The modern comic book shop was born in the early 1970s. Its rise was due in large part to Phil Seuling, the entrepreneur whose direct market model allowed shops to get comics straight from the publishers. Stores could then better customize their offerings and independent publishers could access national distribution. 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 and a changing retail landscape have the industry at a crossroads. When the book was first published in 2017, Gearino had spent a year with stores around the country, following how they navigated the business. For this updated and expanded paperback edition, he covers the wild retail landscape of 2017 and 2018, a time that was brutal for stores and rich for comics as an art form.
Along the way he interviews pioneers of comics retailing and other important players, including many women; top creators; and those who continue to push the business in new directions. A revised guide to dozens of the most interesting shops around the United States and Canada is a bonus for fans.