ComicsPRO’s outgoing president Joe Field provided the following text of his closing statement at the 2013 ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting in Atlanta, Ga.
Field had served as president since the inception of the organization. Field is a former columnist for Comics & Games Retailer, the creator of Free Comic Book Day, and a long-tenured and respected member of the comics retail community. His store, Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, Calif., received the 1995 Will Eisner “Spirt of Comics” award for retailing excellence.
Field remains on the board of directors of ComicsPRO. He is succeeded as president by Thomas Gaul.
Joe Field’s remarks as follows:
A few thoughts as I abdicate the ComicsPRO throne:
This may be our 7th annual meeting, but it sure feels like we’ve turned a corner with this organization. For your attendance here, your participation and your membership, please give yourselves a big round of applause.
As a handful of you may have read in my statement in the meeting binders, I’ve been through the hopeful formings and sad dismantlings of several retailer trade organizations… And the saddest were the ones in which I was the last “leader” of each group tasked to turn out the lights. That happened with BACR, then happened with the Northern California chapter of CBRI, then again with the Direct Line Group.
With that kind of dismal track record I had some trepidation when Amanda Emmert gathered a small group of retailers to become the Justice League of ComicsPRO.
There was Gary Dills, who was the the Batman of the group, preferring to stay in the shadows, providing the funding and just getting work done in quiet and effective ways. There was Michael Drivas from Big Brain in Minneapolis — who was the Flash, coming in speedily to represent strong indie retailers of the Midwest. There was Brian Hibbs — the righteously indignant Green Arrow, constantly trying to get everyone to see his point of view, always fighting his good fight.
Then came in Chris Powell, our Green Lantern, who could seemingly summon great benefits for the group like they popped out of his ring.
And of course, Amanda was and is our Wonder Woman, lassoing us all together to do something that needed to be done, something none of us would have done on our own. She’s a mighty Amazon, that one.
And there I was — I dunno, maybe Martian Manhunter — always looking for the Oreos?
But here we are eight years on stronger than ever but also with a more challenging slate of goals. Our membership still needs to grow, our voice needs to be clearer and more businesslike, more pragmatic than passionate. And we need to find ways to take the energy we get at these meetings to make not only our retail operations better, but also fortify ComicsPRO with our active participation.
If each of us could give not only with our dues and attendance, but also with some volunteer hours, we could do greater things with ComicsPRO. Better benefits for all of us, better security and growth for our segment of the entertainment market and better opportunities for us to confidently invest in opening new stores in under served areas.
While it sure doesn’t look like anything can take our market down, really the one thing that can is our own complacency. If we’re standing still, then we’re losing ground. And I know from hearing from so many of you this week that you will not let that happen –to our own operations or to an important entity like ComicsPRO.
The beautiful thing — and something I could never say about previous retailer orgs — is that this one is going to last.
With our strongest board ever now in place, I expect and will continue to help guide ComicsPRO to a stronger position in our industry.
I would like each of our board members to stand when I call your name so that our whole membership can see who has been tasked with taking us into the coming years.
Our newest board member — from Alternate Realities in Las Vegas, Ralph Mathieu.
From the frozen tundra of Halifax, Nova Scotia, our new recording secretary, Strange Adventures’ Calum Johnston. From Chicago Comics with perhaps the driest wit of anyone in the room, Eric Kirsammer. Our new Vice President from Earth 2 — so he really is from the Justice League — “Snapper” Carr D’angelo. ComicsPRO’s own Batman, from Laughing Ogre, Gary Dills. Your new president, one of the sanest and smartest voices in the business, from Beach Ball Comics and Cornerstore Comics, Mr. Thomas Gaul.
And Wonder Woman her own shy self, the amazing Amanda Emmert.
I want to thank these board members — but more than that, I want to thank everyone here. Our sponsoring suppliers who must have notebooks and tablets full of new ideas — thank you all for being part of this, for doing your part to improve your products and by extension, improve our profitability.
I want to thank you all, retailers, suppliers, colleagues and friends, some of whom I’ve known for better than 25 years, for allowing me to work in a business I truly enjoy. For showing your confidence in these last eight years as I have served as your ComicsPro president.
I’m confident in saying I will be ComicsPRO’s best former president ever — at least for awhile.
See you all next year right here in Atlanta.