Monday, September 19, 2011

Underground Comics - Random Thoughts...

Just wrote a little missive on Underground Comics (or Comix as a lot of them were called) over at Walkin' Willie's Comix Discount Books and you can read it here. Basically, I found a box of Underground Comix, have got them all up on eBay right now and this little piece is about some of what I found there as well as my first experiences with this forbidden slice of 1970's Americana. So please take a look if you are so inclined.....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

So Long and Good Luck to Dragon*Con!

Well, for anybody that has cruised by here over the last year knows that Walkin' Willie's Comix is pretty much getting out of trades and hardcovers (unless they are in a collection) so it is with mixed feelings that I say so long and the best of luck to the venerable Dragon*Con going on this weekend. Anyone that has ever attended Dragon*Con knows how special the show is - your truly has been to at least 16 or 17 of them.

The deal is that you really can't sell single issue comics very well at Dragon*Con anymore like you could in the early '90s when all the big dealers like Showcase New England, Motor City Comics, etc. would show up with all their shiny stuff. The show has morphed into a multi-media pop culture event in which comics is only one of something like 34 programming tracks. Dragon*Con gets pretty darn good comic book guests every year but very, few comic book dealers. I think I counted seven comic book dealers in the room last counting myself. But I digress....

I learned about five years ago that the only thing you can really count on selling at Dragon*Con is trades/graphic novels/hardcovers - well, comic-wise that is... And we did a boffo business doing just that the past few years. Thing is, Dragon*Con is only once a year and it is nearly impossible to sell trades online unless you find them in collections or Marvel Comics does one of their WAY too regular blowouts (after dealers have already paid full wholesale three months before..). Go to Amazon and check out the lists of trade paperbacks and graphic novels at HALF of wholesale price or LOWER. That's just not a place in which I chose to compete.. um, because I just can't and there are too many other more lucrative areas of comics to sell online anyway (CGC books, out of print hardcovers, discount books from collections, etc.).

Still, I miss the show - there is SO much going on and the attendees are so creative in their costumes. But I sure don't miss the setup or the tear down or closing at 7:00 p.m. each day. Heck, by the time you got back to the hotel after securing your booth, counted your money and took a shower, it was nearly 9:00.

So as far as dealin' at Dragon*Con, I can't see that happening ever again unless I run into the trade paperback collection of all time. One of these days I'm gonna go down there as just a fan.... yeah, I'll show 'em.

Finally, thanks to all the wonderful folks that stopped by the booth over the years - you are what makes Dragon*Con so special.

Anyway, got a nice little batch of comics going on eBay next Sunday (9/11/2011) and some more of the CGC stuff, Marvel Premiere Classic Variants and Marvel Masterwork Trade Paperback Variants going up tomorrow night (9/4/2011). Will talk about next Sunday's eBay stuff at the beginning of the week - it's worth a blog article for sure.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Classic ASP And Internet Explorer 9 Need To Learn To Play Nice!

Well if any of you folks have tried to buy a lousy comic off of our discount site at the last couple of weeks, you have probably run into VERY SLOOOOOOW page loading times.

After much teeth gnashing and head beating, I found a forum post where some other poor, hapless soul was experiencing the same problem.

The bottom line is that if you update your Windows 2008 server with IE9, the new browser drops a new VB Script dll (i.e. program) that confuses the heck out of Classic ASP when it has to fetch some data from your database and our site ain't nuthin' BUT fetching data. We were experiencing 22 second page load times - look, 22 seconds may not sound like a lot of time but when you are waiting for a page to load, it's like being in 3rd grade and waiting for 3:00 to roll around - it's a freakin' eternity!!!!! is good but this poor ol' comic dealer sure wishes you would take your peepers over to Walkin' Willie's Comix Discount Books and buy about a 100 books.... sure would cheer me up......

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ok...Need To Rev Up The Facebook Traffic....

