Tag Archive for Thrillbent

Update: Waid is at it…AGAIN

From left: Art Baltazar, Marc Hammond, Jason Pierce, Christy Blanch, Mark Waid, Franco. Photo by CBR.com

From left: Art Baltazar, Marc Hammond, Jason Pierce, Christy Blanch, Mark Waid, Franco.
Photo by CBR.com

Comic writer Mark Waid continues to make waves. Following last week’s announcement that he is now a co-owner of Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Indiana, Waid announced that his new store has struck a business partnership with Art Baltazar and Franco, fellow comic creators and owners of Aw Yeah Comics in Skokie, Illinois.

“We’ll still maintain our individual identities — one store isn’t being absorbed by the other — but we can pool our resources in unique ways,” Waid explains on his Thrillbent blog. “We can design an Aw Yeah Comics! branded, kid-friendly ’boutique’ into Alter Ego that mirrors the Skokie setup. Conversely, we can build more Thrillbent promotion and outreach into the Aw Yeah Comics! storefront. We can meld print and digital in double the locations and strengthen both the stores and Thrillbent.”

Alter Ego co-owners, Christy Blanch and Jason Pierce, are also taking part in the deal along with Franco and Baltazar’s business partner Marc Hammond. According to Waid, things started when Hammond and Franco visited Alter Ego and asked to invest in the store. The Alter Ego team countered with an offer for the two stores to invest in each other.

Waid described the partnership as “The Image Comics of brick-and-mortar.”

“Some people are dissuaded by the phrase ‘no one has done this before,’ of course, but to the six of us, that’s just fuel on the fire,” Waid wrote. “A sizable share of our store in exchange for an equal share of their store. A six-way partnership between some of the most prominent and vocal figures in the industry.”

Baltazar and Franco, best known for their Eisner-winning “Tiny Titans” at DC Comics, have partnered with Waid before — their all-ages “Aw Yeah Comics” is available through Waid’s digital imprint, Thrillbent.

Comic Writer Mark Waid Did WHAT?!

Left to Right: Alter Ego Comic Shop owners Jason Pierce, Christy Blanch and Mark Waid

Left to Right: Alter Ego Comic Shop owners Jason Pierce, Christy Blanch and Mark Waid. Photo by CBR.com

MUNCIE, IN – Comic writer Mark Waid has been a household name within the industry for decades.  Having a string of commercial successes on Flash, Impulse, Kingdom Come, Empire, Captain America and Superman: Rebirth; Waid has also held editorial positions at some of the comics industries top publishers and is part owner of the digital-only publisher Thrillbent.   Recently, he has added yet another title to his list of achievements – comic shop retailer.

Waid has become a co-owner of Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Indiana along with his partner Christy Blanch (teacher of the “Gender Through Comic Books” and writer of Thrillbent’s “The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood”) and initial owner Jason Pierce.

“We found a new location in Muncie. We’re open now, but we’re having the grand opening celebration on Saturday, Sept. 21 — we’ve got Art Baltazar coming down and Mike Norton from the Chicago area, and we’ve got the 1966 Batmobile, we’ve got Stormtroopers coming, we’ve got the street roped off — we’ve got a big celebration coming. And all of this from a guy who, by all accounts, hates brick and mortar stores,” says Waid. When I mentioned this to my Thrillbent partners and staff, they all had the same question: “You’re buying a store? Why, to burn it down?”

It’s really an interesting expansion, because I don’t know anybody in comics, and I could be wrong, who is simultaneously a store owner, and a freelancer for the majors, and runs his own publishing company at the same time, and has as many fingers in as many different pies as I do. It’s going to be interesting to see what I can learn from this, and how we can use the information I glean from each of these enterprises to make the other ones better, “Waid explains.

Waid goes on to say, “It’s quite a learning process for me. Here I’ve been talking for a long time about how digital is the future, and print can co-exist with it, but I’m not sure that print is the growth place to be. And I’m still not convinced it is, but this is me putting my money where my mouth is. I want to find out first hand. I never want to tell retailers how to run their stores, I never want to suggest that, but likewise, I don’t want to presume that I know everything about retailing and what’s wrong with it without actually having done it. I’m going to get in the deep end of the pool. It’s easy for me as a digital guy off the side to presuppose how comics should be or how the retail industry should work or what’s broken about the distribution system, but I want to get my boots on the ground.”

Determined to strengthen his position on both print and digital comics, Waid explains, “I think that this sends the message I want to send: Digital is not the enemy, and I’ll prove it to you. I am putting my money where my mouth is. I am boots on the ground, I’ve got my checkbook out, I’ve got the sweat equity in it. I’ll work both sides, and let’s see what I learn. I like the fact that I’m now a part of the chain I wasn’t a part of before. Not only am I making the stuff, but I’m selling it now as well. We’ll see how that goes.”

To find out more on the Alter Ego Comics’ grand opening and future signings check Alter Ego’s Facebook page.


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