The GeeksverseLocal Comic Shop Spotlight #2

Local Comic Shop Spotlight #2
Published on Sunday, July 1, 2012 by

Cosmic Comics Interview: Jim Brocius

Greetings comic fans, and welcome to the second installment of the Local Comic Shop Spotlight! This next interview features Local Las Vegas comic shop owner Jim Brocius.

When I walked into Cosmic Comics, the first thing I noticed were the pair of sofas and the coffee table right in the center of the store. Nothing fancy, but very tasteful and comfortable. Jim offered me a cup of coffee, and I knew immediately that we would get along well. Jim Brocius and His partner Brian Fudge have their own unique approach to the Comic book business. For them, it’s all about promoting reading in an unpretentious and straight forward way. There is a kids section of his store that has a small table and chairs so that kids can sit down and read to their hearts content. Who does that? The back issues are stored in wooden library cabinets, and the long boxes are on large display tables in the back, straight forward, clean and to the point. The following is a transcript of our conversation, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

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Eddie: Jim, first of all, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, we really appreciate it.

Jim: Okee doke.

Eddie: Jim, I noticed that your shop has a very unique feel and vibe to it. What made you decide to open up a comic book shop?

Jim: Well, I needed a job, but I didn’t want to go to work. I have to make some money, I have a few obligations, and it seemed like a fun way to go.

Eddie: What are some of the unique challenges to running a comic book shop?

Jim: There are a great many things. I think a lot of people are under the illusion that working for yourself or running your own business means that you’re not going to have to work as hard. I’ve been self employed most of my adult life, and in my experience, it’s the exact opposite. I’ve been working in excess of 80 hours a week for 35 years, it’s a lot of work, you really have to be willing and able to sacrifice everything to succeed, to risk everything you have. If you’re not willing to do that, well, clearly you are limiting your chances of making it.

Eddie: Speaking of challenges, how are digital comics affecting the Local Comics Shops? Are they having a positive or negative affect?

Jim: It’s difficult to say, I believe that all competition is a healthy thing, as long as it’s a “level playing field” so to speak. As long as everyone in the game has some sort of ethical standards. The reputation of any group is only as good as it’s worst member. As long as everybody has some kind of half decent moral ethics, then competition is a good thing I think, whether its another shop opening down the road, or whether it’s the Internet or what have you.

Eddie: So, you think that digital comics can be a healthy thing for the industry.

Jim: Sure, assuming they can get their comics in front of some new eyeballs, it’s good for everyone, yeah.

Eddie: Do you think that the recent Marvel and DC films, Iron man, Green Lantern, Avengers, etc, are bringing fresh blood into Comic book collecting?

Jim: I don’t think they hurt, but I am skeptical that any amount of advertising or promotion can convince anyone to take up reading or to like reading. I don’t know what it is that makes people enjoy reading as a pastime. Obviously, great numbers of society don’t want anything to do with reading, there are a great many people in America who view reading as a punishment or something of that nature.

What makes people like to read? I don’t know, but I think that if you could do it with advertising, we would see books advertised on TV. But, we really don’t, and certainly there are a great many book publishers in this land who could afford to. It’s obviously not cost affective to advertise in that way. You can convince people to switch Cola brands or smoke this brand of cigarette, or drink this brand of beer, but I don’t think it works for reading. I’ve never seen Steven King’s books advertised on television, or the newspaper. The only place I’ve seen them advertised is in other books.

Eddie: What to you think Comic book publishers can do to help the Local Comic Shops?

Jim: I think there is a long list of things they can do. I think the number one thing they could do, would be to provide a reliable schedule. I don’t know what the number one television show in  America is, but whatever it is, the people who are watching that show, they know what day it’s on, they know what channel it’s on, they have a reliable schedule.
 Our sign on the door says we opened at 10am today, I didn’t get here at 10:15. I had the door open at 10am  ready to do business. If you can’t do that as a business, your going to fail. I think these publishers take their scheduling rather haphazardly.

Eddie: Is it an issue of them not giving you solid ship dates, or are they not meeting the promised ship dates?

Jim: Well, late comics have plagued the industry for decades. When you are a comic book fan you put up with that stuff because you are in love. Where as if you are just a “civilian” so to speak, someone who saw or heard about an Avengers comic or what have you, and that person comes in and they buy one and they take it home read it, and they think ‘Wow that was great, I’d like to get more of these’, and that person comes in and they ask me ‘I want to by this book, when can I come back and give you the money and do that?’, I am unable to answer that question.

The idea that I can’t tell them that Buffy the Vampire slayer comes out on the first Wednesday of every month, or that Batman comes out on the second Wednesday of every month, the fact that I can’t do that for every one of these books is ludicrous. You are dealing with serial entertainment, and there needs to be a reliable schedule. We love what we are doing, but at the end of the day, we are running a business here. That is the most frustrating aspect of this business, I have people coming in saying ‘I want to give you my money, when can I do it?” and I am unable to answer that question. Pick a schedule and stick to it.

Eddie: Many comic book shops also carry other kinds of products, either just to generate more sales, or because the owner has a passion for that genre, whether it’s RPG games, toys, etc. What other products and services do you provide here at Cosmic Comics?

Jim: Well, our focus is Comic Books, though we do have some other items. We carry some T-shirts, toys, memorabilia, because there are people interested in those things and it’s nice to have something for everyone.

Eddie: What is the most rewarding aspect of owning a comic book shop?

Jim: There are a great many answers to that question, it’s hard to pick one. I would say that I like the idea of being a book seller. I like the idea of people reading. A society that likes to read in an educated society, and an educated society is a civil society. I like the idea of Civilized society.

Eddie: I love that answer. What message do you want send to everyone reading this, what do you want people to know about Cosmic Comics?

Jim: We like to have fun. I think that fun is the highest goal in life one can can strive for. I’m fairly certain that if you investigated all of the great people of history, the Einsteins, the Madame Curies, the Jonas Salks of the world, you’re going to find people doing what they liked, your going to find people having fun with their lives. All of the great progress of man has been made by people who were having fun and enjoying what they were doing with their lives, and so I think there is a good argument to made that fun is the highest calling. We’re trying to have fun.
I don’t think that the guy that cured polio, Jonas Salk, viewed what he did as drudgery, or punching a clock, I bet that guy enjoyed what he was doing, and that’s why he was doing it. I wish everyone in the world could do that, it seems like that would be the most ideal situation.

Eddie: Awesome Jim, I want to thank you again for your time!

Jim: No problem, thanks for stopping by!

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For those of you that want to know more, please feel free to stop by or call Jim Brocius at Cosmic Comics! You can also check out their website, “Like” them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

Cosmic Comics
Jim Brocius

3830 E. Flamingo blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Phone: 702-451-6611

Website: http://cosmiccomicslv.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CosmicComicsLV

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cosmiccomicslv

 

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