novel
Y THE LAST MAN #50 (Big answers in this one!)
INFINITE CRISIS Hardcover Collection
Vertigo's THE OTHER SIDE #1
Tom Beland's TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD #1 (you have seen the YouTube vieo, right? If not, the link is below!)

Once again, thanks for being a part of FLYING COLORS' first 18 years. I'd still love to hear your comments, so hit the 'comments' link and send us your thoughts!

As always--- Peace!


It Was 18 Years Ago Today...

October 3 is the 18th Anniversary of the opening of FLYING COLORS COMICS & Other Cool Stuff, so it's time for some thankful reflection and a look back at the early days here.
Some of you may look at this shot and think "That guy's been running Flying Colors so long he was around before there was color film!" Almost, but not quite.

This photo was taken on October 3 1988, when my hair was long and still brown, back issues filled just about every wall space in the store, except for those taken by sportscards, posters and t-shirts. If any of you have considered going into retail business for yourself, let me tell you, it's not easy being your own boss, but it's a lot better than having someone else cracking the whip on you.

That first day, I had no idea what to expect. Our very first customer, a fellow named Milton, bought a Topps baseball "rack-pack" and we were off and running. Ha! We did all of $63 on our first day.

Here's a shot of my first FLYING COLORS' staff. That's Anne on the left and Mark on the right. I couldn't have asked for two better people to help me in those early days. After a couple of months they were joined by Teri, Scott, Sam and a great parade of other FlyCo staffers that, in total over these 18 years, is just over 50 really good people (surprisingly low turn-over for a retail business!). I've seen Anne a number of times over the years around town and Mark surprised me earlier this year by coming up from Hollywood (OK, it was really L.A.) for my 50th birthday party.

After being open for a few weeks, I threw a Grand opening party with a hot new young artist as my guest--- that's superstar JIM LEE in the photo here regaling the local kids with tales of drawing PUNISHER, ALPHA FLIGHT and (less likely) SAMURAI SANTA. Jim's studio was in Berkeley at the time, a year or two before he went south to open the Homage Studios, which became Wildstorm Studios sometime later. Jim has officially been our guest here for numerous signings over the years, but in those early days it wasn't unusual for him to come hang out with us and talk with other artists just breaking into the biz, like Dan Brereton, Jeff Johnson and Ken Hooper (more of my favorite guys in the biz!).

I do credit some of the success of FLYING COLORS to Jim Lee since his signings for UNCANNY X-MEN #268, PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #1, X-MEN #1, FANTASTIC FOUR:HEROES REBORN #1 and BATMAN: HUSH Vol One (and maybe another one or two I'm forgetting) really put FLYING COLORS on the map. Thanks, Jim! And we'd love to have you back soon!

One more shot here, taken on that Grand Opening day in late October '88. I just wanted to show you what some of the shop looked like in those early days. Our store name was painted across the middle of the store with the rainbow and star logos painted on the high walls on both ends of the store. In this photo, if you look near the top right hand corner, you'll see some of the animation art we used to sell here. To the right of that you can see a bit of the classic Arthur Adams' Wolverine cardboard cut-out. Everywhere else, you'll see lots of comic books! Same as it ever was...

Big thanks, heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who shop here, who allow me this opportunity to serve you and sell you the best in comics' entertainment. I do appreciate each and every person who chooses to spend their money here. I listen carefully to what you say and I hope to keep making FLYING COLORS one of your favorite entertainment outlets. This place wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your support.

So what are your earliest memories of FLYING COLORS? What could we do to make FLYING COLORS even better? Hit the comment button and let us all know, OK?

Muchas Gracias!



(These photos come from the FLYING COLORS archive scrapbooks, put together with love by Libby. If you'd like to see more of the early days of FLYING COLORS, just ask to see the scrapbooks. If you've been one of the FLYING COLORS' Faithful for years, you might even be in a photo or two.)

Friday, September 22, 2006



Just a slogan, right? No way!

Case in point: Next week (Wed Sept 27) the first Image Comics issue of TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD will be released to retailers on the east coast. West coast comic book retailers (including Flying Colors, natch!) will have it on sale Wednesday Oct 4. The photo here shows Tom Beland giving Jenny an advance copy of the comic book.

Those of you who follow this delightful, heart-felt and funny series know it's really the TRUE STORY of Tom Beland and his love Lily Garcia. They met at a bus-stop in Disneyworld--- Tom was working for a newspaper in Vallejo CA while Lily has a blossoming media career in Puerto Rico.

TRUE STORY is the ongoing story of their love together---except that Tom left the island nation of Puerto Rico months ago, separating from Lily, but still longing to be with her.

