Continuation of June 5 interview with Wayne Quackenbush from Newport’s Annex Comics, see part 1 here
NIM: As a marketer of a narrow-niche store, it must be challenging to get new customers. How has Facebook helped?
WQ: People visit the shop, visit my website, or E-bay store just to meet the eccentric person behind the Facebook page.
NIM: Tell us what they’ll find if they make an appearance in your store.
WQ: A mess. Stacks and walls of comics and product, the aforementioned local artwork, masks, clown dolls, and DVDs everywhere.
NIM: What’s the misconception about comics?
WQ: Some Americans have the opinion that comics are for kids or for the unintelligent, or they think the store will provide a rarified atmosphere of hipster elitist geekdom. Comics used to be for everybody and, in many countries of the world, they still are. They are unique artwork by a single creator or small group of creators telling an immersing and synergistic story in a way that is not possible in any other medium.
NIM: You’re a little in love with the industry, and I think that authenticity translates on your Facebook and web pages. Describe graphic love, the comic-book kind.
WQ: Comics allow an imaginative freedom in way that isn’t seen in films or in video games. There is an aesthetic pleasure in the pictures that isn’t present when reading fiction. With comics, the reader has to imagine the sounds, smells, and motion that are implied by the language and vision portrayed.
NIM: Everything has changed so much in the past 10 or 15 years. How have comic books changed?
WQ: That would take an essay. Simply, the 32-page full-color slim pamphlet remains the same but with more sophisticated coloring and better paper. But other forms of presentation of the art form have come into being from graphic novels, which are a thick collection of individual and previously published stories.
NIM: What’s popular with the Kids now? Zombies seem to be a big theme. I don’t get it.
WQ: Zombies are best used as a metaphor in fiction … they can symbolize the horror of “the other,” rampant consumerism, the pervasive anti-intellectualism of American society, the infantile and lizard brain hunger that lives in everyone, the hive mind … And everyone has a lingering fear of being bitten really hard.
NIM: Yes, it makes sense. Hey, do you have any plans for cyber-expansion?
WQ: I’m running four different Facebook accounts: my personal account, the store account, the store small business account, and the Annex Art Society page, so I really haven’t had time. Luckily, I have a Webmaster in charge of the store website.
NIM: I know it’s not polite to talk about religion or politics, but in business, it’s always polite to talk about money! Has social media helped your business financially?
NIM: See? That’s sort of the point that gets lost because social media is so much fun. I know you’re not a fan of hash tags, but #NIMRI is one hashtag you should “follow” on Twitter. You’ll learn so much about even more social media opportunities to promote your brand.
WQ: I found out about NIM from friends. The acronym reminds me a little of Nine Inch Nails. I would attend those meetings.
NIM: Hashtag NIN! That’s funny. Well, NIM can help you learn search optimization, to spread the word effortlessly and worldwide about the Annex, so we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
NIM: ListenWayne, it was a pleasure talking to you about the Annex. I’m really happy that you have taken the social media bull by the horns, and it’s wonderful to learn you’re also helping kids tap their creativity. #socialmedia
To learn more about Annex Comics, or immerse yourself in zombie-lit, please FB friend Wayne on Facebook or visit his website at annexcomics.com.