Alter Ego Comics Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Talking Comics with Tim | Christy Blanch on Retailing, Education & ‘Charlie Wormwood’

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood

You may know Christy Blanch from her recent investment, along with her partner Mark Waid, in Alter Ego Comics in Muncie, Indiana, her comics education work, or her collaboration with Chris Carr, Chee and Troy Peteri on the Thrillbent series The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood.

While the comic about a college professor in a dangerous partnership for the sake of his family is on hiatus, that’s about to end. Blanch and I discussed all three aspects of her busy career in this interview.

Tim O’Shea: Judging from the store’s Facebook page, it’s pursuing a great deal of community outreach. Are you seeing new faces shopping in the store as a result?

Christy Blanch: Mark, Jason [Pierce, the initial owner] and I are all about creating community. We want to give people a reason to come here to shop. We want them to feel like this is their clubhouse to come in and hang out, talk comics, and just be themselves. We are seeing lots of new faces. The old location was a nice store, but we really were hidden. Downtown we are very visible and we see new people every day which is a great feeling. I love it when I sell someone their first comic book especially if it is a series that I love. I always tell them I envy them because I would love to ‘forget’ the book and be able to read it for the first time again.

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media expanding into India; the Avengers at 50

Naruto, Vol. 62

Naruto, Vol. 62

Publishing | Viz Media, the largest U.S. publisher of English-language manga, is poised to jump in to a new market: India. Kevin Hamric, the company’s director of publishing and marketing, was there this week, and he says the demand is there. “With India’s growing book and reading sector we have identified it as key to our growth,” Hamric says. “We receive many, many requests each and every month from fans in India to bring our product here.” [The Hindu Business Line]

Comics | As the Avengers turn 50, Noel Murray recounts their history and explains why they work so well as a super-team. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | The founder of this month’s incredibly successful Salt Lake Comic Con — it drew about 70,000 attendees in its first year — is planning a spinoff event for Jan. 9-11, the weekend before the Sundance Film Festival. [Salt Lake Tribune]

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Mark Waid becomes a comics retailer

First-RevealIf you happen to be in Muncie, Indiana, some weekend, stop off at Alter Ego Comics — the person who rings up your issue of Daredevil might just be the guy who wrote it.

Writer Mark Waid, who sold his print comics collection to fund his digital-comics site Thrillbent, is now a comics retailer: He and his partner Christy Blanch, who taught the MOOC on “Gender Through Comic Books” earlier this year, have each bought shares in Alter Ego Comics from original owner Jason Pierce. Waid, who lives in the Muncie area, refers to Alter Ego as “my store of choice for some time.”

“This isn’t a vanity purchase, a symbolic gesture, or a silent partnership,” Waid explains at Thrillbent. “Christy, Jason and I are each equal shareholders in Alter Ego Comics. I have skin in the game, and I’m eager to see what there is to learn about the only side of the industry I’ve never involved myself with.”

As a champion of digital comics for the past few years, Waid has often joked about incurring the wrath of retailers, so this is quite a twist. But it makes sense: He believes digital and print should work together, and some of that has to happen at the retail level. As he does with his digital comics, he plans to write about his experiences, and since Waid doesn’t mind discussing his mistakes as well as his successes, that should make for interesting reading.

And if nothing else, Waid’s comic shop just has to be cool. As he himself says, “Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s probably worth stopping by just to see all the props and memorabilia I’ve brought from home. Who else do you know who has both a full-size Phantom Zone projector and a scale-model replica of the Batcave?”

With his stake in Alter Ego Comics, Waid joins the ranks of such comics creators-turned-comics retailers as Geoff Johns, and Art Baltazar and Franco.

Look for an interview with Waid this afternoon at Comic Book Resources.


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