On Business: FCBD 2015

By | Monday, May 04, 2015 Leave a Comment
FCBD haul
Rockhead's mascot
This year, on Free Comic Book Day, I found myself in Kenosha for the Wisconsin Marathon. (If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure you've seen me mention something about running marathons more than a couple times! I was about five minutes off my PR this weekend, in case you're interested.) Since I like checking out new-to-me comic shops and it was Free Comic Book Day, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to visit Rockhead's Comics & Games conveniently located about 15 minutes from the hotel we were at! I told my intention of visiting to The Wife beforehand and, having seen me after finishing a marathon, she just nodded and chuckled to herself. But after a good shower and a nap, I went to check out this shop.

I was initially surprised at the size; it was one of the larger shops I've visited and, despite having a wide selection of comics and games, they didn't crowd absolutely every nook and cranny with stuff. Everything seemed pretty reasonably spaced out and not-at-all crowded, even considering they had moved some stuff around to accomodate FCBD. The south side of the store focused primarily on comics, and the north side on games. There was also a open converted-garage type room that I gather is primarily used for table-top gaming sessions, but is evidently converted around as needed. Today it served as their FCBD promotion center, which I'll get to in a minute.

The comics portion of the shop featured a wall of new-ish books (past several months) segregated by publisher. New comics from this week were pulled off to another display. Although there were a few long boxes out with some sale items, that seemed to be just for the day; it looks as if back issues aren't featured much, if at all, in their day-to-day business. Another wall, instead featured a surprisingly tall set of shelves dedicated to trade collections, again segregated by publisher. This even included some manga, though that was clearly not a big focus for them. There were also a small collection of statues and action figures nearby, though, again, that didn't seem to be a large focus.

I only gave the games a cursory look-through, as that's not my bag, but it seemed to be similarly stocked and organized with more attention given to current materials and not historical/collectible ones.

The back area, as I noted was serving as the FCBD promotion center. It was a pretty large space -- I seriously think it was once used as a garage, but it had been nicely converted. There were several tables set up with the Free Comic Book Day offerings. They seemed to have nearly all of the Gold and Silver sponsor titles and, given how late in the day I visited, I would imagine the few that I didn't see had just been snatched up already. Their site had originally noted that each customer was only allowed taking three issues, but the owner mentioned that we could take five. (I assume because he mis-estimated on his supply/demand curve.)

They also had set up in that area a giant raffle. There were dozens of items available as prizes at, I think, three levels. The lowest level had relatively inexpensive prizes and the highest level had more expensive items. I didn't count but there seemed to be a couple dozen prizes at each level. They also were highlighting some custom woodburnt (woodburned?) keychains featuring various comic characters, and some knit hats modeled off characters' headgear.

Although I really dislike organizing comics by publisher, Rockhead seems like a good shop. They know that for FCBD to be effective, they have to go as all-in as they can afford. That the FCBD offerings were at the opposite end of the store from the for-sale comics was unfortunate, but I can understand why they have the shop laid out that way (with the gaming supplies close to where the gaming tables are normally set up) and there's only so much you can re-organize for a single day. But that they're willing/able to shift that back room around for special events is incredibly useful and a great bonus for them.

I didn't get a chance to discuss the full shop's history with anyone there, but it's a shop worth stopping in. They don't seem to have much direct competition nearby, but they're not letting that be a crutch against running a good shop.
Newer Post Older Post Home