Monday, December 30, 2019

How Chuck Rozanski opened up comic distribution

Chuck Rozanski, courtesy Mile High Comics
Once upon a time, a guy named Phil Seuling had a stranglehold on comic book distibution. Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics and a few others set out to change that. Read the story of how and why Chuck did it over at Newsarama.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

After the NFL, 31 years in retail

Brian and Rosemary Peets, photo courtesy Brian Peets

Brian Peets had what he called a "wasn't very good" NFL career (c'mon, it was four years!), and 31 ago, launched his passion—a comic book store, which has blossomed into a chain of three stores. Find out what he's learned along the way HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The comic back issue market, December 2019, tech and speculators

Comic back issues are UP in 2019, driven by keys, collectors, key collectors and speculators. Confused? Read THIS, and you won't be any longer!

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Funko comes to Hollywod

Photo: Getty Images for Funko
How do you top a 17,000 square foot Funko-only store? With a 40,000 square foot store.

And that's just what Funko has done, with its new Hollywood Boulevard superstore. For the full scoop and so, so many pics, check out

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Paul Levitz and things that amuse him

Paul Levitz, courtesy Paul Levitz
Paul Levitz spent 35+ years at DC Comics, a good chunk of that running the joint as the company's president and publisher. Now YOU can find out what he's learned (and what amuses him) here at icv2.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, October 18, 2019

Bad speller, good businessman

Photos courtesy Bret Parks, Ssalefish Comics
Bret Parks of Ssalefish Comics (for the millionth time, yes, that's spelled right) gave up the sure thing job as a college professor and rolled the dice on a comic store. Now he has three stores, and his learned a lot along the way. You can too, HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Origins of the Origins of Marvel Comics

Starting in 1974, Stan Lee started chronicling the history of the Marvel Universe in a series of bestselling paperbacks beginning with Origins of Marvel Comics. For a look at why the work is STILL foundational (with nice remembrances from Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada), bop on over to Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, October 11, 2019

Gift cards, the comic shop MUST

Comic stores are gift destinations, and as retail moves into the Christmas season, gift cards are a MUST. You can do paper, swipe cards, and even fully electronic. Check out all the upsides over at icv2.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Runaways Season 3 is dark, with guest stars

Marvel's Runaways is queued up for its third season, where the Dark Dimension and Morgan le Fay will play a major role, and Cloak & Dagger make a guest appearance. Read all about it over at

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Pandora is scf-fi on the other side

Creator Mark A. Altman is a TV veteran of Castle, The Librarians, and more. He's also reverent when it comes to science fiction, and his new CW series, Pandora, is rife with conflict, but ultimately hopeful. Read all about it over on Space.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Christian Gossett: Writer, artist, director and allla that

Christian Gossett, courtesy Christian Gossett

Back in 2000, young buck Christian Gossett popped in to the comic book scene with a hot new title, The Red Star. Since then, he's built a wild and varied career. Catch up on it all at Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Joe Quesada, Storyteller on Stories for Disney+

Quesada with mountain climber Ed Viesturs (Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Joe Quesada has worn a variety of hats as Marvel's chief creative officer: Publishing expert, TV executive producer, and even theme park ride designer. Now he's the host of a new upcoming Disney+ show in which "the connective tissue is story." Read all about it at

Jim McLauchlin

Quesada with Teen Vogue Editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay (Eric Liebowitz  (Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Monday, July 1, 2019

More on the mystery of Spider-Man's first appearance

Spider-Man art from Amazing Fantasy #15
The first-ever Spider-Man art from the landmark Amazing Fantasy #15 had been missing since at least 1975, possibly earlier. Then in 2008, it was anonymously donated to the Library of Congress. How'd it get there? We don't have all the answers, but we have some HERE at Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

50 Years in, Looking Forward to the Next 50

Chuck Rozanski, courtesy Mile High Comics
Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics has (almost!) 50 years of retail experience, and he's looking forward to the next 50. He also has 10 million back-issue comic books, and a LOT of opinions. Gain the benefit of his wisdom by reading HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, May 23, 2019

On retiring from coaching youth sports…

"Good day, men. Good day to work."
I've coached youth sports, but am officially…retired. I coached 4-5 YMCA basketball teams, three Little League teams, and two flag football teams. Ages from about 5 to 11.