As in my last post, I mentioned that Walkin' Willie's Comix has a new Facebook Page. Maybe it was some deep rooted narcissistic persona that made me think that multitudes would come - nay, RUN - over to Ol' Willie's latest foray into the Wild World Web. Alas it wasn't to be..... probably because you have to OFFER something to get something back...

So humbly, Ol' Willie is tying the proverbial steak around his neck to get the, internet patrons... to play with him. So if you do "Like" the page, you will have access to 20% DISCOUNT COUPONS for both the (CGC and specialty trades/hardcovers) and (deeply discounted comic books) websites! Coupon codes will be updated monthly so come back often and check us out.

By the way, remember when I said not to shop at Well, forget what I said as inventory is totally up-to-date now (always was at - there isn't a ton of merchandise there but a lot of CGC books and a few specialty trades and hardcovers. More to come!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Odds And Ends.....

Just a few musings about stuff. Charlotte ComiCon was fantastic! Went there with around 45 short boxes of trades and six long boxes of mostly bronze age stuff and came back with nuttin'! Not one stinkin' trade, hardcover or comic to be found in my car on the way back. Thing is, we made decent money as well. The sad news - at least for me - is that is the last con for Ol' Willie will set up at for quite awhile - probably 2 years or so. The next show I go to will be to BUY some books - will take my time and build the collection up.

In the meantime, I am busy trying to scale down and I'm eBaying just about everything I can lay my hands on at the warehouse. Came across a 1994 Chicagoland Enviromint Carolina Panthers Pure Silver Coin that I had forgotten I had bought back when the Panther's franchise first started. So what the heck - up it goes on eBay. More weird stuff to follow....

The big little deal is that Walkin' Willie's Comix is now on Facebook! I've done the personal Facebook deal for awhile but now it is time - well, WAY past time - to do a little marketing Facebook style. Great place to throw out short bursts that have a little more meat on the bone than Twitter. So if you read this, check out my page and if you "like" the page, that would be great (and thanks in advance...).

More to come....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walkin' Willie's Last Picture Show? Say It Ain't So!

Well, OK - it ain't.... but this Sunday's Charlotte ComiCon will be my last comic convention as a dealer for probably two years or more. If you have read any of my recent blog articles, you know that Walkin' Willie's Comix is getting out of the trade paperback and hardcover business.

Why? It is just too hard to compete with Amazon. Need an example, then just check out The Walking Dead Volume 13 over there - sellers are pitching that for less than half price and if you include Amazon's super high selling fees, those dealers had to get that book at nearly 60% off to make anything at all! If I had a Dragon*Con to go to every month, it would be one thing but with the margin pressure from Amazon, it's time to go in a different direction. I am quietly building a vintage comic collection and will be back on the show circuit in about two years. Instead of schlepping 100+ short boxes full of trades, gridwire, extra tables, wood bookcases (big ones...) and all kinds of supplies, I'll be down to 20 or so mag boxes of comics along with a modest display - set up and break down in under an hour!

But I digress.... the big deal for you, the comic fan is that Ol' Willie will be blowing out all trades and hardcovers at this week's show at 80% off of the retail price printed on the book (i.e. the price located within or close to the barcode area). I'm bringing 45 boxes of this stuff and will probably auction or blow out the rest of it to another dealer at the end of the show. Bring lots o' cash as no cards will be taken with discounts THIS big.

After 20 years of doing shows, the only thing I will miss are the fans and the dealers - it's been a lot of fun but I won't miss load up, set up, break down and load out AT ALL!

Thanks to all the fans who have supported Walkin' Willie's Comix through the years - couldn't have done this as long as I have without your support. But enough of all this sentimental crap - go to your nearest ATM, draw out as much cash as the bank will allow and come on down to Charlotte, NC this weekend and burn Ol' Willie a new one!

Monday, July 25, 2011

What a Story at The Virginia Vintage Comics Show!

