Heavy Ink is going to be a better place to buy and trade comics than any currently exist online OR IN PERSON. Doors open in October.
Trav’s “Progress Report #1” gives you a good primer:
I should first say that I decided to launch Heavy Ink because I am a comic book fan. A fan with some problems. The biggest problem I have is that I don’t know what the good stuff is. The second problem is that it’s too much of a hassle to find the good stuff, and then to get the copies, reliably, into my greedy little hands.
I know a few things I like: The Watchmen, most everything by Warren Ellis, Sandman, V for Vendetta, The Walking Dead, Ex Machina, and a few others. But if I like these (half of them decades old), what else should I check out? Now, today?
My local comic book store is not much help – they’ve got a limited selection, and while the staff is friendly, they know more about Spiderman and The Hulk than they do about good writers, interesting plots, and obscure titles.
My local comic book store is also a bit of a pain to deal with: I tell clerk #1 that I want to subscribe to a title, and he nods his head. Eight weeks later, no copies of it have arrived. I talk to clerk #2, and he confides “Oh, clerk #1 is always like that”. I ask clerk #3 if I can get back issues, and he says that he’ll check “at the other store”, but they back issues never arrive.
Does it have to be this hard?
I knew what I needed: an Amazon.com of the comic book world (easy to use, most everything is in stock, ordering is simple, and customer support – on those rare occasions that you need it – is top notch). It also needs a great recommendation engine geared towards comics, flexible shipping (weekly, if I feel like it, or monthly if I don’t), and maybe some way to organize my collection and fill in the holes.
Finally, this web store should offer a tool that will give total neophytes who have seen one issue of Concrete, or have read a novel by Neil Gaiman, or were loaned a book by Art Spiegelman, or whatever, some way to start pulling at that one loose thread and discover what in the world of comics suits them.
I looked around at the top online stores, and I sadly realized that none of them were filling the bill.
Having developed SmartFlix.com from the ground up (I started it in a spare bedroom, and mortgaged my house to make it happen) just because I wanted to watch some videos on using a metal lathe, the answer was clear to me: I should take the great team that we’ve already assembled and inspire them to build my dream comic book store. We’ve more than competent in running a website, and handling tons of inventory flowing in and out, offering top-notch customer support.
…and most of us are interested in comics as well!
That’s how the dream began.
We’re now about four weeks in, and we’re hoping to go live in October.
Here’s our status: