Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by retailer Steve Bennett of Mary Alice Wilson's Dark Star Comics in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett continues to talk about the transition of Dark Star from a full line comic store to graphic novels-only, plus gives us several of his famous asides.

This column would have appeared a day earlier if not for the fact I was selected to witness the changing of the guard; after our regular closing time I stayed behind to watch Tad and Tony of Super-Fly Comics & Games gather up and cart off Dark Star's entire inventory of new comics.  It was a sobering sight, made even more sobering the next morning when the realization hit me.  What, exactly, were we going to do with all that empty space?

But I needn't have worried.  After wishing Tad and Tony the best of luck before going to work all sorts of things came to mind.  Naturally the new arrivals shelf would be where  we'd put the incoming graphic novels, but it suddenly occurred to me in the past we had never had enough space to properly display all our comic book art and 'how to draw comics' books.  Now we did.

And DC's Minx line--I've always liked these little books but they've never really taken off for us.  But, now that we have the room, maybe if we cross-pollinated them with similarly themed new release manga we'd create a girls section that would increase sales of both lines (not that I delude myself into thinking that a title is somehow exclusively male or female; the girls sure seem to go for the seriously creepy Death Note).

It's definitely going to be an ongoing process and there is still lots more to do, but if nothing else this should prove that you can be a comic shop without weekly new comics.

And though I've already got enough to worry about, there are still a few items from the past week that I just can't leave unaddressed.  Like:

The Cancellation of Disney Adventures:
To quote a piece in Advertising Age, 'Disney Publishing attributed its decision to an effort to better focus resources and maximize long-term growth potential through new magazine and book initiatives'.  It also put its shuttering in the context of the closing of other mainstream magazines (like Premiere; I hadn't even noticed it was gone).  Still, it proves that it is possible to argue with success; Disney Adventures sold over a million copies a month and it still wasn't good enough (and supposedly its companion magazine Disney Comix Zone sold even better). 

First Issue of Comic Foundry:
Caught somewhere between The Comics Journal and The Comic Buyer's Guide is the first issue of Comic Foundry ('one cent cheaper than Wizard!' screams the cover copy).

With its hipster attitude, eccentric layouts and eclectic contents it's definitely worth checking out.  Especially page 14 where during a micro-interview with singer Avril Lavigne she reveals everything I suspected about the manga that bears her name.

1)     She doesn't read manga.
2)     It's creation was a business opportunity.
3)     'Oh, it's just a small thing on the side, just for the kids'.

And since she is Canadian the above piece can serve as an admittedly poor segue to an item that seems to gone under the radar of all the comic Websites:  a Canadian firm called Zero 2 Heroes has declared itself 'Canada's Largest Online Comics Publisher' with this business model in mind:

'We're calling on all Canadian novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, journalists - pretty much anyone who can set down a laptop and write - to submit their storylines for development.  We want to change the way genre entertainment is created and consumed.

The strategy is simple and effective; combine user-generated content with social media enhancement to produce market-ready properties that have a built-in following of hardcore fans.'

Boy, that's a lot of buzzwords.  But if it seems like I'm making fun of them I'm not; if I were going to try and create a multi-million dollar synergistic youth entertainment conglomerate with almost no money down that's exactly how I'd do it.  Plus it's a prime opportunity for Canada (and the rest of the world) to rediscover some of the heroes from the Golden Age of Canadian comic books, like Johnny Canuck.  Without benefit of a costume or super powers he managed to hit Hitler in the face - just like his counterpart Captain America. And now that he's dead*, maybe it'll finally be Johnny's time to shine.

In conclusion today ends with the end of yet another era; it's comic book day and I haven't read a single comic book.  And with my work schedule I probably won't be able to make it to Super-Fly to read comics and kibitz with the guys until maybe Saturday -- and it's not even a block from their store to mine.

Yet somehow I think I'll survive.

*Captain America is not dead.  I mean, after all we all know he was turned into a werewolf back in the 80's; I'm guessing after the first full moon his icy grave will be found empty.

The opinions expressed in this column is solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of