The current state of the comic book industry seems to be in fairly good shape, considering the economy. This is mainly because they have branched out into multiple mediums and were successful. There's the Marvel Cinematicverse, Batman's video game franchise and ,of course, digital comic books, which I still hope were cheaper. Actual physical comic books are the backbone of such a great industry, but for a bunch of Filipinos, comic books just aren't within their budget or their logistical reach. Comic book retailers, in this country, are rare creatures. It's sad that, like priesthood, it's almost a calling to choose to be a comic book retailer. There are only a few major ones, and the market is budding at best. So, you have to imagine the kind of guy to actually do it has testicles the size of bowling balls.
Enter Mr. Lawrence Cruz, esteemed proprietor of ComicxHub.com, an online comic book store. But enough of what what I have to say, let's hear it straight from the man.
GeekOut: So, what is Comicx Hub?
Lawrence: Comicx Hub is the country's largest (if not the only) online shopping website dedicated to Comics, Toys & Collectibles.
We service the entire Philippines by providing them with up to date and current releases of North American and locally produced Indie and mainstream comics. Part of our collection are thousands of hard to find Back Issues every collector must check out. Our product line includes graphic novels in hard cover and paperback formats, as well as comic-related Books, magazines and other reading materials. We have a wide assortment of toys ranging from action figures, statues and other collectibles. Also available in our website are various comic collecting supplies from resealable bags and back boards to short and long boxes.
Comicx Hub is positioned to provide the ultimate shopping experience when it comes to comics. We offer the alternative of having comics and comic items shipped right to your doorstep removing the inconvenience of driving up to a local comic store. Most of our customers get Free Shipping when orders total up at least Php500.00, and is delivered next day within Metro Manila if placed before the order cut-off.
We are partnered with the top names when it comes to door to door delivery to ensure that packages arrive at all our customers preferred shipping addresses at the expected date of arrival. DHL Express, LBC and Aboitiz 2GO help us in achieving excellent shipping service our customers enjoy.
Ensuring the safe arrival of your ordered items is our top concern, we understand that as readers and collectors the condition of every book should be maintained as pristine as possible. That is why from the get go, each and every comic order is automatically bagged and boarded right out of the box and is stored properly in specialty comic book boxes and is never to be touched until an order arrives.
When packing our comics, we use a special type of double-walled corrugated board to serve as additional protection for every order, they are then wrapped with high-grade bubble wrapping, protecting the entire order from accidental bumps. Capping the packaging procedure, we use density-strength Kraft Paper that allows a more fluid movement on the inside of the entire package, this is very useful when packages are carried for longer distances.
At Comicx Hub, our customer's convenience is a priority, that is why we have setup various payment channels that are accessible anywhere in the country. Customers can pay their order via Credit Cards, PayPal Accounts, Bank Deposits and even mobile phone services such as Globe GCash.
We also have considered our customer's information security when transacting online that is why we have set up our site with the best encryption SSL presently in the market. That is why you are always directed to a secure version of our site (https://) whenever you log-in, create an account and most importantly process payments.
As added value to our customers, we automatically provide 10% off on New Releases up to Friday of every week when ordering online. That means that orders made up to three days from when an issue is released is at an exclusive discounted price. Even more, for the next three months, all New Release comics picked up from our warehouse is at 20% off.
Furthermore, from time to time, we run great promotions through our "Deal of the Day" program, where items can be bought online at very special prices.
We also process reorders for our customers, specially for those hard to find items that they have been looking for but cannot be found locally. They just have to email us a list of the items they want and if available, they can
have it as soon as two weeks.
GeekOut: What possessed you to do it? How did it all start? I honestly hope business is doing well. We need more people like you.
Lawrence: Seeing the potential market of comic fans and enthusiasts in other parts of the country, we saw the opportunity to provide them with easily accessible means to get their titles at a more convenient and inexpensive way. Being raised from a nearby province myself, I have gone through travelling to Manila weekly, just to get the issues that I want, most of the time I even end up frustrated when I arrive at my local shop just to find out that they have already sold out.
I then resort to finding these titles at other shops and hunting these which always turns out more expensive because of the travel expenses. Since then, just like any kid my age (back then), I had wished to set up my own comic store.
Business is OK. We have to admit that we are still very, very young at this game and that there is still a long way to go before achieving what we envision. Although I must say that we are very much overwhelmed with how the entire industry has welcomed us to think that we are just on our 5th week in running the online store. We have been invited in major conventions and even participated in one in Cebu.
We also have to say that we are very much in need of everyone's support in making our message come across:
1. The comic book hobby doesn't need to be expensive - We provide our customers with the outrageous discounts because our publishers give us the same treatment. Whatever they send our way, we just channel it as promotions for our customers: No over Pricing. Even our variant editions are given out as an incentive to our customers at the same price it was given to us by our publishers. Our incentive as a retailer, is our customer's incentive.
2. We provide a more convenient purchase alternative - We offer Free Shipping to our customers, because we are able to shoulder shipping expenses from a minimum purchase standpoint. Getting titles that our customers want, and having it found in their doorsteps are the main foundations of our brand.
GeekOut: A few years down the road, where do you want ComixHub to be? What's your vision for it?
Lawrence: One of our main objectives in putting up COMICX HUB is to increase the industry's readership. We would like to have more people start reading comics again, as we believe in the various benefits it provides young adults and kids among them is literacy, creativity, and skills and talent in the art and so much more.
That is why we are also planning on doing school roadshows next year to promote the art, local talents, and of course the hobby. We plan to go to various schools to help send out the message that comics are cool again!
GeekOut: Dude, seriously, we fully support you on that. Like, for realz. Being a comic book fan, what was that one comic book that sparked all of this? It was Daredevil, wasn't it?
Lawrence: Hahahah it wasn't Daredevil. I remember seeing my first comic at a salon along Oranbo Drive in Pasig, where my mom brought me. I couldn't remember the titles anymore, but I remember seeing Black Panther and Scarlet Witch I ended up cutting the character images and pasting them in my closet.
GeekOut: Favorite character, go!
Lawrence: A LOT! X-MEN would be in the list. So is Wonder Woman. Flash is in mind as well as Green Lantern. I Like Hawkeye and Thor too.
I find Batwoman SEXY. And Archie funny.
I miss Spawn and Witchblade, I don't get to read them so much these days.
GeekOut: If you weren't into comic books, what would you say you'd be into now? No furry fetish answers, please.
Lawrence: White slavery, drug trafficking and, illegal arms trading. (Is this gonna be published?) Please write Habitat for Humanity volunteer. ( Wow frist lady lang ng isang NGO)
GeekOut: I heard you're going to have a partnership with CityPoynt. Care to tell us the details?
Lawrence: Basically we are still ironing out the deals, as well as the dates. But it involves customers getting store credits that they can use online to purchase items form the store.