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ComicsPRO ’11: Hibbs’ Last Year

Brian Hibbs

There have, over the years, been several attempts to build a comics retailer organization. There was PACER, there was the DLG, there was one more back in the day whose acronym I’m blanking on.

The main reason we’ve succeeded, I think, is because of the astonishingly hard work of Amanda Emmert, who does so much insanely detailed and strong work behind the scenes, and without whom this would have been another one of those Noble Failures.

I also think that ComicsPRO had a certain amount of cachet coming from that the original founders included <<booming voice>> BRIAN HIBBS, and also <<booming voice>> JOE FIELD. Joe’s the other guy who might run neck in neck with me on the “celebrity retailer” side because Joe, of course, invented Free Comic Book Day.

Its a little hard for me to write about this without sounding like a totally arrogant douchebag, but I really do think that “Hey, it’s the guy who sued Marvel and won” coupled with “It’s the creator of FCBD” got a number of both retailers and vendors to take the organization a whole lot more seriously than they might have otherwise.

But, like I said, it was really Amanda who did most of the hard work.

Anyway, in the original charter we wrote we put in term limits for Board positions, because it does no one any good to have calcified leadership, but somewhere between years one and two, because the membership hadn’t yet grown to the point of the organization being self-sustaining, it suddenly started seeming like there weren’t going to be enough people to step up to leadership positions, and that it was much more sensible to remove the Term Limits provision… otherwise we might not HAVE a Board.

Then what started happening was that it became fairly clear to me that incumbents, pretty much, can’t be voted out of office. It’s not that other smart retailers aren’t willing to step into leadership positions, but that being an incumbent pretty much means you win because everyone is familiar with you.

You can double this problem for me, personally.

If I chose to, I’ve little doubt I could stay on the Board until I die, who is going to vote off <<booming voice>> BRIAN HIBBS?

Well, they probably should, actually — I’m what is politely known as a “loose cannon”. Hell, I’ve nearly sank things for the Org, single handedly, at least twice (and maybe more) because I just go off and do my thing, and I don’t play all that well with others. The way I fucked up with my review of Superman Earth One is your prime public example.

As I say, I could stay on the Board forever, as the bylaws are written, and I’m certain I’d keep getting the votes, but I also think that we’ve got a perception problem among certain prospective members that the org is “controlled” by “the California Elites”, and, even without this (wrong!) perspective, I think that just generally having a constantly refreshing leadership is the way to go.

My current term will be up at the end of the 2012 annual meeting, so I’m announcing now that I will not be running for the Board next year. I think I’ve achieved the goals that I set out to accomplish — the organization is now truly viable and self-sustaining and there is literally no chance that its going to go away like many of the other Noble Failures of orgs past.

I’m announcing this an entire year before the next set of elections so that people have enough time to actually think if they want to step up to join the leadership; to plan, and campaign. Historically, we start looking for new prospective Board members like 2-3 months before the elections, but I want people to have enough time to really weigh their choices and options.

ComicsPRO probably needed <<booming voice>> BRIAN HIBBS to get established, to get going, to get cemented in people’s mind that this was real and true and viable, but I think it is time to bring in some fresh voices and fresh visions, and so this will be my last year on the Board. ComicsPRO doesn’t need me any more, and that, in a way, is the best sign to me that we were right all of those years ago for the need and the power of a retailer trade organization. If it can survive (and thrive!) without me in a leadership role, then we’ve really and truly done it.

This doesn’t mean that I might not want to come back some day — it may be that in 2014 I get super itchy and decide to run again, but for at least two years I’m going to step back and let someone else do all of the hard work.

Like  Hector Godfrey says to Seymour at the end of WATCHMEN, “I leave it entirely in your hands”

Long live ComicsPRO!


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