Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving prep - hamster-style

Been busy lately, and changes a-comin' soon. 'Til then, enjoy this:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Geek Magazine RIP

A coming nerd implosion? Is there too much content to consume on a daily basis? We'll see...
 From the Editorial Team of GEEK MAGAZINE:


To our readers, Facebook and social media friends, and of course the whole Geek Magazine community, we want to thank you for the support you’ve given us these last 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately, we are announcing the discontinued publication of GEEK Magazine and geekexchange.com. Despite our sadness over this decision, we appreciate the opportunity to bring you a high-quality magazine filled with stuff that we hope you have loved as much as we have. Print and digital subscribers will be receiving further information in the near future on any remaining part of your Geek subscription, if applicable.

We at GEEK want to thank all of our talented editors and contributors for your dedication to helping pack each issue with what we hope has been entertaining and interesting content. And a special thanks to our Web editor, Brian Kronner, and his awesome team for helping to grow the site and online community.

We look forward to new avenues to reach out to you soon to keep highlighting the geeks behind the stuff we all love.

Keep flying your Geek flags high.

Geek Media Ventures


Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Updates!

recap for a Friday:

On Monday, snackyPOP asked "what's the deal with high fructose corn syrup?" And homemade bread, too!

Tuesday, Pulpwear showed pretty pictures! The Big Four pulp magazines from yer great grand pappy's time (which I'm sure he hid under the bed from Great Grandmama) routinely featured gorgeous painted covers to stand out on the incredibly crowded newstand of the day. Go look and be pleased.

Midweek, The Comicro shone a spotlight on some micropress news and CONtroversy (heh) - go now you'll see...

Yesterday, we began our boozy journey across the US of A with the US of W. Beginning in Bama, and travelling alphabetically (?!), we'll try to discover what's new and interesting in bourbon.

And here's a video of koalas arguing:


Weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ZCB Industries - an exciting new direction in tl;dr

This long weekend has given ol' ZCB plenty of time for reflection, contemplation and experimental hangover cures (I still prefer a Bloody Mary). I thought long and hard about where to take this blogging effort next, now that the Collection has been sent to a better place (Ann Arbor, MI).

I have many interests and pursue quite a few side projects while keeping the airwaves safe entertaining for kith and kin. And I've dropped vague and cryptic hints along the way since March about a couple of these (Comicro? Pulpwear? SnackyPOP?!). While sitting on the back deck on a beautiful Saturday morning, it hit me: why not try to accomplish everything at once, while maintaining a full-time job and supporting a gorgeous wife and two wonderful, crazy kids (first day of school tomorrow...more excited than I should be)?

So here goes everything. Effective immediately, you'll start seeing new daily activity here on ZCB, and during the week, you'll be shown a pathway to a new different adventure. Your majestic ship awaits...


Monday - SnackyPOP: I'll be trying out a venture with a few craft soda purveyors and alternative snackmakers. Ya see, kids, the ZCB clan prefers to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) whenever possible. The stuff is in everything, it seems, and while the jury may still be out on the effects of HFCS in the diets of the citizenry, I just think it's best to stay away from it if you can. And I like me some pop'n'snacks. So I'll point out a few nifty things you might be able to find on the shelf at your local groceteria or at least feature an online ordering option. If you enjoy eating and drinking things, then tasty treats are to be found within!

Tuesday - Pulpwear: Not just the finest t-shirt emporium this side of Steve & Berry's (wait, what?), but also a home for an overview of modern art. I said modern art. Over the past two to three decades, my love of comics has led to an appreciation for many styles of illustration from the past 100-150 years. And Pulpwear is my crass, overtly commercial way of celebrating that. We'll look at some fascinating examples of art nouveau, art deco, early 20th century advertising, cigar box art, produce crate art (!) and much much more. Seriously, this stuff is beautiful. You'll see.

Wednesday - The Comicro: This is where the comic book talky talk will reside. The Comicro will still feature my erudite musings on collectin' stuff, and we'll get back to the Indiestarter updates too. I have been enjoying the wonders of mini-comics and the small press much more as Marvel leaves me behind with it's rebootin' and renumberin' and what not. WAY back, I worked for Geppi's Comic World, and I've always been interested in the funny book biz too, so we'll touch on that. I still do have plenty of comics, so I might point out a few gems to faithful readers as well. And it all happens on Wednesday, cuz you know, it's Wednesday.

Thursday - The United States of Whiskey: Cheers! You've made it this far in the post; it's time for a drink or two. As we stagger towards to the weekend, we'll look at the amazing craft spirit industry. I don't drink the demon liquor too often, but I do enjoy bourbon (to be more specific, George Dickel #8), and rum, wine, beer, cider, vodka, gin, a growing selection of cocktails, and various new concoctions that can occasionally be found in the great state of Wisconsin. I've heard there might be a couple of drinking establishments nearby (I live near Lambeau) so access to booze is likely certain.

