Last week, on the Comic-Con International Toucan Blog, the nominations were announced for the prestigious Will Eisner ‘Spirit Of Comics’ Retailer Award, to be presented to a worthy comic book store as part of the gala Eisner Awards on the Friday of San Diego Comic-Con.
These nominations were shortlisted from entries from every corner of the globe with comics fans submitting their LCBS for the honour. The Judging Panel of this years awards whittled these down to twenty stores from as far afield as United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and Israel, as well as two stores from the UK and Ireland: Orbital Comics in London, and Big Bang Comics in Dublin.
AEISD reached out to both stores for the reaction to the nomination – here, Chris Thompson of Orbital Comics lets us know what the nomination means to him and the rest of the Orbital team…
AEISD: Thanks for getting back to me, Chris – this is very exciting news for Orbital, I’m sure. Just what does a nomination mean to a store, here in the UK? Does it equate to more sales, a higher profile – even for a store as prominent in the community as yours? And what would it mean to actually win the thing on the night?
CHRIS: I would imagine it means the same to stores anywhere around the world: the Eisner Awards are an institution – the Oscars of the comics world – so to receive a nomination for what we do is both exciting and humbling. The value of being Eisner-nominated can’t be measured in terms of money or profile, but it’s a gratifying recognition of the work we continue to do on a day-to-day basis. Winning would be the cream on the cake, but we’re amongst a fine selection of retailers who we’re proud to be one of.
AEISD: What is the reaction of the staff at the moment? Are they aware of the Awards in the store?
CHRIS: Our staff have always taken a keen interest in the Eisner Awards, both for creators and other retailers. To actually be nominated has been exciting for everyone, as it recognises an ongoing team effort that we’ve all contributed to. We are fortunate to get wonderful feedback from our customers regularly, but to have this kind of international recognition obviously means a lot to us.AEISD: I know you have to submit a packet for their presentation but that’s part of everybody’s entry, not the actual selection for the shortlist. How did you find out about your final shortlist nomination?
CHRIS: We found out about the shortlist when our social media notifications experienced a sudden, significant jump! Congratulations came flooding in, so we checked the CCI website to see the announcement had been made official. It was incredibly gratifying, and not something that we take for granted.
AEISD: What is it about Orbital that you feel makes you stand out and deserving of the nomination?
CHRIS: I think everyone here at Orbital just loves comics and is committed to sharing that experience in the best ways we can. You can’t really be thinking about money or recognition in comics, but if you keep at it and do your best then hopefully those things will come. We just know the kind of industry and store we want to be part of, so we try to reflect that.AEISD: The Awards are held when it’s very early in the morning here in the UK! Will you be paying very close attention to social media in the dead of night, or will you celebrate/commiserate later over the morning coffee/tea?
CHRIS: I imagine some of us will still be awake (comics never sleep!) and the rest will be celebrating the next morning either way. As I said, our nomination is such an honour that regardless of outcome we have reason to celebrate – there’s no need for commiseration.
AEISD: How would Orbital celebrate if you won? Any street party for the loyal fans?
CHRIS: Being right in the heart of central London, it might be a little hard to organise a street party (unless we were still in our original Old Compton Street location), but I think there would be definite cause for celebration to acknowledge its importance and all the people who helped us get there.AEISD: Is anyone from Orbital going to be in the room itself, if such a win comes off? And, if not, can I go up and collect it on your behalf? I’ll keep it safe in the hand luggage home, promise! 😉
CHRIS: While I’m sure you’d be a wonderful custodian, Leonard, I’m pleased to say I’ll be going over to represent Orbital at the show. There’s a lot of great retailers up for the award, so we’re under no illusions about winning, but just being there and seeing this thing through will be worth it. Even if we don’t win we’ll genuinely be celebrating whoever does, because we know just how much hard work and love goes into what we do in comics retail.Thanks to Chris for responding to this Q&A – and the very best of luck to everyone at Orbital Comics.