The advent of the modern comic book shop can be traced to the early 1970s; the rise in the number of shops across the country was primarily due to one man, Phil Seuling, an entrepreneur credited with developing the sales where shops purchased comics from the publishers themselves. This practice came to be known as the direct market model.
By purchasing directly from the published stores, they could customize their merchandise selection and allow indie publishers access to a larger distribution audience. These local comic shops became a space for out-of-the-box ideas to gain a following and even transformed small-press series, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Bone, into the famous juggernauts they are today.
In his 2017 book, Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture, journalist and comic book enthusiast Dan Gearino traces the beginnings of the direct market thru the present day, showing how the business of selling comic books, industry at a crossroads, has changed in the retail landscape and the why fans
In the interview below, Chad and Dan talk about his experience researching and writing the book and his thoughts on the industry when he wrote the book in 2017, and how and if things have changed since the events of the last few years.
Dan’s book can be purchased where ever books are sold and is worth checking out for any comic book fan.