I’m done, I’m out. I feel like I’ve had enough for reasons you’ll see. But ultimately, I’m happy. It takes a lot out of you, but it puts a lot into you as well.

I can tell you this right from the jump, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise: 100% of the kids are great and 90% of the adults are great.

Yes, Fortnite dances have wrecked havoc with attention spans over the last year or two.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also Lost and Found.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also Julie the cruise director from the Love Boat.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also expected to be Master of Schedules (and the one to blame when parents don’t like the schedule).

If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are a bathroom monitor. No matter HOW many times you beg those kids to go pee before the game, you’ll have a shortstop who has to run off the field and pee in the 6th inning.

Getting back to those 90% of adults, two quotes will stay with me forever. One parent in Little League told me “I’ve made a lot of friends here…and a few enemies.”

I found that experience to be true. And it pains me, and maybe it should pain you, that it happens. Yes, Virginia, every damn story you’ve heard is true. There are parents who speak out of both sides of their mouth, and take this WAY too seriously.

The second quote speaks directly to that: “It’s all about the kids.” I don’t know WHY, but in my experience, this was a-hole code. The guy who said “It’s all about the kids” was UNDOUBTEDLY going to be the biggest jerk in the league.

Explicitly and for the record: I’ve seen adults F-bomb each other over if their team is going to be the White Sox or the Diamondbacks or whatever.

Explicitly and for the record: I’ve seen coaches try to TRADE their team name (“Hey, you wanna be the D-Backs?”) for a PLAYER on another team. Yes, turning 9-year-old kids into commodities swapped for laundry.

Explicitly and for the record: I have been F-bombed and had objects thrown at me by other coaches on a field of play. You swallow hard, but I never took the bait.

I’ve been in the middle of drafts—YES, drafts for 8-year-old kids—with adults F-bombing each other over player ratings and if they were getting screwed or not because a coach’s kid was ranked too high.

I distinctly remember one F-bombing fit over (really) team names. I walked in on the middle of a conversation to hear a league administrator say to a coach…

“Here’s the hierarchy: We have the administration, then we have the volunteers, then we have everyone else. You’re everyone else.”

I said, “Hey, I’m a volunteer coach. What’s that make me?” He had no answer.

These things are all true. And this is a scratch of the surface. You wanna hear the REAL stories of Adults Acting Badly at 10-year-old sporting events? Ask the refs and umpires.

So look, there’s some bad. As can be said for many things in life.

And as I prepped this missive, I realized something. It’s not new. I have distant memories of playing T-ball, freaking T-ball, in 1975, and hearing the parents whisper about the league commissioner who always happened to coach the most stacked team in the league as well.

Freaking T-ball. 1975.

And here’s a crazy rub: Youth sports desperately need coaches, for a job that’s time-consuming, occasionally soul-sucking, largely thankless, and did I mention time-consuming?

I’ve been called by sports leagues coyly asking, “Hey is your kid playing this season? And if so, maybe you’d like to coach?”

I’ve also had leagues call and just flat-out ask me to please please please please coach, regardless if my kid is playing or not (!) because they need coaches badly.

Are they calling me because I’m some great coach? Some pillar of civic virtue? Hell no. I’m a warm body who’s done it before and never gone Roy Turner on a kid. Those are my qualifications.

But now, I’m out. I limped to the finish line. I just finished a season with a jacked-up hip and shoulder, doing 2-3 physical therapy appointments a week while coaching. I’m happy to bid this goodbye.

Yes, I said “happy,” and I mean that in every sense of the word.

The main driving force was my kid. He’s 10, and he just feels done with team sports for now.

Please make NO mistake: 10-year-olds are WAY smarter than we typically give them credit for. He sees everything I’ve mentioned so far.

And I told myself I was NEVER going to be the parent who forced their kid into activities they didn’t want to do.

I told my kid, too. I desperately want him to find what he’s passionate about and pursue it—music, theater, art, back into sports, whatever. But I’m not going to force anything on him.

Find a passion, kid. Fortnite seems to be winning right now.

And yeah, “happy” in every sense of the word. Because I’ll tell you this:

I felt a lot of sting in the moment, sometimes from a tough loss, sometimes from a chappy parent. But now, all I feel is the good. The bad has lost its sting.

