This Intervew Series is with another comic book product entrepreneur Michael Hinson. I ordered a few pre-sale variants from Frankie's Comics and some came in this shipper I've never seen. I thought, wow, this is cool and different. After doing some research I happened to come across the owner on one of the Facebook comic book groups I'm in. He was happy to oblige me for an interview. And just recently I've found that they make a shipper for slabs as well!What got you into comics?
- I guess that starts in childhood, where I grew to love the characters and stories that were created. Spider-Man and Batman were two of my favorites. Along the way I picked up and followed other characters, and ultimately, that’s what it was about… the characters. I’ve wanted to write a story for a long time. Back in January of 2020, a friend of mine (Chris Hays) told me about a book he was writing. When I left that conversation, I got on a flight the next day and started writing my own story. I realized the graphic novel/periodical format was perfect for the tale I wanted to tell. I’ve been lucky to have a career in project management, graphic design, writing, and publications. Most importantly, I was able to connect with others to help turn my thoughts into a book. We were able to self-publish four books in 2020. That story, The Disputed Territory, is what led to ComicShield.
- Dressing up as my favorite characters at Halloween. My mom put a lot of effort into those costumes. Good times.
- As mentioned above, I started producing comics during a global pandemic. My first book was scheduled to be launched at Fan Expo Dallas. Well, that unfortunately never came to fruition, so I had to switch gears to promote and sell online. I didn’t know what anyone was using to ship comics, so I called up my good friend James Dawson. He is an avid collector, and the two of us have had many conversations about comics over the years. Who better to help? So, I ordered my first batch of shippers. I was not impressed. I wanted to showcase my books, protect them, and give the customer a wow feeling when they received them. There was no real solution for this in the market.
- During my career, I spent a few years doing project and art management, and some structural design for a premium short run packaging and display company. I called upon another good friend, John Goetz, and we started into the design process. I became more of a conduit of taking industry input, and working with his team to produce a solution that checked every box. We were able to R&D this thing in just a couple months, getting it into the patent process really quickly.
- The biggest obstacle with anything is defeating negativity. Whether it’s self-inflicted or from outside, this is something we all face. If it were easy, everyone would do it. We have very modest beginnings. We priced these as thin as possible, while maintaining a high quality product. Quality is extremely important to us, because ultimately a few pennies now can save lots of dollars later. When I take a step back, this modest little start has really been fairly successful. We have very little overhead.
- Our customers are repeat customers, which tells me the product is doing its job. Still, for every 1000 good things, there’s always someone ready to bark negativity. Unfortunately, sometimes that is who gets heard. We are committed to stick to the core values for ourselves, our customers, and their customers. I would tell everyone out there to fight the good fight against negativity. Whether it’s your own self-doubt, or some angry person on social media, stay the course.
- This is a really difficult question. I’m really into new stories and characters, so I’m taking in a lot of Indie stuff. I honestly don’t think I have one singular character that stands out from the rest. I love the sarcastic nature of Hellboy and Deadpool on the more mainstream front. You’ll see that influence in my writing and art. There are so many incredible creators out there, and the world needs this growth. We need people to keep creating. I just want good stories and killer art.
- As mentioned above, I’m not sure I have a singular grail. However, a goal of mine is to own a piece of original art from as many of these amazing artists as possible. That includes covers, panels, etc. I’ve started this with my first cover A on my book, by Alan Quah. Alan is an incredible line artist. Because of the current state of affairs, this original piece is not yet in my hands. I cannot wait to get that framed and on the wall.
- It’s funny, because this is from the same cover. It’s a printer’s mistake on the cover, and it made for a really cool effect. They forgot the foil on this one book, but the varnish is there. Makes for a really awesome piece of art, and one of a kind.
What's the future for ComicShield?
- This is a question James and I talk about a lot. It’s something I talk about with my inner self a lot. On the one hand, I’d love to think it will be wildly successful. That it will save thousands of books from damages, it’ll bring joy to countless people unveiling their grail, it’ll provide a branding and marketing platform for these small businesses growing themselves in the marketplace.
- I really do believe we have built something really nice here, and that we will continue to take in feedback to pivot and keep improving. We just want to take in enough profits to reach a bigger audience to spread more happiness into the world. We want to travel again with friends. To break bread and laugh. Relationships!
- I’m going to say my best find is meeting and working with all these great artists and creators. I know, that’s a cheesy response, but it’s true. This has gotten me back into the arts again, something that had become dull for me from grinding away at my day job for years. Finding new art in my feeds each day is a hell of a score. So, for me, it’s the first appearance of something I’ve never seen before, on repeat.
- A bit of a repeat from above. Do not be afraid, and don’t let negativity win the war. But also, be open to change. You don’t have to use every piece of advice, but you definitely need to be listening. Surround yourself with good people, talented people, and you’ll find joy in the journey. Cheers!
Thanks to Michael for your time and an inside look at ComicShield! He also sent a few pictures of some of the amazing custom work that they do as well.
As always if you have any recommendations of comic book artists, writers, content creators, product makers, drop a comment below. Thanks for reading!