18 DECEMBER 2012
I'm pretty sure I have never posted so much Comic Con stuff around Christmas before. Anyhow.
If your neighborhood comic shop is particularly awesome, go on and nominate them for The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, which is given each year "to an individual retailer who has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large."
You can see all the criteria and guidelines here. Your nominee can't be a previous winner, must have been in business for at least two years, must run an ethical and high-quality store, and be active in the community. But my favorite is "Support of a wide variety of innovative material. Providing opportunities for creators’ material to reach buyers; stocking a diverse inventory."
Not only do I appreciate this as someone who reads obscure indie comics right along with my DC comics, but it speaks to the comic book industry's values of genuine art and creativity. In a world where so much "art" is formulaic and mass-produced, comic books offer artists and writers a medium for truly original expression, no matter how intellectual, strange, or unprofitable their work may be. It's not all superheroes and zombies out there on the shelves - well, not on the shelves of the braver retailers. So I think it's great that this award recognizes those stores who go out of their way to help offbeat artists and readers find each other.
On a side note, CCI's new site uses the verbiage Comic-Con International: San Diego now, even when it's cumbersome in sentences like "Comic-Con International: San Diego will once again feature a diverse group of guests from comics, science fiction and fantasy, and illustration during the 2013 event." Is that new? It's not like there's also a Comic-Con International: New Delhi. Not one run by CCI, at least. Maybe it points to another Con brewing beneath the surface, but maybe it's just a weird branding decision.