I distinctly remember starting a Little League season 0-3 once, wondering if we were ever going to win a game. I felt so badly for the kids, like I was letting them down. Thank the gods and Abner Doubleday that we won our next game, ’cause I was almost ready to jump off a bridge.

And if I’m being 100% honest, I’ll tell you I’ve wrestled mightily with my own motivations. Was I REALLY feeling bad for the kids? Or was I doing this all for my own self-aggrandizement?

I’d like to think it was 100% the former, but I don’t know. Maybe I’m a symptom of a problem myself.

So look, I’ll say it again: I lived all the good and the bad in the moment, but all I remember is the good. The bad has lost its sting.

I have trinkets. Every now and then I’ll reach into the cupboard for a glass and pull out an engraved mug the parents got me at the end of a Little League season. Makes me smile every time, and sometimes damn near cry.

I have memories. I coached a 7-8 year old basketball team once, and we had a tiny, tiny little 7-year-old girl on the team who just flat out lacked the strength to even come close to making a shot, even on an 8-foot hoop.

And the end of our first practice, I put her up on my shoulders so she could score. Her mom came running over to me after, tears in her eyes, crying about how happy her daughter was that she finally made a basket.

So we ended every practice that way. Little girl gets to score, we all go out on a high note.

Cliché as it sounds, I think my favorite memories will always be helping those “bottom of the roster” kids move up and move along.

We had a baseball player who barely knew which end of the bat to hold on Day One, but when he hit a legit triple (which turned into a Little League home run when he ran through my stop sign at third) against a first-place team, well…you rarely see greater joy than a kid’s face turning third an heading into home like that.

Seriously, the best was watching the kid who was tripping over his own feet on the first day of practice develop a love of a game or a kid who couldn’t even grip a football suddenly “get it.”

Another parent, a really good guy, told me something else: “You’re approaching the end of your ability to help them.” Yeah, as my son moves from 5th grade to 6th, it’s largely the schools going forward.

And I’ll go forward with him, into whatever he wants. Just not as a coach anymore.

The feeling is bittersweet, but way more sweet than bitter.

I’ve had first place and last place teams, but again, the sting is gone and the good remains. I know there are more important things than a won/lost record. And I comforted myself with that thought last season. It was also a last-place season.

Am I a saint? Hell no. It will likely take me a few more years and the bottom of a bottle to truly figure out if I did this out of some kindness of the heart or for my own puffery. Maybe it’s some combination of the two.

But at 51creaking years old, and with some torn knee cartilage and thoracic outlet syndrome, I’m happy to sunset.

I CAN tell you with all certainty and no hesitation: I love every one of the kids I ever coached. Again, 100% of the kids are great. The moments I spent with them were magic.

I love you kids. Just please, go pee before the game starts.

Thank you for listening to my it’s-not-a-Ted-Talk on #YouthSports.

Jim McLauchlin 

Friday, May 17, 2019

From $300 to an eight-store chain

Phil Boyle of Coliseum of Comics

One of eight Coliseum stores

Phil Boyle is one of the stronger voices in the (no, really it's a) billion dollar comic retailing game. He started with 16 boxes of comics and a $300 rent payment, and grew that into an eight-store Coliseum of Comics chain. Find out what he's learned along the way HERE at icv2.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Elementary Comic Book Club, meet retailers

Teacher Matt Corrigan at a Lemay Elementary assembly

Kids at the Lemay Comic Book Club
Teacher Matt Corrigan turned his love of comics into a Comic Book Club at Lemay Elementary School. By working with comic stores, he's fired kids' passions, and helped build a library. Read more about the success at icv2!

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Moving from a kids section to a kids store

Patrick Brower of Challengers Comics

Sidekicks, the kids comics store
Challengers Comics in Chicago had a growing demand for all-ages comics, so they devoted 400 square feet and a full-blown STORE to them! Read all about "the single best financial decision" co-owner Patrick Brower made HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Kids comics and family focus

Jenn Haines

The Dragon, Guelph, Ontario
Jenn Haines started with one comic store 21 years ago, and with a renewed emphasis on catering to kids and focus on families, she's been able to expand to a three-store chain. Find out how she's done it at icv2.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

From a crabhouse to the Os to 35 years in business

Marc Nathan (left) with Steve Geppi of Diamond Comic Distributors 
Marc Nathan went from waiting tables to PR (and more) with the Baltimore Orioles to 35 years running a successful store and a booming convention. Find out what he's learned in 35 years of business HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

After 35 years, a comic store closes

Mitch Cutler owned and operated St. Mark's Comics in New York City for 35 years until he had his Danny Glover moment: "I'm getting too old for this…plop."

