Hey guys! Since IDW announced that I’d be writing the new, monthly THE X-FILES: SEASON 10 comics series (working with artist, Michael Walsh and colorist, Jordie Bellaire) back in March, I’ve gotten the not-too-subtle impression that there are lots and lots of “X-Philes” out there who are absolutely, passionately, ravenously excited to follow the new adventures of Mulder and Scully… but might not really know the ins and outs of the comics marketplace, culture, etc. — So I wanted to help ease this transition, if I could, and put together a sort of “cheat sheet” for the otherwise comics shop-challenged… as well as see if I couldn’t help swell the crossover ranks a bit and bring a few more of you into our merry fold.
**Note: This post is intended to be comprehensive, but I’m just one man! This might get revised to the point of exhaustion (for all of us). I’ve never done this before, so please bear with me!
WHERE TO BUY COMICS
Typically, comics are sold in comic shops through what’s known as the “direct market” and I will always urge you to try and buy your comics this way first, not necessarily as a defense of the DM itself, but because comics retailers are vanguards of the culture, the history and the cool of comics buying, reading and collecting. They’re most usually very good, hardworking folks who look out for their customers and often do their best to make their shop a destination for not only comics, but gaming, toys, collectibles and other stuff you’ll probably enjoy.
For you poor souls who don’t live near a comics shop, you can order them online. Plenty of retailers presell comics on eBay (to say nothing of the ‘aftermarket’ once and if a particular book gets hot and demand goes up after publication — *cough* X-Files #1 *cough*). You can also use a large retailer like Things From Another World, Midtown Comics, or many, many other sites findable with even your most basic google skills.
Finally, there’s digital. You can buy and read comics through ComiXology, either via their website, directly, or though the various iOS and/or Android apps, or the suite of IDW apps and options powered by either ComiXology, Kindle and more options. If you buy the books once, you can generally download and read them on all your digital devices. They’ll save to your account and you’ll have them, either, forever… or until the satellites fall from the sky and Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is upon us.
WEDNESDAY IS “NEW COMICS DAY”
This has been true for a real long time now. Which is why (in case you hadn’t noticed) June 19th, the date THE X-FILES: SEASON 10 #1 will be released, is a Wednesday… why July 24th, the date THE X-FILES: SEASON 10 #2 comes out, is also a Wednesday, and so on…
This is an important aspect of comics buying. For many independent books (like my own Image Comics series, GREAT PACIFIC, for example), it’s a lifeline. It allows retailers to better gauge how many copies of a particular title they’ll need to order from the distributor to serve their customers while not getting stuck with stock they might not be able to sell, and really can’t spare the shelf space for, otherwise. But it also works with more mainstream books such as THE X-FILES: SEASON 10… as well as other superhero titles from Marvel, DC Comics and other publishers. This practice also helps to keep customers safe from getting shut out when a particular book over-performs and exceeds retailer expectations, selling out and, thus, shutting out those who didn’t plan ahead.
New comics are solicited for sale three months in advance by way of Diamond Comics Distributors, who serve the direct market. Everything that will be on sale for any particular month will be listed in the giant Previews Catalog which, again, is published monthly both in print and online. Most shops offer “pull list” service for their customers. This involves keeping a running list of the comics you like on file with them (you can add and drop books later too). In turn, they “pull” your comics for you once they arrive at the store and have a nice and tidy stack waiting for you at the counter when you come in. Some retailers even offer discounts for customers who use their pull service.
Most comics pros attend cons. Many of us attend many of them where we autograph books at signings set up at the publishers’ booths, attend and speak on panels where new projects and events get announced, as well as set up our own tables as either guests of the show, or in what’s affectionately known as “Artists’ Alley.” Often times we sell books ourselves, along with prints and other items you might want to buy seeing how you trekked out to the convention, and made it this far already. Often times artists will take commissions and fans can get an exclusive sketch done for them at whatever fee that artist sets. These shows run from the gigantic, such as the famous (infamous?) Comic Con International out in San Diego in July and New York Comic Con here in NYC in October, to the smaller but just as awesome regional shows like Heroes Con, Emerald City Con and many, many others (again, found with even the most basic of googling skills — I believe in you!).
You can check out a running list of my upcoming convention, and comics shop appearances here. There are more shows and appearances to add, and we’ll do so soon.
Comics are a vast and varied place and people of all shapes, sizes, genders and tastes read them. No matter when the paranormal, extra-terrestrial and/or supernatural aspects of a show like THE X-FILES might have hooked you in, I’m confident there’s plenty else out there — from sci-fi, to super-heroes, to horror, to small press and alternative books and everything in-between and overlapping the genres I both included and egregiously forgot — for you to check out and enjoy.
So… that’s what I got, for now. Like I said, I’ll edit this as warranted.
As always, you can find me on my website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, as well as at the local happy hour where I often set up shop and get the writing done (though that one’s less accessible online — trust me, I’ve tried).