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#444370 - 12/28/99 07:56 PM Farewell addendum
Robert Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/99
Posts: 851
Loc: The belly of the beast
Hey, hold up for a second! Can I say something before the lockdown?

[I guess not. I think the "Fond Farewell" thread was actually locked down as I was typing this post]

I'm heading out of town in just a few hours so I don't have much time to address what's been said thus far, but...

Jack from Comics Outpost has been incredibly supportive of my teeny, tiny, itsy, witsy, little zine. He placed an order with me, sight unseen, and I got a check in the mail less than a week after mailing off my package.

I don't know how he's worked it with other self-publishers but I'm surprised that anyone would sneer at the thought of sending a sample copy or two to a retailer who so enthusiastically solicits work that so many other stores turn their noses up at. Books often snubbed less because of quality, than simply because of format.

I'm immensely grateful to Jack and a select few gutsy, heaven-sent retailers who are actually willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to the small (and even Microscopic) press.

By the same token, I think a general lashing out against self-publishers, who for whatever reason, haven't responded to the clarion call, is a bit misguided. I do know that both Roberson and myself are able to respond with stealth fighter speed because we need only make a run to the local copy shop to print up another incremental press run. Others here--like Justin--apparently have to deal with more formal matters involving honest-to-god printers.

The indy market, hell the whole market for comics, is in "disarray" probably because there aren't enough readers, and/or potential comics readers are never exposed to the good stuff because you can't routinely find indy comics at your local book/music store. Heck, the only thing that probably keeps the remaining hearty strain of comics retailers (who aren't nestled atop a college campus) in business is the latest toy trend, or Magic: The Gathering.

Anyway, thank you for your support Jack. Comics Outpost and the few other retailers who carry TCI have been invaluable.


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~~~Robert Young~~~
members.aol.com/creednail/page/index.htm
The Comics Interpreter Online--Essays, reviews,images, and links to the best sites on the web.
_________________________
The Comics Interpreter Online [url= Http://tci.homestead.com]Http://tci.homestead.com[/url]

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#444371 - 12/28/99 10:38 PM Re: Farewell addendum
Karon Flage Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 194
Loc: Arlington, Va USA
I can't help but think that other independent publishers that were interested in Jack's idea were scared off by The Comics Outpost Website. The closest thing to small press listed for sale right now is Clerks from Oni Press, Simpsons from Bongo and Vampirella from Harris and the site is decorated with Danger Girl and Witchblade pinups. You have to look at the links section to find any reference to comics that aren't from major publishers.

Jack, did you ever think that someone would look at your site and assume that you couldn't help them since you don't carry independent books? Doesn't matter if you actually do a booming business in Top Shelf and Highwater Book titles. The perception from your site (and ebay auctions) is that you don't know small press. Change that perception and I imagine you will attract more interest.

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Karon Flage, Feature Editor
Sequential Tart Webzine
www.sequentialtart.com
karon.simplenet.com



[This message has been edited by Karon Flage (edited 12-28-1999).]
_________________________
Karon Flage
Sequential Tart Webzine
SPX

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#444372 - 12/29/99 03:23 AM Re: Farewell addendum
John Roberson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 492
Loc: Chicago
Not quite sure what this is about(been too busy to visit any boards much lately) but I'd just like to echo Robert's thanks to Jack for his support, which is generous, enthusiastic, helpful, and just recently made it difficult to squeeze mah haid through the door. And wishing all a happy new year.

More when I'm back on schedule(stealth fighter speed indeed!). Damn flu... [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

Back to the subject...

(later) WHOA! Okay, I guess I haven't kept up on things here lately. Joe, you said:

here are a lot of folks who promise to promote independent comics if only we publishers will send them free copies. And its not unusual, in turn, to receive their resounding condemnation when we fail to do so.

Joe, with all due respect, that is SO out of line you have no idea... When Jack, on these boards, actively solicited PLASTIC #6(and as I'm my own distributor, each new store is a lovely thing to me), I asked the terms. Essentially they were: you send, we pay. An honorable arrangement, I'd call that! I assume it was the same with Robert, but of course I can only speak for myself.

Those copies were NOT free, and were not expected to be. I'd really like to know where you got that from. Speaking personally I can attest Jack's a friendly and conscientious retailer, an honorable businessman, and a friend to the workin' man. Yes, I'm biased. My retailers are my friends. But I got proof too.

"...bitterness and vitriol..."

Free publicity. Always a wonderful thing. Sigh. [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/wink.gif[/img]
Happy new year,
The Always Self-Obsessed John Roberson
Bottomless Studio http://members.delphi.com/JOHNROBERSON/index.html

[This message has been edited by John Roberson (edited 12-29-1999).]
_________________________
John Roberson
Bottomless Studio
Creator of Vitriol, and the upcoming October Surprise, and FALLING SKY...

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#444373 - 12/29/99 10:14 AM Re: Farewell addendum
Don Markstein Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1202
Loc: Earth
Personally, I've never said a word against Jack's proposed program. From the way it's been described, it looks (to my limited point of view) like a good deal for the publishers that are able to take advantage of it, and I don't have enough first-hand knowledge of it to offer criticism, even of the constructive type.