I really had another topic that I wanted to get into but will save that for Wednesday (BIG announcement....). The Virginia Vintage Comics show was another success for yours truly and many thanks go out to Roger Mannon for running another great show.

That isn't the real story at all - not by a long shot. I just got in the building and hadn't unloaded a single book when I saw a record album up on Roger Mannon's display board. It wasn't an album that I had ever seen before so I went to get a closer look. As I was holding the record and checking it out, another dealer, Banks Robinson said that I was holding a $700 dollar album in my hands. My eyes certainly went wide on that little piece of information so I had to look at it closer (You can see a larger version of the album cover by clicking on the thumbnail at left - sorry for the reflection but this lil' gem was still in its original shrinkwrap!). Immediately, I saw that Roger himself was the young fellow on the far right. The band's name was Virgil Caine - named after the confederate soldier made famous by the song "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down"

The ever-so-humble Mr. Mannon said that I could get the whole story from some other guy across the room but I stayed put until he told me a little bit about it. Turns out that Roger and his two friends recorded the album in 1971 on a back porch using a Sears reel-to-reel tape recorder. Roger explained that he didn't understand it but there are small pockets of underground folk fans that really like the album. He showed me a webpage printout that showed that the album sold in an auction on eBay for $699 dollars! WOW!

Roger explained that a guy called him up and offered $10 for 10 copies - Roger said sure as he had a few copies around the house and was surprised that anybody wanted them, much less 10 copies. The guy called up a few weeks later and said that he would pay $40 for any copy left - that gave Roger a reason to pause. Roger said that the sound quality was not good and that one track on the album, "The Great Lunar Oil Strike, 1976" was the track that people seemed to like the most. Roger indicated that their might be a re-release of the album some day.

So far, I have been able to listen to the first two tracks of the album and while it is not professional studio quality, it is ANYTHING but bad sound quality. This band was talented and I can readily understand how fans are still clamoring for a re-release. I hope that the band will get it digitally remastered and get it on a site like CD Baby or some MP3 site where they can get some royalties for this Blue Ridge Mountain 1970's classic. Me? I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the album tonight!

You just never know what stories people have created in their lifetimes....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Next Up: Virginia Vintage Comics Show

Ol' Walkin' Willie continues the trade paperback and hardcover blowout this weekend at the 14th annual Virginia Vintage Comics Show on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the Salem Civic Center. Show promoter Roger Mannon has pulled out all the stops with TV and newspapaper ads as well as giving out gas cards in a drawing for some lucky winners! Check out some of Roger's Facebook posts about the show!

We're bringing 50 boxes of trades and hardcovers and blowing them out to YOU, the customer at a whoppin' 70% OFF OF RETAIL!

The show starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs to 5:00 p.m. - This show has a great dealer mix from mega-expensive to mega-INexpensive in one of the best locations on the east coast - nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley with the Blue Ridge Mountains on all sides - heck, I'm looking forward to the drive up there! So come on out!

If those comic-hungry Southwest Virginia fans don't gobble up everything, I will be bringing the rest of the trades and hardcovers to next weeks Charlotte ComiCon in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fanaticon 2 This SATURDAY!

This Saturday, 5/21/2011, is the second edition of the wildly popular Fanaticon - or Fanaticon2. Last year's inaugural event drew over 3500 attendees! When you consider that a very well attended one day comic show in the carolinas is benchmarked at around 500 people, then last year's Fanaticon was off the charts! And admission is FREE! That's right, it cost's nuthin' to get in the door but we hope you will come off the hip and buy some stuff!

Like last year, convention promoter Chance Whitmire has tirelessly promoted this year's event and there is a TON of stuff to see and do. Even though the show is officially on Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., there is the movie and trivia night on Thursday and a Party night on Friday night as well as a party after the show on Saturday night! Makes me wish I was still young (well I'm not as good as I once was but I'm still good once as I ever was....) but I still might show these young'uns a thing or two.

