Stacks of The Comic Collection boxes and sample contents

Interview: The Comic Collection

You know what’s awesome about your local comic book store? Everything. You know what’s less awesome? Having to put on pants to be seen in public. The Comic Collection solves this first world problem by delivering comics right to your door! Now only your postman might have to see your without pants.

What is The Comic Collection?
Pru:
The Comic Collection is a monthly comic subscription box delivered direct to your door!

Josh:
We guarantee a trade/graphic novel, an issue, and an indie in every box plus at least one super cool collectible! Nothing more annoying than buying something “comics” related and it just having a single issue and the rest being full of toys and stuff - I’m here for the comics and I want something decent to read!

Pru and I have been watching the subscription box scene for a while. People are dissatisfied with the AUS-US exchange rate, so subscription boxes like Loot Crate and Nerd Block are costing more and more. The value just isn’t there any more.

Pru:
We want people to see the beauty in comic books and get a taste of all the things out there. That’s why we want to focus on indie comics from around Australia, not simply mainstream superhero comics (which are great too)!

What would be in your subscription box equivalent of a “desert island mixtape”?
Josh:
Oh man! That’s such a hard question. I love toys and collecting – but if I’m stuck on a desert island I want something to read!

I’d probably have to include Superman: Secret Identity. It’s a standalone graphic novel, and it really echoes the sentiment of wishing and wanting to be a superhero in a world where they don’t exist. I don’t think I could ever read it too many times.

After that I’d grab Batman: Year One.

How many can I choose!? New Avengers: Breakout, Planetary, Watchmen, Transmetropolitan!
And I’ll leave it there because I could literally go on forever!

Dan:
Oh man, Secret Identity, for sure! It’s one of my “evangelism” books - something you show people who don’t read comics to show them what comics can be like.

Josh:
Yep, I definitely think it’s amazing! It gives you such a great taster of it’s world and then it ends and I think I sat there the first time I read it through just thinking about the experience and the rollercoaster of emotions I’d gone through!

Pru:
Well, this is where I say that I am not quite the comic connoisseur that my husband is! That was a huge reason for starting TCC, when I wanted to start looking into comics, it was so overwhelming and I didn’t know what I liked or styles that interested me. If I could take a box of novels as well, then maybe I have a fighting chance here! Although I would take Blankets by Craig Thompson – an incredible story with all the feels… I’m a sucker for feels!

Dan:
Have you read 12 Reasons Why I Love Her (by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones), Pru?

Pru:
I hadn’t until you mentioned it, but it looks right up my alley! Thanks!

Which established characters, writers, or artists do you tend to follow?
Josh:
What self-respecting comic reader doesn’t follow Grant Morrison at least a little? We3 and All Star Superman are near the top of my favourites list.
I try to keep up to date with Supes and Bats.

How do you discover new characters, writers, or artists?
Pru:
I have really loved seeing the indie creators that we’ve found! I never realised the sheer amount of talent that was hiding just under the surface of our community!

Along with that though, just trawling through catalogues of comics and immersing myself in the different books has been great too; picking out anything that looks great or different to share with our customers as well as each other.

Josh:
Yep, we’ve found some amazing stuff. We always love hearing about movement based comics - especially on Kickstarter! Stuff like Womanthology, and we’re actually including some indie-created mental health and animal welfare focused comics in the future.

Dan:
Have you guys seen the Starryteller anthology doing the Kickstarter thing at the moment?

Josh:
We recently backed their Kickstarter campaign, and they will definitely be in one of our future boxes. Kickstarter is an interesting platform, and I think the way Alisha Jade and Samantha Calcraft (the curators of Starrytellers) have gone about their campaign is exactly the right way to do it - they’ve already paid their artists up front which is unfortunately not commonly the case!

Your monthly comic subscription box delivered direct to your door

Tell us about some of the hurdles you’ve had to overcome?
Josh:
The biggest hurdle for me was that we needed to put 100% into the business without even knowing if we’d be able to get anywhere. Some of our suppliers required a fully functioning website before even giving us an account to look at pricing!

We knew we had a winning idea, but it was still a lot of initial stress.

The best aspect has been talking to indie creators! We’ve already been in contact with an awesome group of Australian comic creators - it’s absolutely amazing to be able to support them! We can’t wait to hear what our customers think of them all.

The sheer amount of support that people have shown us is incredible and the interest hasn’t died down yet so that’s really exciting!

Pru:
Time - there are only so many things you can control and time is certainly not one of them!
Also sorting out other people’s time; we rely on other people to get in contact or reply in a timely fashion and that’s just life right? Not everyone will do what you want when you want!

How will you approach conventions, from a business perspective?
Pru:
Comic-Con Melbourne, June 2016, we will be there!

Conventions have been an interesting conversation. Because our business is “pay now, receive later”, it’s hard to convey that at conventions. We will be taking specialised ‘convention’ boxes to sell on the day and have a way to be signing people up that are interested in the subscription.

Cons are also important to us to be able to network. It will be a big way that we get to actually meet the people we are doing business with!

Having a young son as well means that conventions outside of Melbourne will be a big commitment. So while we may not be at all of them, you can guarantee the ones we attend will be worth it!

Josh:
Yep yep yep! Land Before Time, anyone!?

Dan:
Sweet damn, Josh - I thought my Henry’s Cat catchphrases were obscure!


Thanks so much for your time, Josh and Pru!

The Comic Collection is a monthly box of comics and comic-related goods delivered straight to your door! Their Christmas box includes something awesome from Sodaville Comics and orders for it close on the 20th of this month so get onto it while you still can!

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