Friday - BBQHoney: I grill. A lot. The charred flesh of unlucky animals has always been a favorite among my tribe, and I've grown fond of developing my own sauces and marinades. Two things happened recently: I discovered all but one brand (Stubb's) of BBQ sauce at the local supermarket have HFCS as a prime ingredient. I also found out that Wisconsin frowns on people selling their own stuff unless made in a commercial kitchen. I don't have time for that, but I do make a kick ass chipotle sauce that, for now, will only be enjoyed on the grounds of the ZCB compound. Did I mention bees? They seem to be disappearing and that's bad. Very bad. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches rule! So I have a vested interest in bees proliferating. As do we all, really. See you Friday, TGIF and all that.

Saturday - Travelocirapture Voyage of the Darned: More of a personal sidelight, where I'll be looking back at my travels and looking ahead to places I've yet to visit. Over the past 25 years, I've been fortunate to live and travel throughout North America (with a few stops in the Caribbean and South America), and I have experienced some amazing, and some harrowing, events. Grab a cup o'joe, find your cozy place and then troll the living shit outta me in allcaps with all the cool/hip things I missed when I was in your town. Also, I couldn't think of a better name than Travelocirapture. I made a slight improvement. Suggestions are still encouraged.

Sunday - Zombie Cat Bacon: - Hey, that's right here! Yup, we end up back at the beginning to prepare for a new week of yammering on and on about things I find interesting. But as a treat for those of you that stuck with me, I tell you what movies, TV, and sports you should be watching. Music and games too. If you're well behaved, I'll share the tale about the time I saw Devo and Black Sabbath in the same week back in the 80's.

Can I pull this off? Can I blog every day? Do I have enough material? I think so.

Alright, I'll give it a try...



Monday, August 18, 2014

I've got the shirts, the shirts you want

After my dazzling performance as a shirt hawker a few weeks ago (we all remember it fondly, and I sold nearly one of them! Thanks, Mom!), I thought I'd create some nifty threads using some of the images I've collected over the years. There will be more to come and there is absolutely no theme to this. You won't find Marvel characters or Dr. Who stuff. Certainly no Star Wars/Trek or Game of Walking Guardians or anything else like that.

I dig vintage travel posters and old race car ads. Sometimes dead brands can be fun, as can the art deco/nouveau liquor promos one occasionally sees in your finer mall art stores.

Pulp magazines and public domain comics can have very interesting covers (if not totally lurid and a little sleazy...oooh baby), but they're hard to find in decent condition.

At the top of the page, you'll see a link for Pulpwear - clicking on that is what you want to do now.

Anyway, go take a look and if something strikes your fancy, buy it, tell yer friends, they'll buy more shirts, and then I'll be rich and won't have to blog for food anymore.


Hot Links!

Here's a few links about collecting and music I found recently. Read and enjoy! Tell 'em Zombie Cat sent ya!

Why Nerdy White Guys Who Love the Blues Are Obsessed With a Wisconsin Chair Factory

Yes, that's Robert Crumb at the top of the fold, his career as a underground comix icon very casually mentioned...

The American Band Championship Belt - Start arguing...now!


The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who’s Buying Up All the World’s Vinyl Records - WTF?!

All you readers in my beloved upstate NY git yer asses over to the Shmaltz Brewery in Clifton Park

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Robin Williams story

In the winter of 1980, I was published in print for the first time. It was during my freshman year at Pinellas Park High School (Florida). Back in the olden days, schools actually used to encourage students to write and produce things like literary magazines. Ours was called Touch of Class. Below is a scan of my review of Robin Williams' debut comedy album, Reality...What a Concept.



I'd kinda forgotten about it until tonight. But I thought it would be nice to share.

RIP Mr. Williams and thank you.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Indiestarter update

In early May, I started randomly holding a spotlight over a few Kickstarter and Indiegogo comic projects that I thought to be sorta neato. Here's an update:

Save Kowabunga - ouch. The Kickstarter campaign didn't quite make it, however the boys at Kowabunga are fighting the good fight and recently posted on their website that they'll be open at least through August. If you're in America's Dairyland, stop by and say hi (with money).

Help Phantom Zone Comics Expand! - double ouch. Indiegogo didn't help much at all, but, like Kowabunga, they're still supplying the folks of Lynnwood, WA with sweet funny book treats.

Exquisite Corpse - Success! However I'm not sure where they're going now. I didn't see an acknowledgement of the Kickstarter win on his Facebook, twitter or website, so I'm really not sure what's going on.

Lumina - Wow! They crushed it, and I look forward to seeing the finished product. For more, go here and here

Skidmarks - Three in a row! And apparently, it's available now

The Dying Breed - Make that four straight. For more on EJ and the challenges he's currently facing, go read this now. Best of luck and congrats on the Indiegogo win!

So the Golden Shower of Zombie Cat Bacon love (note: reword that in final edits) has 4-2 score in crowdfunding so far.

Something new watch: Radiator Comics, a new distribution outlet for small-press creators.

That's all for now...

Monday, August 4, 2014

The sale

And, of course, when I wrote "More on that tomorrow...", I meant next Monday.

