This interview series is with another comic book product creator, Joshua Bennett, who founded Reptilian Overlord. I love new products when it comes to this hobby as there are more than a few safe ways to ship books properly. He was also extremely nice enough to send me samples of each type of shipper he created. The shippers can hold raw books and slabs as well! I'd definitely go check out his site, Reptilian Overlord, if you're looking for another type of mailer to ship comics.
What got you into comics?
- When I was a kid, I was infatuated with my Uncle's X-men collection, that I wasn't allowed to touch (that they have since, regretfully, neglected to the point of ruin) so I began collecting the late 80's early 90's versions of those books to try and be cool like they were to me! But I specifically remember buying Silver Surfer #75 in 92' and thinking it was the most awesome thing ever! Unfortunately, comics gave way to sports cards, and now I try not to think about all the comics lost from my childhood.
- Ironically, I began using the Marvel Unlimited app a few years ago, and it was Donny Cates (or more so Tradd Moore's art in Silver Surfer Black that brought me back to needing actual physical comic books back in my life...almost 30 years later.
- I guess I kind of accidentally answered this one already...but the X-men books of the 90's and having that cartoon series to go with them. However, I still think it was buying that hologram cover Silver Surfer #75 with my own money that hits the hardest.
- It all started almost exactly a year ago. I had been collecting for a few months, and have a good friend that has done very well speccing and flipping books on ebay for a number of years, and as he was helping my learning curve drastically...I was still frustrated. This is not a knock on any competitors whatsoever, but I became frustrated with the lack of options for shipping comics. I believe not much compares to Gemini, and would have to say it's universally understood that their product is the "golden standard" for shipping comics. But I did find it lacking in certain areas. I wanted to improve upon their intent, and it led to me being able to offer some things that I either hadn't seen elsewhere, or that have only recently been available.
Biggest mistake you made when you started?
- Probably neglecting opportunities for useful insight. But learning that early in the beginning stages of the design process is why I dont have the universal comic mailer I had the goal of creating...but a line of comic mailers. That early lesson learned is also why the next few products I plan to offer aren't as far along as I wish they were at this point. Also, I did not know enough about the corrugated cardboard business. I had to learn more than I ever considered I might have wanted about that stuff!
- Narrowing this question down is hard enough, so in no particular order, and without being overly specific...I'll say Miles Morales, Silver Surfer, Moon Knight, and Doctor Doom.
Next big thing for your personal collection? Your grail?
- I'm working a little too hard on completing my Silver Surfer Vol. 1 run right now. Fantastic Four #5 would be a big one for me.
Most unique or favorite thing in your collection?
- I don't know how unique they are in a lot of collectors' eyes, but they mean a lot to me! I have a ridiculous amount of Silver Surfer Black's. There may only be a few variants out there I don't have at this point! But finally getting that 2019 SDCC issue #2 virgin cover by Guiseppe Camuncoli makes my PC pretty happy!
Raw or Graded? Why?
- I have the toughest time buying graded books. I have a cleaning kit and press and everything I'd need to fix a book up myself, so I get way more enjoyment out of submitting raw books myself. My future comic book room in the house I'm building soon will probably have to have exclusively graded only books on the wall tho...so that opinion may change in the near future!
Best find or score?
- I'm still waiting on that one, I suppose. Being a husband, father of 2 young children, working a 12 hour swing shift job full-time, and spending what limited spare time I do have on growing this business...I can't get out and hunt like I really like to. Hoping I can get back to you on this one!
- I think being receptive to the comic book community's opinions and ideas is definitely key. Get feedback, be open to criticism, but be confident in your intent. I didn't do this to get rich, and it's a good thing lol! I genuinely believe my products (present and future) offer the hobby a worthwhile contribution. Having that as a primary goal and motivation, I hope, will equate to certain success. I'd love to be able to answer this question with a thoroughly proven formula one day, but bringing a new idea to the hobby is something I've only recently accomplished. I'm just trying to get the Reptilian-Overlord brand into the stratosphere of public knowledge, and having it be synonymous with high quality. It's by the people for the people...while also technically being by an elite group of Shapeshifting Lizard humanoids from Outer Space with malevolent plans for global domination!
A huge thanks to Josh for the great interview and also sending samples of the shippers! Check them out here!