This week’s Q & A is with Pat Thompson of 8th Street Books and Comics in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Pat also hosts Comic Chat with Theo and Pat heard on CFCR radio, FM 90.5, Friday at 6 and Monday at 6:30p.m.
My thanks to Pat for taking time out to answer these questions.
Q. What is the general age/gender breakdown of your customers?
I have a full range of ages but the largest demographic is the 18-25
Q.What do you sell more of by volume, graphic novels (including trades and manga) or monthly comic books?
Monthly comic books by far but the dollar value is close.
Q.What are your bestselling non-manga graphic novels?
Watchmen, 300 (once the movie was announced), V for Vendetta, Kingdom
Come, Ultimate Spider-man (all), Bone (all), Batman: Dark Knight
Returns, Batman: Long Hallowe’en, Batman:Dark Victory, Sin City (all)
Q. What are your bestselling non-superhero graphic novels?
Bone, Sin City, Archie Americana, Sandman, 300, V for Vendetta,
Books of Magic (the original), Star Wars any, Elfquest, Hardy
Q. What do you see as the major trends in graphic novels and comics retailing over the next year? The next 5 years?
I have expected for a long time that the big companies would switch
focus from monthlies to GN’s but that hasn’t happened. I hope/expect
more European stuff to start arriving in TPB form.
Q. What comics do you find yourself recommending the most?
I recommend many titles. Whenever a new customer comes in and asks about comics I find out what they are most interested in and then recommend with that in mind. No sense trying to sell Girls to a super hero fan.
Q. What are your favourite comics?
No favourites. I really enjoy anything well-written. Okay, maybe not manga for the most part and I do pick up super hero stuff first but I do read True Story Swear to God and Strangers in Paradise every month the same way I read Amazing Spider-man.
Q. Why are you a comics retailer?
I actually accidentally fell into this job. I really enjoy retail work and I’m a big fan of comics. It is what I want to do for a living and it is as close to having a hobby as I come.
Q. What bothers you the most about the current comics industry?
Hollywood having the rights to play with comic book characters and
change the characters to fit what some fool thinks is the best choice
for some fictional demographic. And that isn’t even in the industry but
it is a significant driving force for getting new and lapsed readers
into the stores and these arbitrary changes don’t make selling our
product any easier. In the industry I would have to say my largest
bother would be how Marvel treats retailers.
Q.The Can-Con question.
I guess the most prominent of the Canadian comics (consider Canadian as
any comic that has a Canadian involved in the creative process) is Zemo
by Tom Grummett. Not because it sells really high numbers but because
Tom is Saskatoon’s most published comic artist. Pat Davidson who is a
rising star at Marvel in the inking department has quite a few books on
the shelves here at the store. Check his work in Cable Deadpool and in
the upcoming Marvel version of Treasure Island . Expat Kaare Andrews
(He lives in Vancouver — I think he moved to escape the weather) just
wrapped up the amazing Dark-Knight-esque Spider-man reign. Even though he has
never lived in Saskatoon, Calgary’s Cary Nord is doing amazing work on
Conan. There are of course many great Canadian artists and writers out
there and I don’t have the knowledge and time to list them all here.
Locally we have some self-published comics that are worth the read.
Unfortunately the production has fallen off lately. Huw Evans and his
sons put out one issue of Tri-focal. Hopefully more to come. Lucas
Bradford has moved to Victoria so no more copies of brain pain have hit
my shelves in the last few months. Elaine Will has been concentrating
on art school so she hasn’t put out anything new in way too long. Jesse
McGibney and Adam Kirk are both in school at Sheridan College in
Ontario so nothing from them until their work load is reduced.
I’m out of time. Comics are here and I’m one staff short. I love
Q. Any upcoming events/signings/sales?
Just had a big sale for my file customers last Friday evening. Big
signings for FCBD. Every Wednesday is a big event. We call it new comic
8th Street Books & Comics
1010 8th Street East
phone: (306) 343-6624