If you've been following along, I started this whole bloggy thingy to detail my adventures in selling my comics collection. OK, to recap for new readers so far:
1. I have a lot of comics
2. I no longer want to have a lot of comics
3. I made an effort to sell them through various online and offline channels
4. It was a giant pain in the ass
5. I really haven't detailed my adventures so much as I've just written about stuff I felt like writing about, with a large serving of comic related musings on the side

So after four months of multiple Craigslist posts, I finally sold my comics.

!

Yes, it is true. I should tell you that I am more excited about the sale than it may appear, and the transaction is almost complete (now, now, don't worry - all I have to do now is ship them - they're paid for, and the buyer is arranging the shipping).

In total, since March, I received about 100 emails and phone calls. I had one aborted sale (after a 2 1/2 hour drive each way). I had far too many questions about the Silver Age and/or Marvel content of the collection, (though the listings were pretty darn clear as to the comics contained therein). I had some hilarious lowball offers. I spoke to some colossal assholes. I was afraid I would never sell them, and concurrently afraid that I would.

After sharing my story with so many of you (a surprising amount, considering my inability to maintain even the most basic writing consistency), I realized I was not alone in my contention that comic collecting, as I knew it growing up, is dead. I'm OK with that, I really am. My kids can read the same great Avengers tales and Love & Rockets comics as I did, albeit probably through a different medium and format.

Oh, what's that? How much did I get for the whole thing? It appears the going rate for 3900 bagged and boarded comics, dating from 1975 to 2013 from publishers as diverse as Marvel, First, Image, DC, Comico and Eclipse, in long runs and all sorted and chronological and neat and tidy (near mint to mint condition - sure I guess), is about a cool grand.

$1000. That's what I got. I didn't haggle. I wasn't insulted. I wasn't surprised. A guy in Michigan said he'll give me a grand, and I said yes, I'll take that.

By the end of this week, there will be a large 15-long-box shaped hole in my life. The $1000 I got for the collection won't fill it, but something will, and I'm sure it'll be something cool.

And, sure, Zombie Cat Bacon will continue. I enjoy the process and the interaction. Plus a Facebook page now exists here. Join me, won't you?


Monday, July 28, 2014

The post we've all been waiting for...

Or at least the post I've been wanting to write...I'll explain after a brief interlude.

First I want to bring this item to your attention:

Chuck Rozanski and SDCC
After 42 consecutive years in a row, it may finally (at long last...) be time for me to bid San Diego good-bye, forever.
The comic collectibles market is changing, we all know that. Ebay, digital, trade omnibus editions and a new generation of readers that don't care about ownership have taken the old paradigm (of long box diving and gap-filling back issue purchases) behind the woodshed and pumped a shotgun into the back of its head.

I do not weep for the past. I think collecting things is fun. However, it is no longer a necessary function of enjoying comics. If you want it, you can eventually find it on Ebay. If you have a reading device, comics are as portable as any other entertainment. I have a large bookshelf and I like the look of having it full of beautiful trades and omnibus editions (omnibi? nope, checked it, omnibuses...hmm, I don't like that).

And access over ownership is really the generational shift we're seeing. My kids loved Frozen (didn't we all? Especially that tune...how's it go again?) (By the way, AAAAaaggghhhh).

Though we did buy it on DVD (for our epic July cross-country trip these past few weeks, he says, explaining Zombie Cat's summer hibernation), we didn't need to. The kids use Netflix streaming, Time Warner on-demand and YouTube for 90% of their flat screen based entertainment. They rarely if ever ask us to purchase DVDs (or even to go to the local cinema). They have access to nearly anything they want 24/7 via multiple devices.

So why buy stuff like paper comics? "I love the feel/smell/permanence/physical object", you might say. That's fine, but you're in the rapidly shrinking minority. And if you're under the age of 30, you're weird.

Chuck's rant regarding this weekend's Comic-Con is focused on a specific category of collectibles, but the underlying theme regarding his business model shows how vulnerable enterprises like his really are. He has literally millions of comics in his warehouses. The supply will now always supersede the market demand, and as demand for physical objects like Marvel Two-In-One #39 stagnates and shrinks, the costs of warehousing and staffing physical plants will only increase over time.

"Doomed" is the word that comes to mind.

Interlude over.

So anyway, I sold my collection yesterday.


More on that tomorrow...

Friday, June 20, 2014

The shirt

Did you know you can design a product, have it manufactured AND shipped, with no upfront costs? And you can do it in about 15 minutes?

I just did it, and boy, is it stupid cool available now.



Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pocket list

I like to read, and now, more than ever, it is just too easy to find cool/interesting/infuriating stuff to read online. So I save articles I want to read in an app called Pocket. Rarely do I have the opportunity to get to the saved articles in Pocket however, what with my DVR load and my DCBS monthly shipment of trades and my sports-watching, and my other book-reading and my bike-riding, and my, uh, whadduyacallit, family.

Here's a list of some of the recent saved articles. I haven't read any of them yet:



Perhaps my loyal readership could read these for me and give me a synopsis on each one. I would be grateful, and frankly very surprised if any of you actually did that for me. It would reek of awesomeness.



