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QRD #72 - Striving On
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Label Owner Interviews:
Silent Media Projects
Fruits de Mer Records
At War With False Noise
J&C Tapes
Fourth Dimension
Velvet Blue Music
Projekt Records
Consouling Sounds
Felmay Records
Lathelight Ltd
FilthyBroke Recordings
Public Eyesore

Guitarist Interview:
Christian Berends

Comic Creator Interviews:
Casey Brillon
Ayal Pinkus
Maxime de Radiguès

Comic Shop Owner Interviews:
Bombshell Comics
Jesse James Comics
October Country Comics

Christian Musician Interview:
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Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Silber Kickstarter
Mike Giacoia of October Country Comics
Comic Shop Owner Interview with Mike Giacoia of October Country Comics
April 2015
Mike Giacoia of October Country Comics
Name: Mike Giacoia
Shop: October Country Comics
City: New Paltz, NY
Year Established: 1979
Website: http://octobercountrycomics.com

QRD – What is the first comic you ever bought?


QRD – What the one comic book that would be the crown jewel in your collection... the comic equivalent of the holy grail for you?


QRD – What is currently your favorite comic on the market & why?

Mike – I don’t have one favorite.

QRD – When did you first start working at a comic shop?

Mike – 1976.

QRD – How did you come to own your own shop & what do you wish you’d known beforehand?

Mike – My friend & I bailed out a small shop in NJ & owned it for three years.

QRD – Have there been any particular trends in the comic book market that you've found especially exciting &/or troubling since opening your shop?

Mike – Exciting: how the movies have made reading & enjoying comics more mainstream. Troubling: the constant events for events sake & the lack of character loyalty by newer customers.

QRD – Have you always focused on comics exclusively or do you find it a necessity to stock toys, games, etc. as well?

Mike – We’ve had to add gaming & toys because comics alone cannot support a store anymore.

QRD – Would you be interested in diversifying your inventory or do you think your store has successfully developed a personality that needs preserving?

Mike – We are much more diverse than we were in the past & continue to what our customers seem to want.

QRD – How much of a factor do you think the personality or atmosphere of a shop plays in establishing a customer base?

Mike – A lot. A clean store with helpful, personable people are a must. The old “comic book man” in the dark boys club is passé.

QRD – How active of a role does your shop take in social events like release parties, movie outings, etc.?

Mike – Not very. We tend to create our own events. Of course, FCBD is a must.

QRD – Do you do in store events with local comic creators or ones doing a book promotion tour?  What do you feel has to be done for those events to be worth it to you?

Mike – We do have creator autograph signings & they’ve been very successful. Getting the word out is the toughest thing after securing the talent.

QRD – Do you believe these types of events create new readers?

Mike – I haven’t seen much evidence of it.

QRD – Have the comic book summer movie blockbusters & Free Comic Book Day been a boon to your store?

Mike – Recent movies have helped spike interest & FCBD is huge for us.

QRD – What advice do you have for publishers, writers, artists, & distributors that you think would create more sales?

Mike – Less line wide events. Less re-numbering. More dedication to well written long running titles.

QRD – Do you do things to try to cultivate local comic talent?

Mike – We do sell product by local talent when it’s presented to us.

QRD – When a new customer comes into the store with little experience in comics or having left comics for a decade, what do you to cultivate their interest in comics in general & your store in particular?

Mike – Our store sells itself. It’s something we’re proud of.  As for cultivating interest, we’ve found just engaging the customer in conversation about their likes & dislikes (it helps if the person engaging in the conversation is personable with a good comic background) will usually get them interested in an item or two.

QRD – When people walk away from buying comics, what do you usually here as their complaint for leaving the hobby?

Mike – Money. Reboots. Renumbering.

QRD – What are your thoughts (as a business & as a fan) on digital comics?

Mike – I’ve always been in favor of anything that gets the medium into more hands, but as a store owner digital has not been a friend to us.

QRD – Can you tell us your opinion on Diamond Comics Distributors in regards to their exclusive deals with some of the bigger publishers... is it a monopoly?

Mike – Yes. We get nowhere near the service we did with multiple distributors & everything has costs attached to them that didn’t before.

QRD – Do you feel like the quality of service Diamond provides would keep you from trying a legitimate competitor if one were to spring up?

Mike – I think a distribution competitor in the current marketplace would be very difficult.

QRD – With the rise in Kickstarter comic projects, do you look for comics for the store on Kickstarter?

Mike – We haven’t.

QRD – When customers say they can get something for a better deal on Amazon, how do you react?

Mike – We don’t. They are entitled to buy where they want & matching Amazon’s prices is a quick trip to bankruptcy.

QRD – What do you think about CGC & the other professional grading companies? Are they a benefit or detriment to the hobby?

Mike – I personally hate it. I do see the benefit to it when buying on the internet, but the artificial price increases on common books is shameful. I also don’t like that they are no longer books -- since you can’t read them.

QRD – Do you think the drastic overhauls like DC's New 52 are fundamental for the big two to stay relevant?

Mike – No. Tweaking has always been necessary, but it seems reboots are more of a “jumping off” point now rather than “jumping on.”

QRD – How well do small press & local comics sell at your store?

Mike – Very well.

QRD – What do you think of the "wait for the trade" mentality?

Mike – They’re a different type of reader that we may not have without that format.

QRD – In the coming years do you see monthly comics or the trade paperback/graphic novel format being the dominant form of comics?

Mike – I think the monthly format will reach a price where it is no longer viable.

QRD – Do you buy high-end stock (e.g. hardcover deluxe editions & statues) on speculation for your store or only by special order?

Mike – Mostly special order, but we do keep our customers in the loop.

QRD – Does your store exhibit at comic book conventions? Do you think having a presence there is a crucial part of bringing in new customers?

Mike – Local cons only. We have gotten some visits from those shows.

QRD – If fifty years from now all comics are digital, do you think there will still be shops where people go to buy the physical relics that we all read today?

Mike – They’ll be like “rare book stores.” Most will be sold online.

QRD – If you weren't operating a comic book shop what would you be doing instead?

Mike – It’s been 30 years.  I really don’t know.

QRD – Do you have bargain bins & what are the prices of things in them if so & where do the books in them come from?

Mike – Yes. 25 cent comics, $1.00 comics, & half off trades. Some are overstock, some purchased from people coming into the store.

QRD – What makes your store special to your community that another store transplanted from another city wouldn’t have going for it?

Mike – History.

QRD – What do you think is your store’s all time bestseller & why?

Mike – I have no idea. Probably Sandman trades or The Watchmen trade.

QRD – How has owning a store effected your own fandom?

Mike – Yes. It’s not as much fun to be a fan when you have to think “sellable” first.

QRD – Would you ever sell the store?

Mike – When I’m ready to retire, yes.

QRD – Anything else?

Mike – No. Just let me know when you’re done with this project.  I’m curious to see how it reads.