Top Shelf Productions


desperately needing a laptop...

February 16, 2006

... so i can post while i'm away from home. I've certainly lost any momentum i had going on this blog gig. Sorry for the delay, friends.

Back from WonderCon a couple nights ago, only to arrive home to find wee little Carter sicker than a dog, throwing up and, well... that other thing one might encounter when battling a stomach virus.... Yeesh. Poor little guy. Few things are more sad than helplessly watching a 14-month old in this much pain.

So yeah, WonderCon.

The show was certainly well attended. So much so that on Saturday, the Fire Marshall was keeping people from entering at one point. (Rumor was too, that same Fire Marshall was monitoring CO2 levels? What the...? I know comics fans can be geeky as hell, but this wasn't a porn convention!)

That said, for Top Shelf, sales were just o.k. sale. For a company that really relies on convention sales to pay some bills, Friday was a near-disaster. This seemed to be similar for other exhibitors as well. (Of course, the back-issue bin dealers seemed immune to this.)

Saturday was a good day, but it was also a grueling nine hours long. Ouch.

Sunday was looking grim, until i scored some wholesale sales with Last Gasp, Lee's, and Isotope. Love ya!

Theories abound as to why San Francisco comics shows don't seem to generate the kind of sales we see elsewhere. (Even APE -- which you might think would rock for Top Shelf -- is teeming with locals low on the cash flow.) And the truth is, they all have a point to be made. WonderCon in particular though, like San Diego, is as much a multi-media event as it is a consumer comics show. We had Bryan Singer and Brandon (Superman) Routh commanding long lines. (So i heard.) Kevin Smith was on hand, signing... hmmm, i'm not sure what he was signing, but that line sure was long. And on the comics front, the big guns really stole the show, including Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, and Jim Lee. The DC news-machine also seems big at WonderCon.

Another posited explanation for mediocre sales is that San Francisco is still reeling from the post dot.bomb bust a few years back. There's no doubt it hit the local economy square in the jaw, but would it still be this damaging? Any locals have any thoughts on this?

The best theory as i see it, is that the Bay area in general is serviced by no fewer than close to a dozen exceptional comics shops. (Heck, even the book stores kick ass in San Fran. I NEVER make a trip to SF without a visit to Green Apple Books in the Richmond District. Second only to Powell's here in Portland for the selection of new AND used graphic novels.) And so the line goes, that given the availability of not just Top Shelf books, but a wide array of comics overall, any fan of our books will most likely have already picked them up.

This makes sense. It also makes sense when you consider that (oddly) in San Diego, to my knowledge (sorry if i'm mistaken), there's not one single marquee, destination comics shop in the whole of San Diego.

I've got more WonderCon report stuff to cover.... but holy mama i'm so tired. 3:00 a.m... must go... to bed... more on the... flipside.