Sunday, December 28, 2014

Snippets #24: December 7, 1984

       This is from a December 7, 1984 letter to Mom and Pop:

       "I finally got our second car -- the Hornet -- completely street legal by bringing it to Winsted and passing the emissions test (no, I didn't pass it, the car did). Or course, it cost me $70 in tune-up work to get it to pass, but what's money, right? It is a load off my mind, though. Because I was only eight miles away, I boogied down to Torrington and stopped in at the comic store, where I sold 100 copies of TMNT #2 to Jack, the owner. He's probably going to buy another 100 for himself and 300 for some dealer friends of his next week, when (I hope!) they will be ready. He also said that when he gets them, he will make a big display of them in his window where he usually displays the comics he's gotten in that week.
       I had high hopes that the book would be ready by today, but I think it will probably be next week sometime. You know what it's like with printers… they say two weeks and mean three. I stopped in at the printer's yesterday, to get the acetate overlay (which has the book's title and logo on it) so I could make copies of the cover to TMNT #4 (which I just finished drawing) to send to Kevin, and I talked for about a minute with our man Chuck Bradley. He seemed pretty frazzled; apparently they are backed up with work until January. He's not a real easy guy to talk with anyway. He's definitely not as friendly nor as interested as Ken Keller (our former printer in Dover) was. I just hope he does a good job on the cover and binding.
       We've run into a little problem with TMNT #2; namely, inadvertently overselling ourselves! I counted wrong, and we're going to end up shorting our last order by 1100 copies (he ordered 1600). I'm going to try to sell him five hundred copies if he wants them, and I wrote him a letter to that effect. That will leave us with about 400 copes for our archives, where originally I had planned to save 1000. I also wrote to Bud Plant, Seagate, and Westfield Comics (all of whom said they wanted lots of copies) and told them they were not getting any. I feel like a schmuck. but what can I do? I mean, we just don't have the numbers of copies that we would need to satisfy all these guys. Anyway, if they don't feel obligated to get their purchase orders to me tres vite (that's French for very fast), then the heck with them. Tom Flynn of Capital sent his order right after I talked with him on the phone Monday night -- I got it Tuesday afternoon, delivered to the house by Federal Express!" 

       [The comic book store in Torrington which was mentioned in the first paragraph had perhaps the greatest name of any comic book store ever: "My Mother Threw Mine Away". I think I wrote about this place in another blog entry. Kevin and I made regular trips down to Torrington to go to this store and get our weekly fix of new comics.
       A few years ago, while motorcycling down in Connecticut, I discovered that "My Mother Threw Mine Away" had not gone out of business, but migrated to another town. I stopped in and discovered that the same guy, Jack, was still running the store.

       I don't remember all of the details of the numbers snafu referred to in the last paragraph, but I do recall that it was awkward and embarrassing. I can only say that we were still learning the business. There was no Internet for instantaneous communication and attendant records of such (i.e. email), and sometimes -- even with the best of intentions -- things fell through the proverbial cracks. This was, remember, back when we were not only writing and drawing the books, but also hand-counting and packing all of the copies of each issue, then shipping them out in smallish cartons via UPS... which took a WHOLE lot of time and effort.

       If memory serves, even though a few of the distributors did not get exactly what they first wanted, we made it up to them on the next book or next printing with some kind of special deals. Again, I don't remember exactly what happened, so I could be misremembering that too.

       In any event, it was a momentary blip, and as we learned more about how to run a self-publishing company, things kept getting smoother.

       Looking at today's date and the date this letter was written, I just realized that they are separated by almost exactly thirty years. -- PL]

No comments:

Post a Comment