So what does this have to do with FLYING COLORS? Earlier today, Tom & Lily visited and wanted to share some good news. Not wanting to keeep it to myself, I recorded it for everyone to share and enjoy.

I posted the video on and you can see it by clicking on the arrow in the screen shown here.

So now you know, When It Happens in Comics, It Really Does Happen in Flying Colors!



Monday, September 18, 2006


No one responded to my plea for help with how to post a video on this blog, so after some searching, I figured the best way to show you some videos here is to post direct links to .

Careful, though, because is a *very* addictive site. You can find lots of rare bits of video from your favorite musicians and groups, old commericals and public service announcements including WILLIE MAYS' famous '60s spot telling kids to stay away from blasting caps! There's a lot of good old sports footage, news clips and other random oddities.

Add to that are the two videos I recently added:

Video #1 is the very short piece from Brian and Jen's wedding reception. See it HERE!

Video #2 is a PAN & SCAN of FLYING COLORS, taken with the video feature on my cheapo little digital camera. Really, the store looks a lot better in person. That's an invitation for you to come by soon to see for yourself! See the video HERE!

Peace y'all!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Comics In The Classroom!

One of the wonderful things happening with comics lately is the use of comics and graphic novels in educational environments. Teachers, library staff and tutors everywhere are realizing how powerful the comics' medium is in getting new readers of literally ALL ages excited about reading.

We live in a visually drenched culture, so it only makes sense to teach using visuals. Comics are very powerful for exercising the interpretive and cognitive skills of readers. It's with that introduction I'd like to direct your web-browser to a site called Comics In The Classroom.
Parents, teachers, library staff will all be able to find good information and some solid recommendations at the Comics In The Classroom site.
And now, the FLYING COLORS Retailing Brigade checks in with our Picks of the Week!

Mike: JONAH HEX TP Volume One
Brian: PRIDE OF BAGHDAD graphic novel
Jenny: KLEZMER: Tales of the Wild East graphic novel
Ed: DMZ #11
Chris: LOVE & ROCKETS #17

And for those of you hanging on CIVIL WAR, this week there are several CW tie-ins, including CIVIL WAR FILES, MS MARVEL, CIVIL WAR #2 McNiven Sketch Variant and CIVIL WAR #1 Captain America Unleashed cover!

So what's your favorite comic this week?



Monday, September 11, 2006


If things seem just a little bit quieter around Flying Colors for the next couple of weeks, there's a happy reason for it. Brian will be taking a couple of weeks off to spend time with his bride! Saturday September 9, Flying Colors' own Brian tied the knot with his One True Love, the ever-cute and always-stylish Jen (who many of you will recognize from her helping us out each year on Free Comic Book Day).

I'm posting a couple of pix here from the festivities--- at left is a photo of Brian & Jen making their official entrance after the wedding ceremony. What a great party it was, too! There were probably 150 or so in attendance---and all had a wonderful time with lots, I mean LOTS, of laughing, dancing, and a little bubbly, too.

The whole event really hit me in profound ways. Not only do I care a great deal about Brian and Jen and want great things for their new life together, but the wedding hit me as another example of how FLYING COLORS is maybe just a bit more than just a place where people buy "comics & other cool stuff".

At the wedding and reception, in addition to all of Brian' family and all of Jen's family (and a really nice group they all are!), there were two full tables of Brian & Jen's FLYING COLORS' Family---including most of my family, our current store staff and a number of Flying Colors' Faithful. It made me realize and appreciate that we're not only a business, but we're also a community of our own.

This photo of the Flying Colors' portion of the reception is not a great quality shot--- I must have the world's worst digital camera--- but it does capture all of us together, late in the reception party and all having a great time (come to think of it, maybe that's why most of my photos were somehwat blurry...).

Thanks to Brian's family, the Hodgkinsons---and thanks to Jen's family, the Zaros, for allowing my family and the Flying Colors' family to be a part of this celebration.

Peace, all!


PS: Last thing: I have a short and great piece of video from the wedding reception currently on my computer desktop, but I honestly have no clue how to post it here. Hopefully, I'll find out in the next day or so. If not, I may just post it to (an incredibly addictive web-site).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Releases' Day is THURSDAY Sept 7

Hope you all had a good long holiday weekend! Due to the Monday Labor Day holiday, our New Releases' Day this week will be Thursday September 7.

Hours for this week are:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 11AM-7PM
Thursday: 11AM-8PM
Sunday: 12 Noon-7PM

The photo to the right features Jenny with Jonathan, long-time Flying Colors Faithful. Jonathan is now a producction assistant for IMAGE COMICS in Berkeley, as well as an MBA student, excellent cartoonist, pretty darn good tennis player and all-around good guy.

