TWO NEW ONLINE retail ventures that will focus on graphic novels, comics, zines, genre literature and other related merchandise, have launched this month.
Comicstore.com (www.thecomicstore.com)and its competitor, Next Planet Over (www.nextplanetover.com) join such established comics online retailers as the Denver-based bookstore Mile High Comics (www.milehighcomics.com).
Comicstore.com is the first online venture of Ross Rojek, founder of Comics and Comix, a 26-year-old chain of six comics stores in Northern California. C&C's distribution center in Sacramento will handle fulfillment and shipping. Paul Harrington, previously an associate editor at Little, Brown and a marketing director at Gates of Heck, has been named editor-in-chief. Harrington told PW the site will feature original content and a database with "every comic book available." There will be weekly editorial features as well as reviews of comics and zines. Contributors will include Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Journal, zine king Seth Freedman of Fact Sheet Five and other contributors. Harrington noted that the store will not give heavy discounts. Although the store will initially only offer a selection of comics-related sidelines, Harrington said the site will "eventually offer a full range of pop cultural stuff."
Next Planet Over
Next Planet Over is being launched by two entrepreneurs who met at the Wharton School of Business: David Reid, a former technical writer and comics book retailer, and David Scott, who has a background in computer technology. Milton Griepp, cofounder and former president of Capital City Distribution, has been named chairman of the company.
According to Scott, Nextplanetover.com, backed by venture capital, is an "e-commerce venture" aimed at the "entertainment hobbyist" -- consumers interested not only in comics but in licensed products (such as Star Wars titles), fantasy, humor and horror titles, action figures and a wide variety of fan-oriented products. The site will also offer original editorial material on products, authors and artists and will specialize in graphic novels by independent publishers.
However, the site will not discount. "It's not about discounting," Scott told PW. "We're providing convenience: one store, one brand, 24-hour service." Scott also noted that the firm would not spend millions on advertising and promotion. "We know how to find our customers online. We can use word of mouth and get customers who don't go to comic stores.