Quickly now - I don't have all day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The End is Coming: "Or not" edition

Remember this?
I will be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my car...to the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota
Allow me to edit that for you:
I will NOT be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my car...to the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota
Funny story...the dude from Minny did meet me in Chippewa Falls (if you haven't made the trip across semi-northern Wisconsin, it is an incredibly boring drive from Green Bay). He drove all the way from Minneapolis and brought along a buddy for company, just as I brought my son along.

It turns out the dude from Minny's buddy was the real buyer and had no interest in my stuff. He wanted to cherry pick and lowball at the same time (that sounds filthy). I said no. He gave me gas money ($22!) and we went our separate ways.

More entertaining than my Saturday, I assure you


Did I mention there was a hail storm as we arrived in C-Falls? There was a hail storm in C-Falls.

Up next: local dude is stopping by tonight to take a peek at what is quickly becoming a much-hated pile of old paper.

And then stay tuned for our next episode, in which I throw, frisbee-style, near mint bagged and boarded copies of Animal Man off my roof...

Friday, June 6, 2014

The End is coming

Tomorrow in Chippewa Falls, WI, a big chapter of my life will come to a close. Around 9:30 Central time, I will be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my car (if you will recall, a Kia Soul purchased in part with the sale of my Marvel collection) to the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota. I will give a postscript on the transaction later in the weekend, plus I hope to start a discussion with those folks that have gone through what I'm about to experience.

I will no longer be a collector of anything, at least nothing "collectible".

Also, as I'm flying through the Intersphere this morning, I saw this Rich Johnston post on Bleeding Cool, and it contained this little passage:
Citing increases in rent and the reducing demand at shows for the dollar box –  as well as the DC Comics reboot – they say they have lost faith in the back issue market.
Next week I will submit the answers to my dealer survey for your perusal. I asked a number of renowned comic retailers about the current state of the back issue marketplace. Have they "lost faith" as well?



Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A couple of cool links and a Craigslist update!

The A.V. Club is one of my regular stops around the Intersphere, and today Mike Vago posted a review of the Top 10 episodes of one of my absolute favorite TV shows of all time, WKRP in Cincinnati. I bought the season one DVD set when it was released a few years ago, and was very disappointed due to this:
For a season-one DVD release, Wilson personally hand-picked replacement tracks for the original music—some similar songs from the era, some generic filler music. In some cases, scenes featuring unavailable music are truncated, and replaced by previously unaired deleted scenes, and in some cases lines spoken over music were re-recorded. The strategy has mixed results at best—several episodes include references to songs that the viewer can no longer hear—but it was the only way for the show to see any kind of legal release. 

I understand some very good people are working on a solution, and are trying to re-release the series in an unedited form. I will wait for it - it's worth it.

Living on the air...

I work in radio now, and while the industry is VERY different from the good ol' WKRP days, I still am pinged with memories of the show through my daily working life. I highly recommend you find a way to see it as it was originally intended (here is a good start).

Second, I really need to start attending shows like this:


The Beat (starring Heidi MacDonald!) has an excellent overview of the show, as posted by Benjamin Rogers. As I've written in the recent past, I find myself more drawn to the non-corporate world of comics (though Image is putting out some great stuff, as is IDW, and Dark Horse). There is just so much comic goodness to explore, and I'm not even diving into webcomics (yet). Sometimes it feels exhausting to think about trying absorb so much content.

I'd love to see my friends over at Comic Book DB try to catalog these incredible artists and writers so I can figure a path in. I know, you're probably shouting at me through the screen "why are you such an OCD asshole?! Just buy it and try it". Love to; can't. Yes, I realize that is odd to some, but I need order when it comes to things like this. Help me.

Oh yeah, Craigslost. I have a deal in principal to be consummated Saturday. A very nice private collector from Minnesota has offered me a decent (not awesome) pile of money for the collection. Will update as warranted.

More to follow...

Monday, June 2, 2014

A bonus post!

I just had to link to this interesting interview from Collector's Weekly (why am I just finding this now?). Lisa Hix talks to Simon Reynolds about our increasingly retro society here. A taste of the interview below (emphasis mine):

Reynolds: I collect recordsbooks, and music magazines. It can be very expensive, and I end up with a house full of these moldy, decaying music magazines. But they’re useful because my other books are more historical than they are polemical, unlike, “Retromania.” Music magazines are just invaluable because they give you a real sense of the era. You have the record company adverts. You have pieces on bands that no one remembers. They’re all part of the grist of that time, part of the mulch out of which the legendary bands emerged. The gossip items, news items, even the way the typography in these magazines look—it all helps you understand the context a band was operating in. Plus, old music magazines are just fun to have and look at. But it is ruinous obsession to develop in terms of living space and, essentially, money.
Check it out on YouTube


And Travel + Leisure (!) pops this ranking into the Intersphere:

America's Best Comic Book Shops

US Manga sales and Indiestarter III

Quick question: In 2013 the Top 50 manga titles in Japan sold 122 million copies. Japan has a population of 127 million (sources:Wikipedia).