But you can find out what he learned over those 35 years at icv2. GO!

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, March 1, 2019

Who Signs What, and Why?

Stan Lee signing comics

The landscape for comic creators signing autographs is changing. To find out who signs what, and why, and for how much, please join us over at Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Greg Pak, Rhodes Scholar, Comic Writer

Greg Pak, courtesy Greg Pak
At the risk of overusing this line—is that even possible?—I now like to refer to Greg Pak as a "Rhodes Scholar gone wrong." But Greg has been pretty darned successful as a comic writer, indie filmmaker, and Kickstarter entrepreneur. See what he's learned HERE at ivc2.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, February 22, 2019

Watchmen #1 cover art is your best hedge against inflation

Watchmen #1 original art and color guide, photo: Heritage Auctions
You may recall that the original cover art from Watchmen #1 sold for $155,000 six years ago in 2013.

Well, it just sold again, this time for $228,000. You can read all about it over at Newsarama. Please do!

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Comics Direct Market Changing…now?

Direct-market distribution for comic books was a great idea when started 46 years ago. Today, it might need some nipping and tucking. For a LOT of the evolution of the market—to my mind, things might start breaking very soon—check out And for much more from Image Comics, well…here's more.

Jim McLauchlin

Amazing Art at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has the original art from Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man. How it got there remains a bit of a mystery. It was an anonymous donation in 2008. For more on its background, check out

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, January 18, 2019

You cannot do just one thing

These are some of the most dedicated educators you will ever find.
It is a great lesson of biology that you cannot do just one thing. Every ecosystem is filled with inter-dependent elements. Take away a food source here, and a species is impacted there. The food chain changes.

With a full week in the books of the UTLA/LAUSD strike, I'm puzzled to report that there have been two uniformed police officers at my kid's elementary school both morning and afternoon. By every measure I've been able to find except one, the strike has been peaceful and downright civil at every turn. Even the small incident mentioned in the previous sentence is just that—small.

But in an "abundance of caution," as we say in this day and age, public safety seems to be guarding against a Haymarket Square riot. Think about this: With two uniformed officers dispatched to—likley—every school in the city two times a day, resources are pulled away from where they're actually needed. To guard against…ladies in red slickers like those pictured above? One badge I saw actually said "detective" on it. Crimes are going un-investigated and resources are being pulled over a strike that should have never happened if the District had just agreed to simple, beneficial demands the teachers made. You cannot do just one thing.

Make the call: 213-443-1300, and urge the Los Angeles Unified School District to accede to the Union's wishes. With every day of the strike, the LASUD loses $10-$15 million owing to grant-in-aid money that is not coming in based on per-student, per-day attendance. That's money that's also vital to the District's ongoing operations.

Again, you cannot do just one thing.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Rally in the Rain

It's tough to get people in Los Angeles to come out in the rain. They're like, I dunno. Cats or something.

Yet despite a third day of picketing in the rain, United Teachers Los Angeles and their supporters showed up in droves for a series of rallies throughout the city. One took place on Balboa Blvd. between Victory and Vanowen, just a 10 minute stroll from our front door. So I took the 10-year-old, and we joined a crowd estimated at 3000 people (and multiplied by about eight other similar rallies throughout the city).

I took the time to remind the kid about our First Amendment rights of speech and assembly, and introduced him to the concept of time/place/manner restrictions on speech. Gotta keep it educational.

Sure, it was raining, but spirits were high, and teachers and boosters were in full throat. Again, the teachers are looking for a simple cost-of-living wage over the next two years, some additional support staff, and smaller class sizes. ALL these things make for better schools and are positives for our kids. The District can and should, without delay, accede to the teachers' wishes.

You can and should, should you so desire, call the LAUSD at 213-443-1300 and add your voice to the many they are already hearing.

