A few months back, I took my oldest son to a kids superhero event at a local preschool. I didn’t really know anything about the school and had never heard of the sponsor of the event, ComicCollectorLive.com. All I knew was that my kid wanted to dress up like Spider-man and go get his picture taken with the cosplay superheros that were there, which ultimately didn’t happen because children are notoriously fickle human beings. But I digress…
The event was great and gave me the great opportunity to be exposed to Comic Collector Live, which is based out of Hendersonville, Tn, the town I’ve lived in for the last 15 years or so. A few weeks later I happened upon this Facebook page for Comic Collector Live: The Store. I was like, “What?! There’s a comic shop in MY town? I don’t have to drive almost to Nashville anymore for my books? Who am I asking all these questions to?” After I calmed down, I popped over to the shop and took a look around. My first impression was that the shop was very personable. I met the guys who run the place, Joe Butler and Steve Boyd, and I was extremely impressed with how incredibly nice and friendly they were. Right away I knew I was ready to move my pull box to this shop. For the last couple of months I’ve been getting my books from them and it’s always a pleasure to go into the shop and chat with these good dudes. Many of us here at 4LN frequent the shop and we all love getting to chat comics with Joe, Steve, and Chance.
Recently, I had a opportunity to pick Steve’s brain about the shop and some other comic stuff, and here’s the results…
4LN – How did ComicCollectorLive.com come about?
Steve – That’s an excellent question! The CCL website was created by our CEO, Joe Butler, after he tried a few other comic collecting software programs and found each one of them lacking in certain areas. He put together a crack team of expert programmers to bring the project to life…and many months and several hundred thousand dollars later…www.ComicCollectorLive.com was born. I was brought into the company not long after the website went live and have been with the company ever since.
4LN – What prompted you guy to want to open a shop?
Steve – Honestly, it just made sense to me. We had CCL members and fans come by our offices for years just to say hi and check out our digs…but I always thought CCL needed a “homebase” to really give us a physical presence. Obviously we love comics or we wouldn’t be in this business, and opening up a fully-functioning comic shop here in Hendersonville kind of brings us full circle. Plus, it’s great additional exposure for the website too. “Hey, if we don’t have it in the store, we have 1.4 million comics for sale on the website. There’s a good chance it’s for sale on CCL.”
4LN – There’s been a real visible resurgence in the popularity of comics lately. In your opinion, is there any specific event, or events, that could be attributed to this?
Steve – Personally, I think you can attribute most of the success to Hollywood. I don’t know if there’s been a resurgence of comics per se, but the pop culture genre as a whole is enjoying a lot of new faces. When I was a kid, the only way you could get a t-shirt with WOLVERINE on the front was to order it directly from a comic book shop and it usually cost me 2 months worth of my allowance. Now you can’t walk into a major retail store without seeing THE WALKING DEAD, IRON MAN, BATMAN or SUPERMAN somewhere in every section of the store. My kids can have LEGOS of THE AVENGERS. I would have killed for these at their age. Comic books have definitely reached even beyond the suburbs now.
4LN – What are your thoughts on the growing market of digital comics, and what affect, if any, do you see digital comics having on print?
Steve – If you’ve ever heard me on this topic on various other podcasts or interviews, you’ll know it’s a VERY sensitive subject for me. Personally, I think that publishers are trying to drive the market to digital because it’s an easier (and possibly cheaper) way to make comics. However, I don’t think they understand the full extent that collectors play in this market. Publishers wouldn’t make 30 different variant covers to their comics if they didn’t think that collectors were still an important part of their business model. But I can’t resell my digital comics, just my unused piece of paper with a digital code. There’s no inherent secondary market value to a digital code. (laughs) I guess that should tell you where I stand on the debate. I don’t dislike digital comics…they are pretty and shiny. I just think that they aren’t necessarily as good for the industry as we’re meant to believe. I think it’s watering down the collectors market and might even potentially be keeping people OUT of the brick and mortar comic shops. And I can tell you right now, I’m not the only person in this business that feels that way, so don’t shoot the messenger.
4LN – You have an opportunity to travel and be apart of different comic con’s and other comic events, what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done at a con?
Steve – Man, that’s a tough one. I’ve been to cons in both the US and CANADA during my time with CCL and I’ve seen and done a lot of cool things. I’d say one of the coolest things would probably be working with IDW on co-producing our exclusive CCL GHOSTBUSTERS #13 variant with the blessing and support of Ernie Hudson himself. He’s featured on the cover of the comic. Now I’m a child of the 80’s, so that’s awesome. Another would be securing William Katt (“THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO”) to endorse our website a few years back. I loved this show when I was a geek no more than 7-8 years old. I’ve got lots of fun stories like that, so it’s best not to get me started. Come by the shop and I’ll regale you with tales that minstrels sing ballads of to this day.
4LN – Final question, and this is a really important one… In your professional opinion… Hulk vs. Wolverine… Who wins?
Steve – Oh dude. Wolverine. He sells more comics. I’m going on break.
Well there you have it, in the words of a comic book professional, Wolvie wins. Bill, you were right.
If you’re local to the Nasnville area, don’t miss CCL’s big SuperSpooky Saturday event on October 26th. On the weekend before Halloween, comic shops all over the nation put on events, and give away free comics to give families an opportunity to do something fun together. CCL is going big. Here it is in their own words…
“It’s our 1st Halloween Celebration and we’re going big! In conjunction with Diamond Distribution’s HALLOWEEN COMICFEST, bring your kids for free exclusive comics, face-painting, costumes and accessories for sale (provided by CostumeConnection.net) and more! Meet MARVEL COMICS Writer/Researcher JACOB ROUGEMONT! Sales all day with extended hours! Thousands of comics only $1 each! Check us out!”
So, next Saturday, load up the kids and head down to the CCL Store and enjoy the party! And if your looking for a local shop to get some great comics and collectibles from, this one comes highly recommended by 4LN!