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Well… *that* was interesting.

I’ve been a professional journalist (first for newspapers, now freelance on top of my regular job) for twenty-four years, and if there is one thing that has remained consistent during that time it’s this: you never really know just how people will react to the things you write. You can certainly hope or intend a desired outcome, but you can never predict it or force it.

My previous column was certainly a glaring example of this unpredictability.

By suggesting that “new comic day” be split up into multiple days in the hopes it might drive more money and foot traffic into comic shops, I was looking at one way that I thought we might aid the retailers (which, thanks to the economy, we continue to have fewer of) in upping profitability and stability.

I expected that some of the traditional Wednesday buyers would react poorly to the idea. And they did, both in the comments section and in my email inbox. But hooooooooo boy, was I surprised at how much some retailers would express distaste for the idea (again, both in comments and directly in my email). Some had intriguing and reasoned arguments. A couple whipped out the knives and just started cutting. It was fascinating, really, though I eventually got tired of being a punching bag and resorted to snark, which alienated more people.

Some weeks are just like that.

But ultimately, as I read people’s comments and mails, and went back and read what I wrote, I realized that I still stand by the idea. Marvel is trying a Monday release for an upcoming book (Captain America #600) and it wouldn’t shock me at all if this was merely a trial run for more future “off-day” releases for some of their bigger projects. And if comics as a whole did switch over to more than one day in the week where new comics arrive on a permanent basis, do you know what will happen?

Absolutely nothing.

The best-of-the-best retailers would make it work like a charm. Because that’s what happens in any industry: the cream of the crop figures out how to adapt to any changes in business paradigms and surges forward to meet new challenges. Comics retailing would be no different. Even stores that didn’t like that new paradigm (or agree with a word I’ve said in this piece or the previous one) would find a way to make it work. Think back to the Marvel/Heroes World debacle; did it hurt a number of stores? Put some out of business? You bet. But the ones that had owners dedicated to making things work and putting together a quality retail outlet came out the other side just fine.

As for me? Last Tuesday I received my monthly shipment from DCBS, making that my new comic day. Nothing really compares to choosing your own.

Marc Mason  

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