DALLAS — Improving comic stores and growing the market were the themes at this year's ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting.
Member retailers met with representatives from 23 sponsors, including publishers and distributors.
IDW's CEO Ted Adams, the keynote speaker, and Image President Todd McFarlane each talked about ideas for marketing and metrics to improve efficiency in comic book store sales.
ComicsPRO Executive Director Amanda Emmert announced a plan for ComicsPRO to begin working on a retailer metrics program that could provide better sales and sell-through information to publishers.
DC Comics sponsored a day of programming and announced several programs and projects aimed at helping comic book retailers sell their products. Representatives, including co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee, announced a marketing initiative for this year's “Flashpoint” event, which will launch 16 three-issue miniseries. Promotional buttons, each featuring a miniseries logo, will be available to retailers in conjunction with the event.
“Flashpoint,” written by Geoff Johns with art by Andy Kubert, features the super-speedster the Flash awakening in a world where everything has changed: loved ones are strangers; close friends are different, gone or worse. This world is on the brink of a cataclysmic war. The Flash must find the villain who has altered the time line before time runs out. “Flashpoint” No. 1 of 5 goes on sale May 11, four days after a special preview is released on Free Comic Book Day in comic book stores nationwide.
Representatives of Diamond Comics Distributors, the largest distributor of comic books in North America, said that 2010 sales were down slightly.
Attendance among sponsors and retailers at the 2011 event was up more than 20 percent from last year.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were honored by ComicsPRO at the 2011 Annual Membership Meeting as the recipients of the ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.
ComicsPRO created The ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award to honor people who help get comic books from creator to fan via the direct market.
There are two categories for the Industry Appreciation Award, one for professionals who are still active in the business of comics and a Memorial Award for those who have died and left an indelible mark on the profession of comic book specialty retailing.
Bob Chapman of Graphitti Designs accepted the Memorial Award on behalf of the Kirby family.
Chip Mosher and Matt Gagnon of Boom! Studios accepted the active award on behalf of Stan Lee, who shared a video message with the ComicsPRO retailers. Gagnon said at age 88, Lee is still very involved with every aspect of the comics that bear his name from Boom! Studios. Mosher added it's a professional thrill to work with Lee, and that Lee's instincts for marketing his work haven't dimmed.
Read more about comic books and graphic novels at blog.newsok.com/nerdage.