Jonathan (along with artist Terry Moore) surprised Jenny for her birthday a few months ago with an original page of art from Jen's favorite series: Moore's STRANGERS IN PARADISE. We've had the piece on display in the store, but it was time for Jenny display it in her digs, so I took this shot to show off the page, let you see a small corner of our store---

---And remind you that STRANGERS IN PARADISE is one really great and gripping read. We have all the trade paperbacks and pocket editions in stock right now, so next time you're in the shop, ask Jenny to give her recommendation for this series. SIP is a "Guaranteed Read"!

The 9 11 REPORT GRAPHIC ADAPTATION has been getting a lot of buzz lately. If you'd like to preview the book, has pages posted HERE!

And remember, the reason some people get so goofy about comics is to keep from going crazy about things in general!



Sunday, September 03, 2006

Comics-Related Movies Opening This Week!

One of Hollywood's great mysteries gets the big screen treatment this week with the release of HOLLYWOODLAND. It's the story of the death of TV's original Superman, George Reeves. The cast of the movie features Ben Affleck as George Reeves not yet sure about how that'll work out), along with Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins.

I have to admit that SUPERMAN RETURNS wasn't as good as I had been hoping--- when the best action in a super-hero movie occurs in the first 30 minutes of a two and half hour feature, that's probably a movie that didn't quite live up to expectations. Be that as it may, I'm hoping HOLLYWOODLAND fares a lot better.

Yes, it's a different kind of movie---but it does deal with the super-hero genre in that George Reeves as Superman in the 1950s was as close to a real hero as many kids had. His death, officially ruled a suicide, but never conclusively, left millions of kids sad, if not totally disillusioned and confused.

Maybe this movie will answer some questions and then ask others. I'm looking forward to it.
HOLLYWOODLAND opens September 8.

Yet another graphic novel makes its way to the big screen, when COVENANT, originally from IMAGE's TOP COW Studio, opens later this week. I don't remember much about the comic, but we'll have it in stock for those who want to check the source material against the movie version.

Labor Day pushes New Releases this week to Thursday, so we'll see you soon!



Friday, August 25, 2006

More Comics in the News!

Comics continue to be making the news!

Long-time comic industry veterans Sid Jacobsen and Ernie Colon have been making the media rounds talking about their graphic novel adaptation of the 9-11 REPORT. Sid and Ernie have been on most of the morning news programs, as well as on NPR and other talk shows. Some mass market outlets have already received this book and we will be getting our copies in store soon.

If you're wondering who Sid and Ernie are--- these guys probably have close to 100 combined years experience working in comics. Sid, I believe, was he creator of RICHIE RICH for Harvey Comics back in the late '50s and was the chief editor for Marvel's STAR Comics, their '80s entry into the kids' comic book market. Ernie has worked for many publishers doing a wide variety of genres from horror to super-heroes to some work for Harvey Comics.

The 9-11 REPORT graphic novel adaptation is definitely challenging mainstream media's notions of what can be done in the medium of comics storytelling. I'm glad to see two comic industry pros of long and good standing getting some attention for their new work.

On a much more local level, storyteller Orlando Harding and his new series PARIAH are featured on the front page of the Datebook section of today's San Francisco Chronicle, in a story well written by reporter Peter Hartlaub. You can read it HERE!

It's tough for indie creators to make a go of it when DC and Marvel are cranking out tons of exciting stuff, but I like to think there's room for mavericks like Orlando. We also hope you'll take the time to check out all the independent comics we stock here at FLYING COLORS. The lesson we learned a long time ago is that readers like variety. No one goes to the ice cream store expecting they'll only have vanilla and chocolate, right? By the way, we are due to get more copies of PARIAH back in stock in a day or two, so please let us know if you'd like us to reserve them for you.

Peace 'n' Comics!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Look! Up in the Store! It's...the New Skyscape!

Publisher's Weekly interviewed me last week for my reaction to Marvel's announcement in the delay of CIVIL WAR and related titles. You can read the coverage
Let me know your reactions to this mini-tempest by hitting the "Comments" button, OK?

While we're waiting for the CIVIL WAR title to get back on track, there are two excellent CW-related tie-ins that hit the racks today--- NEW AVENGERS and HEROES FOR HIRE. Don't miss 'em!

Also in store, the first issue of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA (no abbreviations this time!) by New York Times' best-selling author BRAD MELTZER (2005's IDENTITY CRISIS). WONDER WOMAN #2, another late title also shows up today---and like CIVIL WAR will be when it finally shows, this title is worth the wait.

Also form DC, the ABSOLUTE DARK KNIGHT over-sized hardcover is here---and with the requests we've been getting for this one, we suggest you put it in your "buy" pile soon.