Tomorrow, the 10-year-old will be bringing food to the teachers on the line again, tho' I'm switching it up to fruit after three days of donuts. The district is bleeding, losing an estimated $10-$15 million dollars a DAY in grant-in-aid funding for every day the strike continues. One day was long enough, three days is getting preposterous. Please call and urge the District to end this strike immediately by giving the teachers what they need.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

LAUSD strike, Day 2

As promised, we're bringing the teachers donuts every day. An army runs on its stomach.

I'm teaching the 10-yr-old about the history of the labor movement, so that's cool!

The Los Angeles Times coverage of the strike has been great so far. They're doing an amazing job of showing you the human face behind all of this. It's a trying time.

I cannot stress enough: CALL the LAUSD at 213-443-1300. Tell them how you feel about the strike, and urge them to bring this to a swift resolution. The teachers are DESERVING of your support. They're looking for a small, cost-of-living increase in wages, and ultimately better classrooms and schools for your kids through smaller class sizes and more support staff. NOTHING is more important than education as in investment in the future.

I spoke to the principal and the office staff at my 10-year-old's school yesterday. They looked…haggard. They were tired. They're administrators, not part of the teachers' union, and were doing their best to keep things running…with about 8% of usual staff. It's a terrible situation for all: The students are not served, the teachers are not served, and those left behind to run a shoestring operation are not served.

The administrative staff, though they chose their words carefully, were solidly on the side of the teachers. I asked them how the day was. "It wasn't the same without our teachers," one said. I asked what I could do. "You know [LAUSD Superintendent] Austin Beutner?" one joked. "Call him and tell him to end this. One staffer had an older child at another school. She didn't send her kid to school on day one. She knew it was effectively worthless.

Even two days of this is two days too long. The teachers' demands are simple, and justified. The Los Angeles Unified School District MUST end this strike with all deliberate speed, and grant the teachers what they need for themselves and their students.

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, January 14, 2019

Okay, LAUSD, I like donuts, BUT…

Today is Day One of the Los Angeles teachers strike. In hopes that anything can be a "teachable moment," I brought my 10-year-old son to school. And I told him this was the plan:

• We're bringing the teachers donuts
• He was going to attend at least one day of school during the strike to have the experience and to see firsthand what it's like
• On all subsequent days, he could determine if he wants to go to school or not for the (hopefully short) duration of the strike
• No matter WHAT his decision there, we're getting up early like regular school time, and bringing the teachers donuts every day.

In the round trip between home, the donut shop, and my kid's school, we passed two OTHER schools. I'm happy to report that a full compliment of teachers were walking the line at each school, with robust support from passers-by. All this, in a steady rain (in L.A., so for you out-of-towners, this might as well have been the apocalypse).

At my kid's school, I was flat-out crying, truth be told. These teachers have been GREAT for my son, and for the community at large. It PAINED them to be outside, carrying signs and singing protest songs, knowing that they could not do their jobs today, watching their own students walk by. I saw retired teachers who had come to walk the line with their current counterparts. And no matter WHAT they were feeling on the inside, to their eternal credit, they smiled, said "good morning," and thanked every parent who was there with their kids.

Inside, all the students gathered in the auditorium. The principal, one heck of a great guy, addressed the kids and the parents. Told everyone they were doing their best. Said they'd have the kids in the computer lab, the auditorium, outside. Said it would be "fun."

District-wide, the Los Angeles Unified School District is attempting to keep schools open with about 8% the usual capacity of actual dang adults. They need the grant-in-aid money that flows to them on a per-student, per-day basis. I get it.

I also get that a strike is the WORST of all possible outcomes. It is NOT good for the teachers, the administrators, the students, the district, the parents. NO ONE wins here.

The teachers' demands are simple, and justified: A cost-of-living wage increase over the next two years, and some additional staff and smaller class sizes. ALL of these are good outputs.

The onus is squarely on the shoulders of the district. It MUST accede to these very reasonable demands.

I will be there every morning, with my son, for this duration. I like donuts. But I'd rather enjoy them in a more comfortable environment, knowing that the needs of my son, the teachers, and the community at large are being served.

Los Angeles Unified School District: Give the teachers what we all need, nnd this strike immediately.

Jim McLauchlin