Buddy Saunders of the Lone Star Comics chain, based in Arlington, Texas, saw Will (RW Comics) Masterson's question to retailers (see 'Will Masterson of RW Comics on Hope') and offered this optimistic advice:


Usually I stay far too busy running my business to find time to comment (much as I'd like to) with regard to various ICv2 news items.  But in this case, I felt compelled to put in my two cents.  The comic business needs more comic book outlets, not fewer, and more than anything, we need more successful comic book retailers.  Will needs to know that there are happy, successful direct market retailers.  Will, you just don't hear from us much because we are too busy managing our stores and creating the next generation of comic fans.


Mass market outlets have their place, but nothing beats a GOOD comic book store for building the comic market.  Will needs to know that while there are still too few successful comic book retailers, happy, successful direct market retailers also do exist.  Stores that most often fail are those that are run primarily as an extension of the owner's hobby.  Stores that are successful are run first and foremost as businesses, despite the fact
that the owner is as much a comics fan as his customers.

I have many friends in this industry who have been around a long time.  We've all seen rough periods, but we are still around and most of us are doing well into today's admittedly competitive entertainment market.

In my case, I opened my first Lone Star Comics store in the summer of 1977.  We are now up to eight stores plus our internet store which opened three years ago.  Based on my experience, the opportunities for well-managed direct market comics stores are as good today as they have ever been, and are quite possibly better.  While too few comics are appropriate for young readers, plenty of sidelines exist that can be used to get kids and their parents comfortable with your store.  They may come in initially for Yu-Gi-Oh, but when that and other fads pass, and assuming they've come to associate your store with happy experiences, these kids (soon to be teens and then adults) will want to keep coming, and for many, comics will be their reason for plunking dollars on your sales counter each week.


We've seen some excellent super hero movies create an influx of new customers.  That trend is likely to continue for some time as Hollywood continues to discover what we've know all along--comics are great entertainment.  Successful comic retailers takes care of their existing customers AND they build their business by creating new customers at
every opportunity.

Will, there's no reason on God's green earth why you can't be one of us.