As we reach yet another week without new comics hitting shelves, concern continues to grow over the future of local comic shops. Though there’s still no telling when the industry will return to normal, BOOM! Studios President Filip Sablik has shared an incredibly wholesome and hopeful open letter on the importance of comic shops— and why they’re not going anywhere.
While many comic readers worry a temporary transition to digital-only comic book releases would spell ruin for local comic shops, Sablik argues comic shops offer so much more than a storefront to buy books:
But comic book fans didn’t exclusively buy new releases off the internet or an app. They bought them at your store. Because you sell community. It’s why I love comic shops. Where else can I talk about Saga coming back? Now I don’t debate who’s stronger—Superman or the Hulk. But I’ve been there when two people—neither of whom worked at a job where the boss or a co-worker wanted to debate this—started discussing it and asked me what I thought. In case you didn’t know, I have a shrine to the original superhero in my office. You see, you don’t just sell issues of Superman—or Once & Future. You also sell community, a place where everyone knows your name. You sell a place where every customer knows that you’ll introduce them to the best work from their favorite creators. You sell them Kieron Gillen’s Once & Future or Ludocrats because they love Die or The Wicked & The Divine. You sell them Brian Azzarello’s Faithless because you remember they enjoyed Moonshine or 100 Bullets. You sell them James Tynion IV’s Something Is Killing the Children because they’re devouring his Batman or The Woods.
I am lucky enough to have a local comic shop that absolutely embodies everything Sablik describes. I go in every week to pick up books but end up hanging out for hours just talking about new books or Star Wars or wrestling or punk music. I’ve met friends at my local shop, gotten to know the owner, and have made my weekly trip to the shop the highlight of my week. Sablik nails what makes a good comic shop so special, and I think we should all take a moment to heed his message.
We still don’t know when our beloved industry will return to normal. But with leaders like Sablik at the forefront of the industry, we are in good hands.
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