Welcome to the All New, All Different, All New Comics
This site has been a long time coming, more than a decade in the works, it is on the latest and greatest platform, using some state of the art e-commerce software, with an incredible subscription management system. It’s made me think back on everything that happened to get us from there to here.
What is the Secret Origin of All New Comics?
In the winter of 2004, my wife and I moved from our apartment in Toronto’s Beach district to a brand new home we had built in Ajax Ontario. It was a great place, only 20 minutes away from my work (the Beach had been about 30 minutes to work), and in a very cool area that was booming. The one thing we were missing was a good comic shop. There was Gnu Books on Harwood, just a few minutes from our house, but the staff was decidedly unfriendly. There were places in Whitby and Oshawa, but both were out of my way. In the end, I chose to continue going to my “Local Comic Shop”, Comics and More owned by the late Rob Charpentier. It was my favourite shop, and it had my favourite guy Peter there.
The winter was especially hard, and at one point I decided to try ordering my comics from an online store in the United States. I got an incredible deal on the comics (40% off), and the exchange rate wasn’t too bad. Even paying for shipping, it came to about $50 for a month’s worth of comics, which was about $20 less than I normally paid. My comics arrived one day along with a $65.00 brokerage fee!
I was building websites at the time, and doing a pretty good job of it. I figured I would be able to figure out how to build an ecommerce site. This was a decade ago when you had to pretty much “roll your own” solutions, but I found this ASP VBScript based cart called “CandyPress”. I spent the $45.00 to download it, and had a store running locally pretty quickly.
My friend Ryan and I were running a side-business called “HeadsDown Internet Design”, and we had built our own content management system that we could run multiple sites on. It was all written in VBScript as well. I figured we could put together a comics site on that, set up the store with some listings of stuff I had on hand, get the minimum number of customers to let me get my own Diamond account, and then be in business as Canada’s first mail-order exclusive online comics store.
I needed a partner though. I understood the web part intimately, but I hadn’t had a hand in ordering or anything for more than a decade at that point. I had worked at a couple of comic stores in the 1990’s (Bid Time Return, which would become LA Mood, and I was employee #1 at the Shuster Award Winning Heroes Cards and Comics both in London Ontario).
I was talking to Peter, and it just so happened that he had parted ways with Comics and More. He was going to focus on doing comic conventions. He had deep connections in the industry, and I actually liked the guy to boot! We whipped up a quick partnership agreement, put some money in together, and started brainstorming names. He really liked “Pages of Wonder”, but we couldn’t get that domain. I spent some time searching domain names and came across “All New Comics”. It filled several of our criteria including the fact that it would be at the top of any alphabetical listings!
We incorporated in April of 2005, put a bunch of titles together, built a website that was a news front end with a shop back-end, and delivered a website that was good enough to get us our Diamond Account.
We were approved for a Diamond account in late April, meaning we were approved to submit May’s orders. We would regularly start getting comics that July. Now all we had to do was find enough customers to support our $2,000 a month minimum order to maintain our distributor account.
Next time, we continue the secret history of All New Comics, we’ll talk about Brian and Peter’s partnership, their first comic convention together, and the life altering change that almost caused Brian to quit All New Comics before they had made it through their first three months!