Longtime comic book retailer Michael Tierney, who's been a frequent contributor to ICv2's Talk Backs over the years (see "Michael Tierney of The Comic Book Store on Jemas" for a great post from 2002), has announced that he'll be closing his two retail storefronts, which have both been open over 30 years, and transitioning to mail orders and online sales. (Collector's Edition, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, opened in 1982 and The Comic Book Store, located in Little Rock, opened in 1989).  His announcement is reprinted here, with permission, from a Facebook post he wrote.

One of the reasons that I've enjoyed such a successful run with my pair of comic book stores over the last 38 years has been the recognition of market trends, and always shifting with them.  I've often referred to retailing as a job that requires constantly wearing a pair of roller skates to roll with the changes.

After June 27th I'll be adapting to change once again when Collector's Edition in North Little Rock and The Comic Book Store in Little Rock transition from retail storefronts to mail orders and online sales.

I'm not closing down--I'm just changing the way I do business.

I've already been handling mail order accounts for most of my 38 years, so this is not a new endeavor.  And recently my online sales through my (ID: rockark) Ebay Store have actually been better than my storefront sales, and that's been with very little effort, so it was time to make a change.  With the pandemic, so many comic fans started letting their fingers do the walking online.

For all of my existing mail order customers, there will be no changes.  You're good to go.

For my walk-in customers, if you participate in my reserves service then you're already halfway set up to convert to a mail order account.  Please contact me as soon as possible if you'd like to make the change.  Everything about your account will remains the same--the only difference is that you'll no longer need to make trips into the stores--your books will arrive at your home.

I've had some customers cry when I started breaking the news yesterday.  You and I have been a part of each other's lives for so long, these letters look to me like a welt raised by a whip.  The only reason I didn't tell anyone sooner was because this decision hinged on the sale of my JFK property.  That agreement was struck today.  So now it's official.

Four decades ago, after being International Graphics' youngest ever division manager at the age of 22, people thought I was crazy when a few years later I quit the largest printing conglomeration in the state.  Since I'd opened my first store six months prior, it only took a twenty-minute drive before beginning my new career as a full-time comics retailer.  Not long after that, technological changes began crashing the printing industry and International Graphics went out of business.

The comics industry has also changed shape many times since then.  Comic collectors who were once embarrassed to admit that they read comics are now the cool person who knows all the pop culture.  When I started, comics were still printed on letterpresses in Sparta, Illinois.  Now they are made everywhere, both on demand and digitally.  The recent Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges like the industry has never seen before, and it’s time once again to adapt.

Over the last couple of years, I've also had an explosion of fiction and non-fiction books published as a writer.  Right now I have contracts to produce 6 new books in the next 12 months.  That's on top of scripting, coloring, and lettering the weekly online comics that's been running for the last two years.  Other deals are waiting until I have the time.

So, the good news is that, just like when I left International Graphics, when I walk for that last time out the door as a storefront retailer, I'll drive twenty minutes and transition into several new careers that I've already begun--as an online retailer and mail order service, as an elected public servant, and as a professional writer and colorist.  So, this is not goodbye.  Even should you elect not to continue doing business with me as a mail order account, depending on which books you read, we may still be staying in touch.

When you're doing what you enjoy, it's not work, it's a labor of love.

That's what the last 38 years have been--and hopefully what the next 38 will be!

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.