Comic Shop News began publication in July 1987. It was originally four pages in black and white with a weekly circulation of 30,000. Now, 25 years and over 1,300 issues later, CSN is eight-pages, full color, with over 120 million copies sold to date! It is sold in bundles to retailers who give it away to customers as a promotional tool.
Cliff Biggers has been an avid comics fan since 1959, when his parents bribed him with a stack of comics in order to convince him that a tonsillectomy wouldn't necessarily be a Bad Thing (it was, but the comics were still pretty nifty). In the 1960s and 1970s, he was involved with a number of comic book and science fiction fanzines; from 1975 to 1979, he and Susan, his wife, co-published an award-winning fanzine, Future Retrospective. In 1978, he took charge of the comics section of Dr. No's, which he and Ward Batty acquired in 1981. In 1985, he began producing a store newsletter that eventually paved the way for his and Ward's launch of Comic Shop News in 1987. Cliff did some comics work for Boffo Laffs, co-created the comic After Apocalypse with Mark Bagley, and co-created, with Brett Brooks and Dave Johnson, "The Earth Boys," an offbeat adventure series that appeared in Dark Horse Presents. He also writes for The Comics Buyer's Guide. In his spare time, he teaches high school, hoping to turn the youth of today into the comics fans of tomorrow.
Ward Batty has been collecting comics since 1974 at age twelve. He started publishing fanzines in high school with such ground-breaking titles as Fandom Digest and Fandom Advertiser's Digest. He published (along with Jay Zilber) the Fandom Calendar in 1979 and 1980, which featured art from (at the time) the top fan artists, many of whom (Wendy Pini, Dave Sim, Mitch O'Connell, Willie Blyberg, Gary Kwapisz and Brett Blevins) have gone on to top professional careers. In 1981, Ward sold a humor strip, "Trufan Adventures," to Alan Light's The Buyer's Guide for Comics Fandom (along with artist Jerry Collins) ran for a few years, disappeared for a while, and resurfaced (with artist Charlie Williams) in Don & Maggie Thompson's Comic's Buyer's Guide. Two reprint collections Trufan Adventures Theatre followed in 1985. In 1986, Ward and Charlie launched a humor anthology comic called Boffo Laffs. The first issue was the first comic book ever published with a hologram on the cover and introduced "Ultraguy and Joe Power." Boffo Laffs ran for five issues, but the black & white implosion of 1987 killed it off, and even the introduction of such stellar features as "Nick Noir, The Private Dick With A Nose For Crime" and "Sister No-Mercy, the Ninja Nun" couldn't save it. Meanwhile, Ward and Cliff bought Dr. No's in 1981, and Ward became co-editor of the Atlanta SF Club's monthly newsletter, Atarantes, which Cliff had been editing. They launched CSN in 1987 so Ward wouldn't have to get a Real Job. So far, so good.
Want to see how far we've come?
You can read Comic Shop News #1 from July, 1987.
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