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October 07, 2007



I've never been to a convention, but these are good tips for honest-to-God STORES!

Mark Engblom

Good point, Siskoid. I hadn't considered that, but having been in more than a few lousy comic book stores, all the tips seem to apply equally to them.

katie cook

wait a minute... did you come say hi to me?
i was totally there!

Mark Weinstein

I agree with all your tips and I'd like to add my own 2cents to tip #4: if a comic has been around since the 80's in the same plastic bag which is now sticky and yellowed with age, put it in a new bag!

Mark Engblom


Sorry, I wasn't able to find you...along with a handful of other folks I wanted to say "hi" to (sorry Tom and Doug!). Truthfully, I was so irritated with the comics shopping experience, and it was so blinkin' hot, I left in a hurry.

Mark Engblom

Mark- Absolutely! Quite a number of these guys had some pretty old comic bags on their stock. Sure, it's a drag to change them...but it's even more of a drag having to look through them.

I don't think I'm asking for a "gold platter" experience...just some common courtesy when it comes to marketing something they want me to buy. Am I asking too much, or is this something more than a few comic collectors are tired of?

Lisa from Neptune

LOVE the butt crack picture!! And jamming so many comics into a box that one can't really flip through it at all to see what's in there - that happens a lot and it is always equally irritating.

Mark Engblom

Thanks, Lisa. Glad you liked it.

Yeah, it's definitely irritating to pick through those tight-packed boxes. Making the comics all but impossible to look at clearly is almost like a car dealer covering up his cars with a tarp. It sure doesn't make sense to me.

James Meeley

Love the piece, Mark. Especially with point #5. I mean, what is with those guys? Did no one ever tell the story of why you don't see any comic shop owners in the Fortune 500? Did they miss the memo that says almost all comic retailers are in this for something other than getting rich (and that if that's your reason, you need to get out NOW)?

I understand you might have some high grade stock, but unless you are going to one of the huge national Cons, bringing that stock to a smaller show will only get you glassy-eyed looks by evnious readers, before the utter shock of the "sticker price" hits them. High dollar stuff belongs on eBay and other online venues of that nature, or kept in a nice spot in the shop. It doesn't belong at a show, where you know people are looking for BARGINS! Sheesh!

Mark Engblom

YEAH!....er, uh...yeah! Glad you liked the piece, James!

Regarding the high price guys, like I alluded to in the piece, there must be someone who buys enough of the overpriced comics to justify them showing up....but it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for something he could just as easily do online.

However, something I have noticed about the smaller local Con is that very few dealers still do the "huge wall of Golden Age Comics" display...since most of them are far, far beyond the scope of the typical convention attendee. They must be exchanged primarily at the dealer and investor level at this point.

The good news is is that there are still plenty of dealers who show up with competitive and reasonable prices. If dealers want to adhere to the Overpriced, uh, I mean Overstreet Price Guide, I'm not interested. It's this sort of "Wild West Free Market" that I find the most refreshing about convention sales.

The butt cracks? Not so much.

D Wright

LOLs, I've only been to a few conventions, the 25th San Diego Con back in 1994, which was fun, and few of the old Dallas Cons, which sadly went defunct. I'd add one more rule, which I find bewildering & annoying.

I'd notice that while I'm looking at a long table filled with long boxes someone would come up either behind me or beside me, and then have the brass to start actually going thru the same long box I'm looking at... sometimes even shuffling thru the area my hands are shuffling thru... Does the words patience or etiquette not fit in with going to a convention? I guess it's some sort of fanboy mania...

Oh and as far as price gouging, I guess the buyer beware, but after all it's called a Con... ;)

Oh and the deodorant comment: priceless ;)

Mark Engblom

"...and then have the brass to start actually going thru the same long box I'm looking at."

It's astonishing, isn't it? Now, part of this might be due to some folks being mentally or developmentally disabled (a small but noticeable percentage of con attendees), but I think most of it is due to so many of our fellow fanboys (and girls) just being a little behind the curve when it comes to socializing in public. At the risk of evoking the standard fanboy stereotypes, I have to say there is definitely some truth to those stereotypes, at least in respect to their ham-fisted social interaction skills.

"Oh and as far as price gouging, I guess the buyer beware, but after all it's called a Con... ;)"

Heh. That's right. I sometimes feel like just looking at the dealers, smiling, and saying "Oh, come on. Really? REALLY?" Some of the price inflation is truly shameful.

D Chambers

I just discovered this blog today, so this comment is coming a long time after the post, but what the hey...

I'm going to a con next Friday and fully expect to encounter everything you've mentioned here. You have really hit the nail on the head with this list. But I think of everything on the list, #2 & #3 are the WORST. There are always a few dealers who just throw everything they have in boxes, with no regard to order whatsoever. I only go to this particular con for one day, so I have a very finite amount of time in which to check out all the dealers to find the stuff I'm looking for. Looking through boxes at these "out-of-order" dealers' booths takes up way too much time and it is almost never worth it. I often think about asking these dealers what they will pay me to put their books in order for them. I'm sure the answer is "nothing" because if they cared, they would have done it themselves already.

#3...ugh. I've been EXACTLY where the smaller guy in your artwork has been I don't know how many times. But many times it's been sort of a combo of #3 and #6. There are often large guys digging through boxes on the floor that just SIT DOWN in the aisle and start thumbing through boxes, totally blocking the way out of the dealer's area. And they have absolutely no intention of moving until they are through. I have had to literally step over people who were sitting in the floor blocking the exit aisle. I suppose they thought it was rude when my leg suddenly swung in front of them, but I thought it was pretty rude of them to sit there and not move when I said "excuse me" too.

Ahhh, this is what I have to look forward to Friday. But I can deal with it to fill in some holes in my collection, and it is fun nevertheless.

Mark Engblom

You're right...despite all the irritating stuff, the hobby itself is still lots of fun. Hunting down comics to fill holes in my collection is a blast, regardless of all the smelly, badly-organized, or unprofessional distractions at comic conventions.

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