Jack, personally, however -- well, let's just say that for him to complain about "bitterness and vitriol" is not the only thing he's said recently to strike me as both hilarious and pathetic. If I were an independent publisher (which I've been in the past and may be again in the future) I would think twice about getting close enough to do business with someone who has behaved the way he's behaved on these boards.

Of course, your mileage may vary. If anybody finds doing business with him a pleasant and profitable experience, then please don't let me rain on your parade. Any time something is working for you -- well, we all need all the things we can get that work for us, especially with the industry in the shape it is now.

I fully support his decision to post only in The Gutters from now on -- if he sticks to it, of course. I think that would be a very appropriate policy for him.

Quack, Don

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HUNDREDS of daily comics -- and MORE!
http://www.stormloader.com/markstein/daily.htm
"Your Daily Dose Links Page"
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#444374 - 12/29/99 12:55 PM Re: Farewell addendum
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
A point of clarification-- I have nothing against anyone who wants to try out new ideas to promote small press comics, regardless of what they're trying to do, or what I think personally of the individual.

I do, however, take exception when someone dumps on the small press because we aren't particularly inclined to go along with their program. I don't care if it's from Jack, or the prominent CBG columnist who went off on a rant last year, I for one am not going to take that kind of talk lying down.

Regarding Jack's specific operation, I was responding to his description of it, to quote him:

'Here's the deal, I have made requests for books and stuff from you guys that self publish, I even made an open post telling you all to go ahead and send me stuff to get the connect sales thing going. I offered free space, the use of my website for promotion and my big mouth to push things along. With the exception of Robert Young and John Roberson, I have received nothing but put downs for my opinions and no books.

'Its self explanatory why the indy market is in the disarray that its in. You folks are the explanation.'

This description makes no mention of selling the books. I interpreted it to mean send him books for free in return for promotion. If he means send him books on spec and get paid later, then I stand corrected. But when writers don't express themselves clearly, I reserve the right to make logical inferences from what they say.

I did not intend my comments about the free books as a sneer (I certainly felt like sneering at Jack's preachy whining about 'bitterness and vitriol,' considering his vicious posts on the gutters). I was merely providing a counterpoint from a publisher's perspective.

I sympathize with well-intended efforts to help the small press. And I understand publishers' eagerness to find friendly retailers in these hard times.

But all the freebees, and for that matter the 'on spec' schemes, are wasteful, mostly useless, and they hurt the image of the small press. What clearly benefits the small press the most are not people who promote the small press, but CUSTOMERS who actually buy the books.

We have to indoctrinate the public with the idea that our books have VALUE. Whenever we give them away for free, we contradict that.

As I said in the other thread, I've given away tons of free books, and will do so again in the appropriate circumstances. But I will always question the need to do so.

PS: In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to point out that as a comics reviewer I receive a good many review copies of books. I don't actively solicit them, but respect the publisher's need to provide me with material I might not otherwise see. And when I want to review a book I don't have, I put down hard cash and buy it.
_________________________
Joe Zabel

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#444375 - 12/29/99 08:57 PM Re: Farewell addendum
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
I wish Jack all the success in the world for his new venture. My guess, though, is that more small publishers will show interest after he demonstrates he can get orders for the books.

Jack isn't the only game in town as far as online order fulfillment goes. There's also Cliff and Ward's fun-e-books.com and Amazon.com. Publishers can also handle their own order fulfillment.

My own attitude as a publisher is that I want to have a variety of venues through which I can sell my comics ... BUT ultimately I'm going to focus on the people who get me results.

Actually I have enjoyed a lot of Jack's posts and feel he has brought many positive things to the board. Unfortunately, as is the case with some posters here, he's got negatives that go along with the positives. I share Joe's distaste for the Markstein-related remarks.

I think Don's added an awful lot to a variety of discussions on this board, and I hope to read many more posts from him in the months to come.

------------------
Ben Adams
Read PRISONOPOLIS online and learn about the celling of America at www.mediawarpcomics.com .


[This message has been edited by Ben Adams (edited 12-29-1999).]
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#444376 - 12/30/99 03:38 AM Re: Farewell addendum
Mark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/30/99
Posts: 3
Loc: Barre
Hi folks, I'm Jack's business partner, I run the store with him.

I've been fairly intimate with all thats been going on, while I also chastise him for his "vitriol" (a word he should bottle and drink since I'm victimized by it so much myself) you should all be aware of something.

All Jack does is talk about this board and you people.

All he does is RANT about connect sales.

He is a passionate, hotheaded over the top crazy man who rarely knows when to keep his mouth shut. I can see the trouble it has caused.

He can also get things done in a way I've never seen anyone do before. Things normal people don't or can't get done.

Speaking from experience, Jack is NOT normal. But he is the most amazing man when he gets a bug up his rear, and he's got the connect sales bug up his rear now.

Peace to all.

Mark

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#444377 - 12/30/99 10:25 AM Re: Farewell addendum
Don Markstein Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1202
Loc: Earth
Thank you, Ben. Y'know, I've caught you making some intelligent comments, too.