ITEM: Some of you have noticed---and I've pointed it out to others, but there's a new addition here at FLYING COLORS. It's the new FLYING COLORS' skyline and spacescape spanning the more than 40 feet width of our store.
Be here soon for all the Cool Stuff!



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

TRUE STORY: Power Pop & Comics!

If you've seen the Flying Colors' TV spot featuring my daughter Jenny, you already know that she's ready to recommend lots of great comics to girls who might be reluctant to jump into the comics' scene on their own. 

Jenny's two favorite recommendations for women are Terry Moore's long-running series STRANGERS IN PARADISE and Tom Beland's funny and quirky romance called TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD!

Tom stopped by the store today (with the drawing you see here) to thank Jenny for promoting his work, not only in TRUE STORY, but also the two Spider-Man stories Tom has had published by Marvel Comics over the last year. I echo Jenny's recommendations of Tom's entertaining, funny and heartfelt stories! TRUE STORY moves to Image Comics with its next issue and you can bet it'll be more popular than ever.


As a huge fan of Power Pop--- the style of music first coined by Pete Townsend of the Who, and invented by that band and others like the Beatles, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, the Raspberries and Big Star, it's always a kick to see where Power Pop will show up. Power pop features soaring melodies, crunchy guitars and layered harmonies that will remind you of the best days listening to music on AM radio. or maybe it'll remind you of the great days lisstening to latter day power poppers like the Replacements, REM, the Bangles and Cheap Trick!

I've long thought that the connection between power pop and comics is a strong one--- both are now promulgated mostly by independent artists, fighting the tide against the forces of MTV and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." This week, in DC Comics' MANHUNTER #25, I've spotted another fan of power pop in series writer Marc Andreyko who features power poppers THE 88 in the new MANHUNTER issue.

Since we occcasionally play THE 88 here on the FLYING COLORS' sound system-- and we also feature a stellar selection of power pop CDs from NOT LAME RECORDINGS, the prime purveyor of pop music on-line. Check 'em out HERE! There's probably a sound sample or two from The 88...

And while you're at it, check out MANHUNTER from DC COMICS. It's a good read with plenty of action to go along with engaging characters. And hey, with CIVIL WAR delayed for a few weeks, it's a good opportunity to read something new!

Peace 'n' Pop 'n' Comics!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

FLYING COLORS in the news...

Check out the front page of today’s San Francisco Chronicle for another excellent feature by CW (Chuck) Nevius, this one’s about the fall of the sportscards speculation market.

You can read it HERE

I still really enjoy baseball cards---mostly because I LOVE baseball--- and have a decent collection of my two favorite teams, the A’s and the Giants (yes, one can love both teams!), and my collection has cards that go back to the ‘50s. Love the ’67 Willie McCovey pictured here. I was eleven in ’67, so that really was my personal golden age…

Actually, I have a card or two from the late 1930s featuring my great-uncle Joe Bowman (and if you haven’t read my blog entry about him, “The Uncle Joe I Didn’t Know”, it explains the origins of my life-long addiction to America’s #1 sport).

If there’s something I want readers of the Chron article to take away, it’s that the value of collecting sportscards isn’t in impossible-to-realize financial gains from selling recent vintage sportscards. The value is in extending one’s enjoyment of the sport---and happily, that’s what I’m seeing from most baseball card buyers over the last year or two.

We took part in the National Baseball Card Day back in June and our turn-out wasn’t great, so we still have some of the giveaway packs. If you’d like one, mention this blog next time you’re in FLYING COLORS and we’ll give you one for FREE! (Limit one per person while supply lasts, blah, blah, blah…)

Also in the news, one of the panels I moderated at the San Diego Comic-Con got some coverage at the comic news site “PULSE”. It’s a short-hand version of some of what I (and my fellow retailers, along with Diamond good guy Dave Hawksworth) had to say about starting a comic book store. We had a full room, easily more than 150 in attendance, including Kate Keller from Sequential Tart, who did the Pulse piece.
You can read it

Just remember, these are really *notes* of what was said more than actual *quotes*, so if you have specific questions you’d like answered, you can always call or e-mail me. I’m open to doing some consulting for new comic shop retailers, but just remember, the first call is free, so if you really need a chunk of my time while you’re trying to get a new store off the ground, I do ask for a consulting fee.

Comic-Con was amazing, but it was also exhausting for me---as evidenced by this being my first new blog entry since the end of that monster show. In retrospect, I honestly wish I had more time to be a fan there---I was so wrapped up in running retailer programming and doing other behind-the-scenes meetings, that I didn’t get much of a chance to see Comic-Con. Next year, it’ll be different!

Peace, y’all---