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    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    If only I were a superhero

    Once, a great deal of my reading entertainment came from comic books. I've even kept some of them, though my collection is much less than it once used to be. I once subscribed to 5 or 10 titles a month. Ah, those halcyon days of disposable income...

    These days most people I know can't afford to finance any sort of comic book habit,
    though right now is a great time to buy those rare few you've always wanted. Or get a graphic novel or five of a series you liked.

    Why now, you may ask? Has some world event caused the bottom to drop out of the superhero business? Yes, there was a catastrophe, but on a local scale. Like a few miles from me.

    Mile High Comics has suffered an unimaginable amount of water damage to one of their warehouses, and to raise some quick money, the owner is having a huge online sale. If only I were a superhero, I could have saved them, just in time.

    I know it's a tough time with gas being $4 a gallon, but I'm sure going to invest the equivalent of a few gallons of gas to try and help these guys recover. Comics delivered to my door also means I don't have to drive anywhere for my entertainment that evening! Plus, it's just a super thing to do.

    On with the details:

    Emergency FLOODHELP Comics Sale Begins Today!


    I received one of those phone calls yesterday. The kind we all dread, where the news from the other end of the line is all bad. The details are still very sketchy, but the general situation is that a very large water main broke underneath our Thornton, Colorado Mega-Store. The resulting jet of water that burst up through our concrete floor was so powerful that it has been reported to me that it spewed water and mud to a depth of 18 inches throughout the store. Considering that our Thornton Megastore, at 11,000 square feet, is (or was...) the largest comics store in the country, the amount of water that must have been involved was just mind-numbing. It supposedly took the fire department over eight hours to finally pump the water levels down enough in our store to allow the damage control experts to begin the process of cleaning up.

    At this point, I have no way of really knowing how much was destroyed. I'm still here in New York, so I have only my imagination as a guide. I do know, however, that the Thornton store contains over sixty 6' high showcases (at an original cost of $1,100 each), 50 shorter cases (at $500 each) as well as another 150 comics bins, new comics racks, and bookcases (average $400 each). All of those fixtures had bases made from particle board, which swells massively when made wet, and then disintegrates into flakes as it dries. As regards to merchandise, the Thornton store contained hundreds of thousands of dollars of retail value in comics, trade paperbacks and hardbacks, toys, collectible cards, posters, and portfolios. How much of that inventory will be salvageable is strictly dependent upon how high the water actually rose, and as to whether the resulting moisture migrated above that level via condensation. With most of our better comics stored well above the ground and protected within plastic sleeves I think that we'll be OK in that regard, but the 100,000+ comics and books which we had displayed at, or near, ground level will be a total loss. Suffice it to say, I just took a savage financial hit. Insurance will cover some of my loss, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that I'll eventually receive only a small percentage of the value of what was destroyed. Sigh...

    A couple of quick points about what just happened. First, we have already located a small replacement store in Thornton. William Murakami, our ever-adroit Operations Vice President, is already making arrangements to reopen the Thornton store early next week in this new location, which is only a couple of blocks from the old. Second, I do want to emphasize that the Thornton store contained very little merchandise that was being offered via our online website. Our website inventory is stored primarily in our four warehouses, so our online operations are not going to be disrupted in any way by this disaster. That having been said, it is now very doubtful that I will be attending next weekend's conventions in Knoxville or Richmond. I am still going to try and attend Sheldon Drum's wonderful Charlotte convention (Heroes Con) in two weekends, but that trip is now completely dependent upon my being able to get the flood situation in hand in Thornton. Aside from salvaging what we can from the store and setting up a new one, I also have to dispose of many tons of wet comics and unsalvageable fixtures. Not a fun prospect, at all.

    While cleaning up will be my #1 task upon my return, I am also aware that this disaster is also going to negatively affect our cash flow. While we will be able to quickly reopen our Thornton store for our regular customers to pick up their new comics, it is inevitable that losing our biggest store will also cause our cash flow to take a big hit. Knowing that we will eventually receive an insurance settlement provides some solace, but that process can frequently be a very drawn-out process, requiring months of negotiations. In the meantime, there will be many bills to be paid, most of them directly out of my pocket. That being the case, I really have no choice but to ask all of you to please help. Effective immediately, I am initiating a 25% off FLOODHELP codeword sale. Putting this sale into effect genuinely pains me, as it will mean that even our very best comics will end up being sold a net 62% off, with almost everything else on our website ending up being available to you at 66%-85% off. Under normal circumstances, I would never chop our online prices this wildly, as I can assure you that these discounts are completely non-sustainable. This is one of those rare instances, however, where I suddenly finding myself reeling from this unexpected financial blow, and am left with few options. If you have been saving up to buy a particularly nice back issue comic or magazine from our website, your placing an order today using the FLOODHELP codeword would not only help us a great deal in dealing with this temporary setback, but would also be of great benefit to you. Our online inventory is now the very best that it has ever been in our entire history, so providing you with a minimum 62% off discount is a golden opportunity for you to build your collection at prices you may never see from us ever again.

    A couple of quick points about the 25% off FLOODHELP sale: First, the discount can be used on any of our back issue comics and magazines except for the Dallas Stephens consignment issues, and newer issues published within the past 90 days. The FLOODHELP codeword cannot apply to trade paperbacks or hardbacks, but those items can be included in any order to reach the free shipping minimums (which is calculated after ALL discounts are applied!) of $50 to addresses in the USA, and $125 to International destinations (no express carriers). Second, you cannot use the FREECOMICS codeword at the same time as you use the FLOODHELP. Our computer is only programmed to handle one codeword at a time, so it is either one, or the other, but not both. Third, the 25% FLOODHELP codeword is IN ADDITION to any discounts already appearing on our website. That's why all of our 50% off comics (which are usually our last copies of any given issue) are now a net 62% off after the FLOODHELP codeword is applied, with all the rest of the back issues we offer now a net 66%-85% off. My final point about this FLOODHELP sale is that I also have to ask you to be patient about shipping during the next couple of weeks, as I have a feeling that our shipping is going to be a bit delayed. We were almost completely current on shipping going into Saturday, but this upcoming week is inevitably going to be tumultuous. Suffice it to say, I am genuinely dreading getting on that airplane to home tomorrow afternoon...

    In closing, I would say that any help that you might be able to provide me during this upcoming week would be most appreciated. This flood is one of those temporary setbacks that are inevitable in life, but which can also be quite painful in the short term. If you can help me get back on my feet from this unexpected blow, I promise you that I will work even harder in the future to provide you the very best deals on great comics that I possibly can.


    Chuck Rozanski,
    President - Mile High Comics, Inc.

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