Comic Shop Owners Helping One Another Amid Pandemic Struggles

 

The Greenfield Recorder in Massachussettes spoke of a couple who’d bought into a comics store a short time ago, and were forced to close shortly after lockdown restrictions were imposed, who’re hoping they’ll be able to open again now:

 

Nishon Morgan and his wife, Katy, had experienced just 10 days as co-owners of their new shop, His and Hers Comics on Bank Row in Greenfield, before Gov. Charlie Baker’s order restricting nonessential businesses to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to close in March.

The Morgans are among a number of new business owners in Franklin County who saw their dreams dashed shortly after opening. Now, they’re hoping they can unlock their doors again on May 18, when Baker’s nonessential business restrictions are currently set to lift — unless there is another extension.

“Who knows when the governor will let nonessential businesses reopen?” Nishon Morgan asked.

While comic books stores across the country have been closed, Diamond Comic Distributors stopped shipping new books to stores knowing they had no customers. The distribution company intends to begin shipping again May 20, though this could change. Morgan said if they are allowed to ship, but he still can’t open, he will accept their delivery so books are in stock when customers can return.

“We were limiting to six customers at a time when restrictions were 25 people at a time, wiping down doors and counters after each customer, and using hand sanitizer before we closed, and we expect to do at least that when we reopen,” Morgan said. “We’re waiting to see what else the governor will require from us and hope we can afford and acquire what may be needed.”

I hope they can get their business back on track too. Interestingly enough, these managers ran an art contest, and it says here:

 

In the meantime, the store is accepting submissions for its first Comic Book Art Contest. Entries must be family friendly and not include nudity, and while horror genre drawings are accepted, they must not include gore.

Well I’m glad they recognize that graphic violence is a most repellent thing, and could easily be the downfall of entertainment if double-standards on sex are allowed to continue by contrast. The whole mentality of “sex = worse than violence” cannot be put up with anymore.

 

Here’s another, more recent followup report telling they got a donation of longboxes from a store manager who’d run a business earlier:

 

You could say His and Hers Comics has received some comic relief in the form of a donation of roughly 10,000 comic books, courtesy of a former Greenfield comic book store owner and local resident.

The books were donated by Alan Morgan, former owner of the “original” Greenfield comic book store, Comic Relief. Nishon Morgan, who co-owns His and Hers Comics with his wife, Katy, and who is not related to Alan Morgan, said the store is ineligible for relief programs available to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he considers the act of kindness a huge help.

“I was shocked,” Nishon Morgan said of the donation. “We’re very grateful for Alan.” […]

The donated books are the entirety of the 1988 closing inventory from Comic Relief. The store was open from 1984 to 1988 in the space between the Garden Cinemas and Brad’s Place. Alan Morgan said he packed up the inventory when Comic Relief closed, and brought it home with the expectation of selling it whole at some point.

“Then along came eBay and the collapse of back issue prices,” he explained. “Offers kept getting lower and lower. The latest offer was $20 per box. A sad condition for all that creativity and art.”

But that’s not why they should be bought. It’s for the reading value they should be, and amazingly, the point is made here:

 

While there are not many “investor” books, Nishon Morgan said fans who like to read and appreciate art — which he said is “the real purpose of comics” — will find some great books in the collection. He recognized a lot of the titles in the inventory from when he had his first store, Super Soup Comics, which was open from 1986 to 1994 in Bennington, Vt.

“These comics are probably going to be older than most of his customers,” Alan Morgan said. “The books will encourage them to reach back in time. They will show the continuity of comics over time and help them realize there are other things beside just superheroes.”

 

Now that’s something I’m glad to read. It’s for the entertainment – and educational – value that one should buy comics for, not in hopes they’ll become monetarily valuable someday, which seems less likely if sales offers on used markets and eBay say something. One more reason why a change must not only be made to the formats, but there’s a lot of older stuff out there that, if it’s good and hasn’t been archived yet, it should be. The erstwhile store manager’s set a positive example here.

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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