Now for the REALLY good stuff....

Like we said in the last post, we are getting out of the trade business and the big winner in all of this is YOU, the comic book fan, as we are blowing out the trades and hardcovers at 60% off! But you can do better than that - how about 70% off the list price (the price on the back of the book near the ISBN barcode)! You can do exactly that by bringing the coupon below to this Saturday's Fanaticon2

So print the coupon below, get lots o' cash out of the ATM (because we ain't takin' cards on this type of deal) and go tear Willie a new one! Limit one coupon per customer - but remember, good for ANY size purchase and ONLY at Fanaticon2. Hope to see you there!

Don't Buy Trades From Walkin' Willie's Comix!

What in the heck is going on here! Willie, shut up!

Now that I have your attention.... What I meant to say was: Don't buy trades or hardcovers from Walkin' Willie's Comix website.....but please buy from ol' Willie during convention season this year.

The reason for the above is that Walkin' Willie's Comix is getting out of the trade and hardcover business. Wny? Well, we just can't compete on price anymore - that's the main reason. When customers are coming up to your booth at conventions with an Amazon
list of trade prices that are at 50% of retail - or lower... - you get the idea pretty quickly that you just can't compete against that sort of volume. But let's look at an example - take The Walking Dead Volume 13 trade paperback that was released last November at a list price of $14.99 can now be had on Amazon - brand new mind you - for a measly $4.95 at the time of this blog entry! Well, my Diamond Comic Distributor discount was 50% so if we sold them for $4.95, we would be losing $2.55 per book - you just won't stay in business making that deal each week.

Any comic dealer selling new merchandise will tell you that the worst deal they make every week is their shipment from Diamond because if you don't get an immediate sell through, your margins aren't squat. Now if you are a brick and mortar comic book retailer, you can use your weekly shipments as loss leaders as the really nice margins for comic book retailers comes from buying collections and piecing them out for sale.

So....if I were you, I would not buy from Walkin' Willie's Comix unless it was a CGC book where the inventory is smaller but iron tight. We will soon be taking all of the trades of the website.

The good news is that you can get some really good deals from us at the one-day comic shows around North Carolina as we are blowing out the trades and hardcovers. First up is this weeks Fanaticon in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC - more on that very, very shortly.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Charlotte ComiCon This SUNDAY!

I probably should have blogged about this awhile back instead of waiting two days before the show. Anyway, the venerable Charlotte ComiCon is back for its first of three 2011 shows (the other two are on July 31st and December 18th) at the Charlotte Crown Plaza Hotel in uptown Charlotte, NC. Show hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Charlotte ComiCon is one of the very best one-day shows in the Southeast U.S.A. and do in no small part to the tireless efforts of Dave Hinson and Rick Fortenberry to grow the show over years.

Anyway, ol' Walkin' Willie will be there and will be BLOWING OUT trade paperbacks and graphic novels....and not the crap stuff either - we are talking main stream stuff and not the Diamond Comic blowout junk. Willie is gettin' out of the trade business to concentrate on a super secret website AND much older books. Just too much grunt labor and low margins to stay in the business - the subject of another forthcoming blog article...but I digress.

Well...the winner in this situation is YOU, the comic book fan, as Willie is discounting ALL of his merchandise to 60% OFF Retail....and "Retail" is not some made up number but the actual retail price that is normally located near the barcode on the back of trades and hardcovers. Yep, 60% OFF is what the normal shmuck customer... on the street will get but for any of you clever types that are reading this can clip the coupon below and get 70% OFF RETAIL for any size purchase. Whether you buy one book or 20, you get 70% OFF RETAIL! That means a $20 trade is a measly SIX BUCKS!!!!

So print the coupon below, get lots o' cash out of the ATM (because we ain't takin' cards on this type of deal) and go tear Willie a new one! Limit one coupon per customer - but remember, good for ANY size purchase and ONLY at Charlotte ComiCon.