One thing you said about Joe's earlier post kind of jarred me. I went back and looked at it again, and -- who you callin' "distinguished", Joe? (That's the word that threw me -- I'm a comics pro, yeah, but I think of myself as a very minor one, so I had no idea you were talking about me.) Anyway, having now had my attention drawn to it, I took a deep breath and immersed myself in the Nether Regions, and --

Oh, dear, that is quite a thread, isn't it? Of course, the irony of being called "chicken" by a bunch of guys who all sign either phoney names or first names only is not lost on me, but I have to admit, it's true. buk buk buk bukaaaa Chicken -- that's me. If I were to accept their challenge, those bullies might beat me up! Why, a fist could come through my monitor any minute! I'd better stay up here, where they can't reach me.

While I was down there, I checked out a couple of other threads, and -- Good Grief! Don't those guys ever get tired? Us funnybook writers are much lazier -- whenever we want to express that sort of emotion, we just fill up a word balloon with *#$%@@!!! Why don't they just say *#$%@@!!! to each other? It means exactly the same thing.

My little sojourn in The Gutters did clarify one or two things I'd recently found puzzling, tho, so it wasn't a complete waste. I won't specify, because I think the people who puzzled me know who they are.

Rick Veitch, my heart goes out to you. I don't think I could take a job that involved reading every single post on these boards.

Mark (another with no last name, I see) --
I'm sorry to hear Jack talks all day about this board and us. Do you think he might consider getting a life? It's a lot of trouble, sure, but much more rewarding than letting things like this bother him. Of course, it's very flattering to know we're so important to someone who has never even laid eyes on most of us, but I'm afraid I can't return the compliment. I "make my rounds" on the Internet each morning, but when I buckle down to do my day's work, I don't give guys like him another thought.

But it's good to know he's able to accomplish so much when he gets going. Of course, you've got to remember, people who get passionately inflamed about projects have a tendency to lose interest completely when the passion dies. An example, in his case, would be his 13-year retreat from comics, the first time a couple of intelligent critics made adverse comments about his work. And the fact that to this day, he gets in every snide little dig he can at those critics says a lot about the fate of those who get on his bad side. I'd watch my back, if I were you.

But -- if he can sell comics, more power to him. Remember the rabbi's blessing for the Tsar in Fiddler on the Roof? "May God bless and keep the Tsar -- far away from us!

Quack, Don

------------------
HUNDREDS of daily comics -- and MORE!
http://www.stormloader.com/markstein/daily.htm
"Your Daily Dose Links Page"
_________________________
Today in Toons
Every Day's an Anniversary

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#444378 - 12/30/99 12:05 PM Re: Farewell addendum
Mark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/30/99
Posts: 3
Loc: Barre
Hey, there.

Just a quick reply to Mr. Markstein.

My name is Mark Patterson. I operate the Comics Outpost with Jack Venooker on 27 Granite Street in Barre, Vermont. I am very public.

I used the single name as a screenname because it was easier, not because I'm hiding who I am.

As to Jack needing a life, he has one, a full one. I don't know you, I don't know your situation. All I'll say about both Jack and myself is that we are self-employed, and we built this business from nothing. That means that we HAVE to pay attention to all this picayune stuff, because it directly affects our livlihoods.

He and I routinely put 80-100 hours a week each into making Comics Outpost run. We both have families on top of that. This is nothing novel; self-employed people do it all the time. That doesn't make it any less of a struggle. When a person puts that much of themselves into anything, the shop becomes very much an extension of the owners, and the central focus of our lives, apart from the aforementioned families. What is a momentary diversion for you is how we put food on the table. It occupies a majority of our waking hours and a majority of our thoughts and interests. If it doesn't, we aren't doing our jobs.

When you run a comics shop, and you see shops closing nationwide, when you see sales figures from the major comics companies dropping, and you notice that there's an untapped market of work that might possibly cross over into the mainstream if we (the shops and the creators) can just get the word out, the passions can run pretty high.

Jack is committed to making the shop work, and to opening up the connect sales market. As to his commitment to the store, there were some extremely rough times a few years back. It would have been very easy for him to walk away from the morass of debt and bad organization without looking back. Instead, he buckled down and worked on identifying and fixing our weak points, and turning us into the best little shop in Vermont. Without Jack, the Comics Outpost would not be in its sixteenth year of business, with hundreds of regular, satisfied customers.

I met and did business with him for a decade before we became partners. I know him. You don't.

Yes, we've had our share of screaming arguments. We also have a working relationship that lets us get the work done and exchange ideas and keep the energy going, despite the roller-coaster that is day-to-day retail.

Does he have a big mouth? Sure. Does he hold a grudge against people who've done him wrong? Like a vise. If you're his friend, will he stand by you when everyone else is walking away? Without question. Would I trust him with my business? I do every day.

You aren't me, Mr. Markstein. I'll take care of my own back, thanks. How 'bout I keep YOU far away instead?

Hmm...guess it wasn't such a quick reply after all. So it goes.

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#444379 - 12/30/99 12:12 PM Re: Farewell addendum
Lomi Monet Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/99
Posts: 475
Loc: The Hinterland
Mark my respect for Vermont has risen immensely.

Amen brother

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