Consider Anderson’s Bookshop. You could raise it from its foundations in downtown Naperville, put it on a large flatbed truck and ever-so-carefully move the whole kit and caboodle 38 miles to Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, but it wouldn’t work. A store that was perfect in its snug suburban location would be jarringly wrong next door to the University of Chicago.
A great bookstore fits its community. It molds itself to the needs of the people it serves, whether they’re from a particular geographic area, such as the North Shore residents who patronize the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, or they’re interested in a certain subject, such as the architecture fans who shop the Prairie Avenue Bookshop in the Loop.
It also needs, of course, to have a wide selection of books and other printed material, and a knowledgeable, helpful staff, and a setting that’s inviting and comfortable.
But the real test is how well it serves its community. And that’s the most important measure Tempo used in selecting Chicago’s 10 best bookstores, listed below in alphabetical order.
Our emphasis on community is the reason there are no chain stores on our list. By their nature, chains are designed on the one-size-fits-all model. A Borders in the Uptown neighborhood is going to be very much like one in Oklahoma City or Tallahassee.
Few chain store managers are able to tell the sort of story that Jack Cella, the general manager at the Seminary Co-op in Hyde Park, relates:
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, an astrophysicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1983, was a longtime, regular customer and would often strike up a conversation with Cella about physics and literature. After Chandrasekhar died in 1995, Cella says, “his widow came in, and said that, in his will, he wanted his ashes scattered at five places.”
The bookstore’s lawn was one of them, and you can find more in this site mightycon.com
Led by the likes of Batman and Superman, DC Comics had the best-selling comic book in all of 2011. Yet rival Marvel Comics— with its roster including Captain America, Iron Man and Thor — showed its superpowers as well, lengthening its reign as the top publisher in the industry.
Justice League No. 1, with its A-list team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee, kicked off DC’s ambitious “New 52″ relaunch in the fall and sold more copies than any other single comic during the year, according to Diamond Comic Distributors.
“New 52″ issues dominated the pack, with 19 of the top 25 comics of 2011. Three Justice League, two Batman and two Action Comics issues cracked the top 10, which had only one Marvel title: Ultimate Comics Spiderman No. 160, which featured the demise of the Ultimate Universe’s Peter Parker.
However, Marvel continued its stranglehold in the past decade of year-to-year dollar and unit market shares, even with strong DC sales from September to December. Faring well with the death of Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four issue 587 and the first issue of its Fear Itself event series, Marvel had a 37% dollar market share and 41% unit market share in 2011, compared to 31% and 37% for DC, the No. 2 publisher.
According to mightycon.com, as of last month the company has sold more than 361,000 copies of Justice League No. 1 and more than 250,000 each of the first issues of Scott Snyder’s Batman series and Grant Morrison’s Superman-centric Action Comics since September.
There was good news for the comic-book industry as a whole, too. Boosted by a slew of popular Marvel titles and renewed interest in DC’s relaunch, annual single-issue sales to the specialty market increased in 2011, up 1.2% from 2010 figures, although graphic novel sales dipped 5% from the previous year.
Image Comics ruled the list of best-selling graphic novels and trade paperbacks, thanks to Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Riding the popularity of the hit AMC TV series, 13 of the 15 trade paperbacks collecting the long-running, zombie-filled comic were in the top 25, with the first volume —Days Gone Bye— topping the chart for the second year in a row.
By Jen Clark
So, you aspire to be described as a cartoonist, do you? You might have devoted considerable time and effort to produce your special comic book. And possibly you’ve submitted your efforts to numerous publishers, yet thus far to no avail. And you have also toiled into the late hours of the night, into the early hours of the day working on your creative endeavor. In addition, you’ve invested in quite a bit of income on self promotion and showed your work to countless professionals in the industry. But still accomplishing all this, for reasons unknown, you simply can not seem to get your way in.
Perhaps you have this sinking sense that your art is simply not intended for the mainstream, and it never will be. Maybe your audience is more specific. You feel your readership is actually smarter and deeper than the usual rabble that devour super hero comics – they really want something distinct and with depth. As soon as these realizations strike, surely, you’ll exclaim the same battle cry as countless artists and writers which came before you:
“I should publish my OWN comic book!”
Your destiny is now sealed, my friend. You have picked the tough path. The road you are taking will be unknown, frustrating and overflowing with the danger which just the lonely appreciate.
Being a self published cartoonist isn’t effortless, but being an artist rarely is. There are no guarantees. Lack of success and total obscurity may well await you. For those cartoonists who possess a passion to share their tales, free of editorial control, the self publishing bug will prove a difficult virus to cure.
I do not have a lot when it comes to substantive suggestions, regrettably. Like I explained, there are no guarantees. In all likelihood, a few folks will read your book. And those people are generally family and friends. Printing will come completely out of your pocket. Distribution is really a waking nightmare. Judgments will be brutal.
Even with every one of these bleak facts, you simply can’t quit. You actually can create your own comic and self publish it. Develop your artwork. Compose engaging stories. Focus on developing fantastic characters that your readers will be able to feel like they truly know. In addition, it may help a great deal to network with other cartoonists on your social networking web pages as well as in real world circumstances. Get your name and art out into the world and before your audience.
Most of all, never EVER give up.