Do Japanese-Americans in the States buy manga on that level? I don't think they do, but if not why not?

---

New projects alert! Over on Kickstarter, we have Derek Hunter who is looking to fund his mini-comics. What's the big deal, you ask?

I'm Derek Hunter, one of the designers for Adventure Time on Cartoon Network! I have been drawing comics for almost as long as I can remember and what I'm asking from you today is to help me collect my favorite self-published mini comics of the last 11 years into one beautiful book!
Click to fund


My kids LOVE Adventure Time. Actually so do I. Derek's more than halfway to his goal, so give him a little shove towards success, please. Just hit Click to fund above.

On the Indigogo side of the street, there's EJ Cedric's The Dying Breed. Go read EJ's bio and check out his website. It's not a huge goal, but the results of the effort can be far greater than simply raising a few bucks to print a comic.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Indiestarter II

As I did last week, I'm picking a new comic-based project on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and give them some ZombieCatBacon(TM) love, and see if I can help move some new creators towards publication, or assist in some other worthy project.

So today on Kickstarter we have Exquisite Corpse, from Cary, NC:


The comic book was written one page at a time, but each artist only saw the final panel from the page before theirs.  A little bit funny, a little bit scary, and a little bit erotic...it's the story of a worm that becomes a flying cat and befriends a robot.  Together they...well, you'll have to read it to appreciate it. :)

I lived near Cary for a while (Raleigh) and I really enjoyed living in that part of the country. Good luck to Jason Tyne-Zimmerman on his campaign. His is not a huge goal, so go give him a boost, why doncha?


Yes, you could



Over at Indiegogo, I found this striking piece of work - Lumina
Lùmina is a bright, colorful italian graphic novel project by Emanuele Tenderini and Linda Cavallini, authors of many titles previously published by names such as Sergio Bonelli, Delcourt, Ankama, Mondadori, Hachette, Les Humanoïdes associés, DeAgostini, Panini.
Yes, the fundraising is in Euros, but don't let that stop you. And to my French and Italian readers, get on it!




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Craigslist update again

The previous offer I received a couple of weeks ago ($900) never came through. Fine, it's not the first time, gettin' kinda used to it now...

I went through the entire collection and pulled out a selection of titles to see how they're selling on Ebay. I picked out 72 titles; some new buzzy stuff like Afterlife with Archie and Black Science, and some personal faves like Dreadstar and Starslayer. The results were interesting. Well, to me anyway.



I only recorded the results if the listing was either an exact match for what I had or at least darn close (the listing says issues 1-8 and I have 1-10, something like that).

Recall that this is 15 1/2 long boxes of primarily independent titles, with a smattering of Marvel and DC. So we're talking about 4300 comics (90% bagged and boarded). I'm doing cartwheels in the street if I get $.35 a comic (or $1500). Here's the Craigslist post again (updated):


I discovered the 72 titles, according to Ebay, have sold recently for a collective $2300. These comics fill two long boxes, so it's 550(?) comics.

So if someone offered me my asking price right now and just sold the two preselected boxes on Ebay and achieved 80% of what I discovered, they'd make their money back within 7-10 days (including fees!).

And still have 3,750 comics remaining. And what remains is about 1200 hours worth of some damn good funny book readin'.


Why hasn't it sold yet? Because the collection is not jammed full of X-Spidervengers, that's why. And nearly 100% of the buyers I've dealt with so far only want to flip these books at flea markets, so they need the comics that match up with the general public's mental image of what a comic should be.

One guy offered me $600 sight unseen, and didn't want the list because it's in Excel and he doesn't like Microsoft. OK.

I'll keep trying, though.

By the way, if anyone wants to see the list of titles (which includes links to each of the Ebay results I mentioned), leave a comment and I will send it to you.






Friday, May 16, 2014

The Collector Scum

Over on LA Weekly, Henry Rollins writes about a topic I've touched on a few times: the collector. In this case, he covers the collectible vinyl hobby (been there), and has more than a few words about the current state of affairs:
You might think no one past the age of 17 could possibly lose sleep over this kind of thing, but that's where you'd be wrong. Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby. It is an obsession. Do this kind of thing in high school and you can play the youth card. Do it at 50 and you have some issues you really need to deal with.
Go read it here

...

Done? Remind you of anything? CGC perhaps? The horrible feeling you get when you see a broken spine on your copy of X-Thing #459? Variant covers?

I'll paraphrase Harry's closing line: "Life is short. Get to as <many comics> as you can. Don't get hung up on the technicalities."



Yup.

In other news, here's a nice round-up of the Humble Bundle thingy I mentioned earlier this week:
This was also a huge opportunity to reach non-comic book readers. Many people who check the Humble website with some frequency may have been surprised to see comics books on a video game page, and for many, surprise turned to intrigue. While it’s impossible to tell whether the purchasers of the Image bundle were frequent comic buyers or not, it’s logical to assume that many were not. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if for some, the Image bundle was the first comic purchase of their lives.
Kate Reynolds, you are correct. You go read her blog now.


