A Swallow Press Book

Comic Shop
The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

By Dan Gearino
Foreword by Tom Spurgeon

“There are precious few prose books that have elucidated the quirkiness of the comics industry more than Comic Shop.…In clear and compelling language, Gearino lays out how comics specialty shops were born in the 1970s and ’80s, how they flew too close to the sun in the ’90s, and how they’ve managed to endure decades into the Information Age.”

Abraham Riesman, Vulture

“Gearino pulls back the curtain on the seldom-seen end of the business encompassing sales, distribution and retail.…Drawing from original documents and firsthand interviews with key participants, [he] gives the retail and distribution side of the industry an account as dramatic and lively as Sean Howe did for the creative side in his 2012 book on Marvel Comics.…The result is a readable, well-researched account that fills a gap in existing comics literature and provides a great reference for future work."

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“Gearino…effortlessly navigates the byzantine business lore of comic-distribution companies. Although most have shut their doors, the author still takes delicate care with their stories, weaving tales of complex heroes and villains with stories directly from the people who lived through the uncertainty and chaos in the industry.…It is spectacular how often Gearino makes these small stories of heartbreak and triumph feel herculean in scope.…Comic Shop lives in the beautiful struggle to survive and exist.”

Columbus Dispatch

“This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand comics in the U.S. Dan Gearino has put together a riveting account of the history of the comics market, and even reveals the forgotten key women who were essential to its creation. Comic Shop is a fascinating page turner.”

Heidi MacDonald, editor, The Beat

The early 1970s saw the birth of the modern comic book shop. Its rise was due in large part to a dynamic entrepreneur, Phil Seuling. His direct market model allowed shops to get comics straight from the publishers, bypassing middlemen. Stores could better customize their offerings and independent publishers could now access national distribution. In this way, shops opened up a space for quirky ideas to gain an audience and helped transform small-press series, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Bone, into media giants.

Comic Shop is the first book to trace the history of these cultural icons. Dan Gearino brings us from their origins to the present day, when the rise of digital platforms has the industry at a crossroads even as sales are robust. He spends a year with stores around the country, with a spotlight on The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Along the way he interviews those who shaped comics retailing from the early days, including many pioneering women; top creators; and shop owners who continue to push the industry in new directions. A guide to forty of the most interesting shops around the United States and Canada is a bonus for fans.


Dan Gearino is a lifelong comics reader with tastes that swing from the classic Legion of Super-Heroes to the work of Michel Rabagliati. As a business reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, he has won national recognition for his work. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters. Find him at www.dangearino.com.

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Related Subjects

Comics and Graphic Novel Culture · Business and Economics

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Formats

Hardcover

978-0-8040-1190-7
Retail price: $26.95, T.
Release date: Oct. 2017
75 illus. · 264 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights: World

Electronic

978-0-8040-4083-9
Release date: Oct. 2017
74 illus. · ≅ 264 pages
Rights: World

Additional Praise for Comic Shop

“If the foundation of America’s castle on a hill consists of how we buy and sell things, Dan Gearino shows us what’s in the basement.”

Tom Spurgeon, editor, ComicsReporter.com

“Dan Gearino captures the genie in the bottle. He’s gathered together the players and the circumstances to reveal how a generation of entrepreneurs saved an entire industry and changed the very way people discover, buy, read, collect, and even think about comic books.”

Bud Plant