David M. Wheeler is the owner of comic store, Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy in Austin and San Antonio in Texas, and lives over the border in New Mexico. The kind of area that has quite a few Hastings locations. One of which recently underwent the comic store makeover that Bleeding Cool initially reported last month.
And he writes for Bleeding Cool about stepping through the doors when the comics had landed.
I now live in Rio Rancho NM and have been curious about how Hastings is going to bring comics into their stores. I live about a mile away from a local Hastings and have been stopping by on a weekly basis to see when they would begin to receive their comics.
When I visited this last Thursday they had finally arrived and a couple of employees were arranging their books.
This Hastings has about sixteen feet dedicated to comics. One side of the four part display (4 feet each section) has bagged new comics. They have space for 130 comics front faced and they alphabetized them top to bottom, that is to say that Adventure Comics is over Amazing Spider-man and next to (for example) Batman. All sorts of comics are mixed together. All ages comics are (at least potentially) very close to mature titles. I did mention that the employees might want to check out “Boys” and they mentioned that they had pulled a title called “Snuff” for concerns about the content. They also mentioned that they had some similar difficulties with manga titles that they carry because of their own ignorance about their content.
The other side of the fixture is dedicated to back issues. The top section has books alphabetized front to back. Underneath these are drawers that have back issues running left to right in two rows. The back issues are mediocre common books. Some of these books are Marvel and DCs, but I saw a number of Comico Titles as well as Epic Comics, etc.
There was also an endcap with a few front faced comics and the Overstreet Price Guide.
If Hastings carries many graphic novels, they do not stock them near their comics. I did not find any graphic novels any other places either.
The employees were friendly and happy in a general way about having comics but not very knowledgable.
My initial thought is that Hastings having these books will be good for the industry in general. Hastings still has a large clientel who visit them for videos, books and music. If these customers are exposed to comics on a regular basis some of them will be interested and I think those with more than a small interest are likely to move to a full line comic store over time for the greater offerings and experience of the shop owners.
My main concern about Hastings remains their long term commitment to the industry. If they decide to default to Diamond en masse they could hurt the industry much more than any single store, or even chain of stores, could. I hope that Diamond will keep an eye on their receivables and make sure that Hastings remains current. I don’t have any reason to expect Hastings will do poorly or default.
I would welcome other reports from other Hastings locations.