Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Tenth Planet

I took a trip a while ago to Planet X.

Planet X Comics and Collectibles, that is, in York, PA. It's a relatively new comic book store. More comic book stores is a good thing, not a bad thing for the industry as a whole.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door was kids. Lots and lots of kids - like, twelve or so. This was at 2:30 on a Wednesday. The second thing I noticed was the amount of staff on hand - three employees worked the small(ish) store. Two of them were cute women (Kimberly and Lara) which, in my opinion, is marketing genius.

Anyway, all of those kids were there for something cool: Art classes taught by a Planet X employee. Planet X also has comic book creator nights for adult comic book creators who wish to gather together, talk shop, exchange ideas, and hone their craft. That's pretty cool. Still, setting up the tables for the art instruction made it somewhat difficult to get to all of the merchandise.

The store is kinda smallish but even so it seemed somewhat empty (not uncommon for a new comic shop). Their stock seems pretty random - I wouldn't stop by expecting them to have as specific book - Essential Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5, let's say. Lots of movie displays - Green Lantern, Captain America, Transformers. Makes sense since it is right there by Frank Theaters. Still, not all of their related merchandise is in one section. For example, Star Wars merchandise is in several areas (Star Wars, kids, novels, etc.). Their gaming stock is almost nonexistent. They had a spattering of other merchandise - statues, toys, etc. Generally, I would only go there expecting to find that week's new releases. No real back issue inventory. The back issues they had seemed overpriced.

The one unique feature this store had was a couch set up with a flat screen TV and a video game system (I believe it was an XBox - I couldn't see due to the art instruction but it would make sense, this being Planet "X" and all). This is cool but also odd since it has nothing to do with any of the products they sell. They'd be better off having a card table set up with a board game set up to demo on it or something.

Final evaluation - Planet X is a clean, uncluttered comic book store just finding its legs. Their current strength is their community outreach, while their current weakness is the quantity of stock on their shelves. Bottom line: In an economy that has seen the number of comic book stores shrink from 5,000 to 2,400 it's a good thing  to have another place to get comic books in York. 

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