Lastly, I think this is neato: Canva - gonna give a look-see this weekend

Enjoy yourself this weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Humble Bundle and more

Now this is cool. Go read Heidi's post over at The Beat about the success of the first Humble Bundle for comics. Almost $400K was raised for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!

Here's a nice CBR article by Corey Blake about Dark Horse's resurgence. I was reading Dark Horse before they were cool, you know. (Love ya, Concrete!)

I miss this site: The Fourth Rail. Helped get me back into comics about 10 years ago...I discussed this a while ago.

I'll be watching Game 7. How about you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Indiestarter push

Starting this week, I'm going to pick a new comic-based project on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and give them some ZombieCatBacon(TM) love, and see if I can help move some new creators towards publication, or assist in some other worthy project.

So today on Kickstarter we have this push to Save Kowabunga:

"Kowabunga Comics has been a fixture in the Downtown Oconomowoc community since 2006, when Chris Keefe & Neil Oliver set out to create a clean, family friendly, community oriented, customer service driven, comic book/gaming store.
Now the store is in danger of closing as Chris Keefe is looking to close up shop. It has always been Kowabunga's philosophy that there's no point in having a shop if you can't give back to the community. Kowabunga has worked with the Oconomowoc Library, the Oconomowoc Food Pantry and offered Art Classes not only through the store, but also in many of the local schools. In 2013, Kowabunga helped save the Towne Cinema in the neighboring city of Watertown and assisted Moonlit Movies of Oconomowoc in organizing their huge downtown outdoor movie event, Ocomicon! This is an effort we think is worth carrying forward."
Photo main
As I am currently living in Wisconsin, and I like comic book stores, I thought this would be nice to mention. They have a long way to go to hit their goal, so open your wallets and give a bit to these folks, especially if you're in WI and enjoy buying things from real live people.
Next on Indiegogo, there's this somewhat similar project:

Help Phantom Zone Comics Expand!!!

Phantom Zone Comics

These guys in currently in a 145 square foot shop. Wait, what?! Yeah, they need more room. There's 42 days left but don't just sit there. Continue to sit there and click on the link!

Retailing is a tough biz, so do what you can to support small operations like those above, or heck, you could do the same with your local shop too. Don't know where to find one? Click on this:

Site Logo CSLS

That is all for today.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The CBR Burgas post

This:

"I know I’m beating an old dead horse with this, but it’s worth saying every so often, especially when other people get up in arms about DC and Marvel not publishing comics for children. Almost all of DC and Marvel’s publishing output is perfectly fine for kids.... Kids are far tougher than we think they are, and not much DC and Marvel publishes in their regular, mainstream superhero line will affect them too much. Their problems aren’t about what’s in the comics, it’s about the fact that they can’t the comics into the hands of kids."


Go read it, now

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Comic Industry plus Craigslist update

Comic collection sale update: Highest (real) offer so far: $900 - I'm holding out until the end of the week.

This is a good read from Multiversity:

The Comic Industry Talks the Biggest Changes in the Last Five Years, Where the Industry is Headed

It seems we have a consensus: digital is a thing, and it is a friend to print.



There is a very interesting inter-connectivity between the digital format, Kickstarter, the new wave of creator-owned projects (via publishers like Image) and the new rise of self-publishing/print-on-demand opportunities.

All of this is very exciting to me, a comic book reader since 1970. However, the primary challenge remains: how do writers, artists, and publishers get these creative works into the hands of readers, especially the good ol' fashioned paper and staples comic book? In order to avoid boring the hell out of you, I won't go into the distribution situation in the comic book industry right now (there has been plenty of analysis on the bigger, better blogs and sites over the past few years). Basically, if you are not in the front of Diamond's Previews catalog, you'll probably not get your comic ordered by retailers. (Is there room for a new distributor for comics? That's been tried a few times in the past 20 years - failure was the ultimate result.)

So what? You should be able to sell direct to the reader now, right? Go all Shopify and fulfill orders as they come in. How do readers find you? Facebook? Google? Amazon? Pinterest?

Why not?

That's the challenge now.

Plus this: most of the 300+ million people in this country think comics are Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Avengers, tights'n'fights, and that's if they know comics still exist (!). If you're not that, then you've lost most of the built-in audience already.

Plus this: most (good) comic stores and conventions are in metropolitan centers. And some stores and shows are not doing anyone a favor by existing primarily as a fanboy's misogyny club.

Plus this: most comic book readers don't read online comic sites and blogs. See built-in audience.

Plus this: the stigma lives, despite "geek/nerd" becoming "hip/cool". The fact that there is (was?) a Read Comics In Public Day speaks to this notion.

The comic book industry, such as it is, has not been able to bring over new readers commensurate to the level of interest you'd think would exist (due to movies, Big Bang Theory, etc).

So how can publishers, once funded, find new readers for their non-digital output, without preaching to the already over-whelmed and jaded choir?

More to come...


