FCBD: A Post-Apocalyptic Diary
Oh shit, what’s this?!
Yes, we’re finally making a Robo statue. I put this on Twitter last week, but then I forget that I haven’t figured out how to put a Twitter link on the side bar of the blog yet, so you folks might not even know I’m on there. (Scott_Wegna). Here is what I can tell you so far:
Here we are several inches into the blog and I haven’t mentioned FCBD yet. Overall it was grand success. Basically any time I can invent an excuse to be in Boston I am in the car and heading for Alewife Station like a fucking rocket. Last year I was just too damn busy to make it down since I was already committed to appearing in two New Hampshire stores and one in Lowell. So last summer I made plans with my buddy Benn Robins to do New England Comics this year. I split the day between two of NEC’s stores -happily located only about half a mile away from each other.
You’d think that two comic shops located so close to one another would cancel out a certain number of sales for each other. Luckily the Green line acts as an invisible boundary line between the two shops. For some strange reason people who live on one side of the line will just not cross over to the other side. Weird.
Anyway, I had a great time at both stores. Both were packed with customers. Dorinda and the Widget came down in the afternoon and after visiting the aquarium and having fun on the T (the Boston subway) they joined me at the second store and then we went out for some awesome Korean food. It turned out that one of the fellows who works at NEC is also something of a poetry celebrity, so Dorinda had someone to geek out on.
The only blemish on the day was when I locked my keys in the trunk of my car. The weather was beautiful and I’d decided that I should leave my coat in the car. I had loaded my stuff in the trunk to take to the second store and I tossed my keys and wallet into my bag (also in the trunk) before taking off my jacket. Almost as a reflex I slammed the trunk shut and headed for the driver’s side door. There were a few moments of shocked disbelief when I realized that my keys were no longer with me. Luckily Benn from NEC had Triple A. (Note to self: get AAA!)
There was actually a second blemish to my day. Diamond Distributors only delivered 32 of the 200 Atomic Robo FCBD issues that NEC ordered. Luckily Red5 was able to over-night some copies. Way to go Diamond. They also failed to deliver ANY of the Vol.1 and Vol.2 TPBs that NEC ordered. I’m sure they will arrive next Wednesday when NEC no longer really needs two dozen copies of a single TPB to put on their shelves.
You may have also noticed that no one on the East Coast got Atomic Robo 3.1 last week. No one. To say that Brian and I are bullshit about this is an understatement. To say that we are surprised would be a lie. We expect nothing less that bumbling ineptitude from our distributor. When Diamond Distributors doesn’t fuck us over by making it impossible for retailers to get our book we start to wonder what’s wrong. I doubt anyone from Diamond reads my blog, but if they do, please don’t take this as an attack on you. I’ve met our Diamond rep and he seemed like a swell guy. But the system that Diamond the company uses is archaic by 1990’s standards (never fucking mind the 21st Century) and difficult for even seasoned retailers to navigate. Diamond’s policies on what they will and will not keep on-hand in their warehouses is also bullshit.
As usual, Clevinger summed it up better than I ever can in a series of emails we were shooting back and forth last week. “From working at a comic shop, what you do is look up a given title through your shop’s online account with Diamond.
There’s a range between “In Stock” and “Out of Stock, no idea when we’ll get more, probably never.”
When Diamond sells all the Vol 1 TPBs they have, that’s what it comes up as in their system. Not merely “out of stock” but “no information when we’ll expect more, this is the same code as titles that are out of print or will never be available again, so just give up.”
It will say this even if Diamond has placed an order for 200 or whatever copies of Vol 1. If they aren’t physically at the warehouse, they don’t exist.
So, then the shops don’t order Vol 1.
So, then Diamond never gets Vol 1 in stock. And so on FOREVER.
This is why we worked out that deal with them that they’d always keep X-hundred copies in stock, because people want the goddamn thing, but Diamond’s trying to run a distribution business with the bare minimum of inventory MARRIED TO the most idiotic inventory reporting system you can imagine. It’s a great system to make sure they never have to stock items that don’t sell very well, i.e. anything that’s not by the Big Four, but all it does is cost us money for being more successful than they think we were going to be.”
Literally we’ve been getting hundreds of orders for the TPBs every week, but it’s always “Out of Stock” in the Diamond system. If the system worked (say like random House’s or Simon and Schulster’s) we could probably double our sales overnight and spend a lot less money on antiacids, worrying about whether or not we will make rent each month, and generally sleeping at night like most other people do.
Basically what I am saying is that I am ever rich I will be buying Diamond only to dismantel it and sell of the pieces to other people who might actually give a fuck about distrubuting all comics, not just DC/Marvel books.
Still and all, some folks got Robo 3.1.
-CBR’s Comics should Be Good (second one down). “This is a wildly entertaining and very funny issue, and Wegener, as usual, draws the crap out of it.” High praise indeed.
-Major Spoilers. These guys didn’t care for Volume 2, but it’s nice to have them back on board. Brian and I are going to be on the podcast next week.
-This guy did not like Robo 3.1. But if I so grossly misinterpreted the point of a particular issue I would probably feel like he does. I can’t explain why I think he missed the point without totally spoiling the story for you guys. But remind me later.
Not to neglect my other work -CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME 5 PAGE PREVIEW of KILLER OF DEMONS #3.
Nerd Night -oooh projection maps. . . .
-Red5 co-founder, Scott Chitwood, talks about the upcoming title DRONE.
Actually I forgot to find any this week. But here’s some stuff from my sketchbook.
It’s been so long since I’ve drawn Jenkins that I had to learn him all over again. Good thing I did too, since he’s back in Vol.3.5.
These idiots are also in Vol.3.5.
I’ve been obsessed with two non-work things this past week. The old original Atomic Robo design sketches (Which the doodles on the left are based on) and Warforged -a sentient species of constructs made from wood, leather, stone, and metal, from the D&D setting of Eberron.
The Robo sketch stuff and explaining the D&D thing are enough to warrant their own blog entry later in the week though.