In My Comic Shop Country, director Anthony Desiato sets out on a quest across America to examine comic book culture. What makes the comic book industry struggle to thrive while comic book films make billions? There’s more to it than you think.
There have been many documentaries over the years that look at the joy of collecting comics, or how they have inspired others, or about those that have made a living making them, but there haven’t really been any documentaries that look at the comic shop aspect of the industry. The closest I have come to seeing this done is in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which has a part of it dedicated to how Mile High Comics (one of the biggest comic shops ever to exist) has struggled to keep afloat at a comic convention that is less about comics and more about TV and film.
“…Desiato sets out on a quest across America to examine comic book culture.”
My Comic Shop Country covers the business side of comics and comic shops, as told by the owners and employees that run them. Think about it, has the movie-going public ever heard from the comic shop owners (aside from when one would physically go to a storefront)? The answer is no. Comic shop owners have never had the platform to express their thoughts on the industry until now.
Several comic shop owners from nine different states tell their stories of starting out as a shop owner to sadly, going out of business. Steve Oto was the owner of Alternate Realities for over a decade. Unfortunately, Alternate Realities had to close its doors in 2015. Oto went from blaming himself for business failures to blaming the costumers who “left [him] in the lurch” when they didn’t pick up their pull lists. Pull lists are a list of comics that a costumer wants each week. It is pretty much a way to pre-order comic books, but the thing about pull lists is that the customer does not have to pay until they pick them up. So pull lists are not a guaranteed sell, but more of a guaranteed risk and less space for the comic shop owner to operate. Things like this are what the store owners have to foresee when running a shop. There’s also the unpredictability of what will be the next hot comic.
"…what makes the comic book industry struggle to thrive while comic book films make billions?"