[Full disclosure - I worked for Diamond founder Steve Geppi in the 80's; great guy]

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Tiny Report

A quick note to introduce you to a site I found recently. The Tiny Report is "a comics micro-press resource". I've been straying more and more from the Big Two over the past couple of years, and I find this oft-neglected-by-the-masses sector of the medium to be rather fascinating.



Could this be the craft beer of comics? Yes, I know, small press comics have been around since the late 60's (earlier?). These creators aren't generally found in comic shops, and typically sell the ol' fashioned paper and staples type of comics by whatever means possible (on-line, conventions, etc).

Physical, tangible, handheld art objects made by non-corporate entities? Could be a trend...we'll see...

Also, remember the name Comicro...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Craigslist post

Holy.
Shit.

It's been almost a month since I last posted to Zombie Cat Bacon?! What's the problem, man? Am I OK? Did I fall down and hit my head? Where the hell have I been? Well, I'll tell you.

I've been right here, staring at this screen. For nearly a month, I've felt paralyzed by something I can't quite define. Instead of working on my myriad projects (one of which you will all find very interesting when I am ready to launch) (I hope), I've been watching TV - Mad Men, Game of Thrones, NHL playoffs, Formula One races, too many others to mention. A strange absence of motivation came over me once the Wisconsin snow started to melt, and I haven't accomplished shit.

Gonna start that new project right after this...

But today is a new day, so here we are.

A recap: Amazon isn't going to work. We all know about Ebay. Local comic conventions? Nope. How about I try the cyber-version of stapling an ad to a telephone pole, Craigslist? Let's try it, shall we?

Here's the listing (also can be found on the Appleton, Madison and Green Bay Craigslist pages plus Chicago):


Catchy title, eh? While I did try it a couple months ago (dramatically different text and a price tag attached) and had zero response, I edited the posting a couple of weeks ago, and have had 18 responses so far, evenly distributed from all five city pages.

I've had some hilarious lowball offers ($1-$300), some decent offers ($400-$600), and one big time tease offer of $1500. After not responding to my enthusiastic emails for over a week, Mister $1500 finally wrote back and stated he had bought a large toy collection, and was short of cash.

It's OK, dude, I can wait.

I was informed (over and over) by helpful Craigslist folk that my collection was worthless and unless I had a massive bulk collection of Silver Age gems, I was wasting everyone's time (I wasn't going door-to-door; it's a Craigslist post, fer cryin' out loud). Yes, I know, the first step to really lowballing someone is to make them feel like their carefully curated and preserved collection of whatevers is really a giant pile of landfill.


I've been thinking about specific comics in my basement. I'd say I really enjoyed about 80% of them. Here are a few of the titles (most of these are complete runs and from the 80's):
Airboy
Animal Man
Books of Magic
Grendel
Grimjack
Dreadstar
Nexus
The Authority
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Liberty Meadows
Madman
Hitman
Rocketeer
Omaha the Cat Dancer
Zot

Most of the above could be considered very good to excellent reads, maybe not classics of the form but still, good stuff. So what's collectible anyway? And why? I don't think scarcity has as much to do with it as we think - it could be more of a "branding" issue. I really don't know. But that is something I'm going to try to figure out.

After I stare at this cover for a while...


Links:
Star Wars cast announced!

Godzilla vs. Rodan (I think) - new Asian trailer

What do you make? In defense of teachers





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Green Bay "comic convention"

So I went to a "comic convention" in Green Bay last weekend. That's what it was called. Actually what it was was a very depressing look at the state of local comic collectors and collecting.

Situated in a typical hotel conference room, there were about eight or nine dealers, each trying to unload about 20-40 long boxes of stuff. Each dealer also had a backrack of "collectible" comics (Silver age, Byrne X-Men, variant covers, etc). Each dealer was basically the same as the others, with old stained boxes, tons (literally?) of unwanted crap they haul from show to show, every weekend.

I can only assume this is standard transport procedure

I spoke to each dealer over the course of an hour, peeked in few boxes, and left. In tears. Well, not outwardly, but I was very sad on the inside, I can tell you. For the entire time I was there, there were about 20 non-dealer people (all guys, natch) clawing through boxes, looking for that missing copy of X-Factor (been there, man). The was an old guy they called the Professor, tall but hunched over by age (probably from hauling long boxes), in a long black coat, pulling out the most random collection of stuff: Richie Rich, Spawn, old tattered Gold Keys, JLA from the early 2000's - all from the same two or three boxes.

Comics!


There was another guy here with Wolverine hair, and I don't think he was cosplaying. I saw a denim jacket completely covered in comic book logos - dude was in his mid-30's. And the usual collection of stinky man-children. Of course, not one kid or anyone under the age of thirty. Or a female, except for the very bored wives of the dealers.

I am not overtly criticizing anyone's hygiene or fashion sense, but it was the same circle jerk I've seen for the past 30 years. The same insular, myopic clowns you see everywhere in comic shops and at (real) conventions. I like comic book people. I'm one of them. But I'm tired of the stereotype reasserting itself every chance it gets. Maybe I'm just grumpy.

