There’s this bloke I used to work with called Dave. (Actually, there are two, but the other one doesn’t warrant a mention right now because he’s not into comics. Plus I hate him. (That was a joke, Dave. You git.))
Anyway. The Dave in question recently launched a service called Kaboom Comics; an online comic store which stocks the latest releases from the big and small comic publishers. Given that I’m now branching out into this interviewing lark I decided to have a quick chat with the man and see what’s cracking down at Kaboom HQ.
Who are Kaboom Comics?
We’re two ordinary guys who love comics and all manner of other geeky things. We were sick and tired of being given little to no choice when buying comic books online. Our closest comic book shop was in Leeds, which was a bit of a pain to go to. Other than that, we could order off Forbidden Planet online but the experience wasn’t great when simply browsing.
How did you get started?
Coming from an online marketing background, we thought we could do things better than what is currently out there. So we’ve put our money where our mouth is and went ahead and set up Kaboom Comics. We like to think that our site is crisp, clean and easy to use, and laid out in such a way that no matter what you’re looking for, you can always find something else.
We think our customers agree, as we’ve had loads of people ordering a wide array of comics from different publishers! We also wanted a place for a community to flourish. We love hearing about the latest news from the comic book and wider film and TV worlds, and we want to bring this to Kaboom and generate discussions with our customers. We’ve got big plans on how we aim to expand this side of Kaboom, but more on that later!
What do you love about working at Kaboom Comics?
I love seeing all the great comic book artwork as it comes through the doors at Kaboom HQ. I’m a bit of a sucker for design so it’s great when we open those boxes and see fresh comic books laid there. It’s also pretty cool getting to sell something you love.
I also really enjoy everyone’s passion for comic books. Everyone thought they were going out of fashion, but they’re really making a comeback. But everyone who gets into them has a real passion, and to know that we’re helping people enjoy something they love is a really great feeling.
You stock a diverse mix of comics across different titles, genres and publishers. Do you find customers tend to gravitate towards books by the Big Two or is there a wider range of customer tastes?
This one shocked me quite a bit, because we see a real mix. Some of our best sellers have been from publishers such as IDW Publishing and Dark Horse, and that was always important for me from the outset. We want to give people the choice to read what they want. So we stock a wide range of comics across a lot of publishers, but we also allow people to request comics from us if they can’t find what they want. We want to help our customers as much as we can so it’s not just a buyer/ seller relationship.
What are the biggest challenges facing an online comic book store and how do you overcome them?
I think it’s difficult for online comic retailers sometimes because they are such a visual, tangible thing, and of course you can’t convey that online. That’s why we aim to put nice big pictures of covers on our product pages, so that you can really see the detail and get a feel for what it looks like. We’d also like to start putting previews of comics on our blog, as we think it would be great to give people that sneak peek.
Delivery can also be an issue, but we like to think we are competitively priced on delivery and we give people enough choice when it comes to type of delivery. All of our comics are sent in plastic protective sleeves to minimise damage in transit, and again this was something that was really important to us from the outset – to offer the best all-round service possible.
The comic book industry has never been so popular than right now. To what do you attribute this (ka)boom in demand? Are there any particular books or films which you think caused the explosion?
Nice pun, Vincent! I think comic books tell really great stories, despite what some people may say. They also cater for every demographic, which I think adds to their popularity. Maybe it started with the Batman films, but we can probably all forget about the early ones (*cough* George Clooney *cough* Bat Nipples *cough*). I think we owe Christopher Nolan a lot for the rise in popularity of comic books. Batman Begins really set the bar high in terms of the standard of superhero movies, and he carries that on in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
They’re pretty serious films though, so I think The Avengers has helped, and Guardians of the Galaxy really ramped it up. Man that film was great. There’s something for everyone in those films. It also went to show you don’t have to just make a film about the really famous guys. I bet a lot of people hadn’t heard of Guardians before the film, but we see a lot of Guardians comics go out the door now, and I’d expect that to continue this June with the release of Groot #1.
And its success shows, with DC rolling out films about some of their maybe lesser known characters in the next few years.
Where does comic book culture go from here? Can we really expect to see an Avengers film every four years for the next 25 or 30 years?
Again, this is a tough one. I’d like to think film makes won’t get complacent and roll out Avengers 53 – Thor’s Sex Change in 30 years’ time. That would be a crying shame because there are loads of great characters to explore. I think it would be great to see the girls kick a bit more ass as well, with comics like A-Force #1 being released I think we’re seeing a shift towards more female orientated books, and there’s some fantastic series such as Ms Marvel, Spider-Woman and Wonder Woman all being produced.
Personally I’d love more TV shows such as Daredevil to be released exploring more back stories. It was a great series and lets you get deeper into the story than a film. Finally I think we need some fresh blood when it comes to characters. We have these really talented people creating comics, so I think it’s time we came up with some new heroes!
What’s the future for Kaboom Comics?
We’ve got loads of exciting things planned. We really want to make the most of our blog, with previews, opinons and reviews all planned, as well as feature artists and bloggers to try and give something back to the community.
We’re going to have some competitions running as well to give away some cool clobber, and if you’re at some of the upcoming MCM ComicCons (we’ll be in Manchester first) then we’ll be milling about outside, so come say hello! There may even be a special offer in it for you. Some awesome Kaboom t-shirts will be coming soon as well!