“Gives a fascinating glimpse at the challenges and pressures that store owners have to face in this hybrid retail business.… [Gearino] makes the case that the modern pop culture era we’re living in wouldn’t exist without the rise of comic book stores.”
Evan Narcisse, io9
“Dan Gearino offers a more compelling and complex place for the comic shop in popular culture by demonstrating how entrepreneurs and distribution channels have reshaped that commercial space over the last 50 years.…Gender issues feature heavily in the text, and this offers scholars…a point of consideration lacking from many other outlets.…Above all, this work personalizes the comic shop as a collection of people who, through emotion and personal desire, embrace an evolving and unstable place in the commercial world of pop culture.”
“There are precious few prose books that have elucidated the quirkiness of the comics industry more than Comic Shop.…In clear and compelling language, Gearino lays out how comics specialty shops were born in the 1970s and ’80s, how they flew too close to the sun in the ’90s, and how they’ve managed to endure decades into the Information Age.”
Abraham Riesman, Vulture
“This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand comics in the U.S. Dan Gearino has put together a riveting account of the history of the comics market, and even reveals the forgotten key women who were essential to its creation. Comic Shop is a fascinating page turner.”
Heidi MacDonald, editor, The Beat
The early 1970s saw the birth of the modern comic book shop. Its rise was due in large part to a dynamic entrepreneur, Phil Seuling. His direct market model allowed shops to get comics straight from the publishers, bypassing middlemen. Stores could better customize their offerings and independent publishers could now access national distribution. In this way, shops opened up a space for quirky ideas to gain an audience and helped transform small-press series, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Bone, into media giants.
Comic Shop is the first book to trace the history of these cultural icons. Dan Gearino brings us from their origins to the present day, when the rise of digital platforms has the industry at a crossroads even as sales are robust. He spends a year with stores around the country, with a spotlight on The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Along the way he interviews those who shaped comics retailing from the early days, including many pioneering women; top creators; and shop owners who continue to push the industry in new directions. A guide to forty of the most interesting shops around the United States and Canada is a bonus for fans.
Dan Gearino is a lifelong comics reader with tastes that swing from the classic Legion of Super-Heroes to the work of Michel Rabagliati. Formerly a business reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, he has won national recognition for his work and now covers clean energy for InsideClimate News. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, near his home store, The Laughing Ogre, with his wife and two daughters. More info →
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