More importantly (and more in line with the jist of this post), most of the cash exchanged was between the dealers. They were buying each others overstock in order to get ready for the next show.

So why the metaphysical tears? There is no market for comics like this (at least not in Green Bay on a Saturday in March). And the comics I own and love are unloved by 99.9% of the North American population. As I spoke to each dealer about my well curated, properly stored, super fancy comic book collection, I received grunts and near-ridicule about my aspirations to sell my stuff. "It's not really worth anything" was the standard reply. But that's what they are selling. So they're effectively telling me their stuff isn't worth anything either. Yet here we are. At a comic book convention in Green Bay in March.

Hello, Craigslist!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The back issue problem

Earlier today, Brian Hibbs, owner of two stores out west, posted an interesting overview of the challenge he is facing with his newly acquired back issues on Comic Book Resources. 300 long boxes/75,000 comics. I'd bet there are basements and storage lockers throughout North America that are full of collections like that. Maybe not that size, probably more like mine (4500-5000 comics).

When owners of collections like these retire/die or just decide to liquidate, the market will be flooded (moreso) with literally tons of unwanted unreadable and worthless comics. There appears to be no interest in the younger generations to "collect", and I'm not just talking about comics. Have you met many kids with baseball cards lately? What about stamps or coins? My son is nine and he has hundreds of Hot Wheels (including some of mine - love those Redlines), but is he a collector? No, he just acquired them, thanks to Santa, birthdays and trips to Target with Mom.

My basement


So if the younger folk don't wanna hoard, whatever will we do? I can't imagine we're going to return to the days of hockey cards in bike spokes and spinner racks in the five'n'dime. There are millions of comics floating around the existing (and shrinking) back issue dealer market that aren't ever going to find their way into the hands of new and younger readers.

No I can't imagine THAT either


I sold my Marvels a couple of years ago and bought a new car with the proceeds (just a Kia Soul, take it easy). There were a LOT of them in complete runs and most of them were pre-1990 ('72-'87 primarily). What I have left is the other stuff - Image, Dark Horse, DC, Eclipse, etc - and I don't see it finding a home anytime soon. I could probably dump them off on a wholesaler for a dime a piece.

I could, but I don't want to. They're worth more to me than that, and I'm not talking about their value on the back issue market (such as it is).

What are you doing with yours?

Not the solution I'm looking for

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Amazon effect part 2

Ok, so maybe Amazon isn't the way to go. Things have changed since the New Year and it is much more difficult to sell or list comics entertainment collectibles or collectible books. Check this link out:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.blah blah blah

Or don't...anyway, what they eventually say is that you must be an approved seller and you can only list one at a time (no runs or sets). Plus most of the info on Amazon Services seller central is not comic book specific, but geared more toward collectible books.



Here's the list of questions I posted a couple of weeks ago:
  • Do I set pricing? In other words, do I have to send a spreadsheet with prices for over 5000 individual issues?
    • Yes, I do, and yes I do
  • Can I sell runs or sets?
    • Nope
  • If they set pricing, do they factor the condition into the price? (no I don't have any CGC thingies and won't ever. Ugh.)
    • They would prefer I use CGC - they even offer direct access with a discount
  • Is there a comic book issue template for uniformity of listing? (there doesn't appear to be when you search on the site)
    • Nope
  • How long will they hold stuff in inventory? (Will they keep Animal Man #42 in perpetuity?)
    • They'll hold it as long as you want as long you pay their warehousing fees
  • And of course, the cost of doing business with Amazon (which frankly is not a major concern, as long as I get mine)
    • Big huge percentage for Amazon
Now, I am not knocking Amazon. They can run their business anyway they see fit. They just haven't really taken advantage of the fact that Ebay is vulnerable and people are looking for an option.

So now what? Craigslist? I don't know. Has anyone had any luck getting anything other than laughably low offers for your stuff? Yeah, yeah, free market, etc. I know how it all works. I just don't to be bothered dealing with guys who want to give me $10 a long box. There's a full run of Nexus in there dammit!

Maybe I'll get a table at the upcoming comic show...that should be interesting.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Amazon effect

Just a quick one today, and I'm not even trying here. This is a post from a very interesting entrepreneur and blogger, Steve Chau. I had been writing about my idea of using Amazon to sell my comics, instead of taking the usual Ebay route. Steve has some thoughts on Fulfillment by Amazon that I think are worth reading for anyone interested in online selling, or e-commerce in general:

How Amazon Is Changing Ecommerce And What Your Online Store Must Do To Succeed

Commenter Aaron wrote a response to my question from my post last week (now since deleted for some reason), and while I have not listed anything on Amazon yet, I have been thinking about the best possible strategy. Aaron mentioned that the warehousing costs and the Amazon cut of my action will be too steep to make the whole idea worthwhile. Not sure about that yet, but I do think cherry picking a few choice issues will help me further test the system.

like this!

Feel free to comment on the above article and on your selling experiences in the online world. Thanks for reading and we'll talk soon.