Word escaped today that Bob Wayne is celebrating 25 years at DC Comics today. Yowsa. Allow me to entirely take over the front page today in praise of the old bastard.
So, let me first say this: the Direct Market has never ever had a better friend, ever, than Bob Wayne. More than any other person I can think of, Bob understands the strength and the power of fans selling directly to other fans. He also, and I think this is at least as important, most of the dangers and pitfalls of the same, and he's done a stellar job of navigating those two shores
A lot of lot of words have been expended about Paul Levitz's DC comics (I think we can all see VERY clearly how much and how fast DC's corporate culture has changed since he was forced out), but I think that Bob is at least as important to the company.
Bob, you see, is very much like the DC characters he sells -- well, at least their pre-New52 versions -- he has a pretty unshakable moral sense of doing the right thing, and of protecting all people under his charge equally. That's a rare thing. Especially in marketing.
Bob's got a great staff, too, don't get me wrong -- I know he's not the only smart, caring guy up there, but I'm going to be a sad panda when Bob eventually retires (which is probably going to be pretty soon, I figure -- his 58th birthday was this year), because Bob knows how to fight the fights, and where the bodies are all buried.
Y'know, I was arguing with another retailer a week or two ago and he said something like "You are listened to too much by the industry", and I immediately flashed to Bob and laughed -- I think I have maybe a 1-in-3 Win record with Bob, and I have the decades of bruises to show for it. But that's fine: Bob's smarter and always better informed than me, and the fact that I was able to win a third of our battles makes me feel like a better fighter over all.
What I love about Bob is how he'll remember every mistake you've ever made, but he won't actually hold it over you. Most people play every card they have, but Bob likes to keep his. The acerbic bastard.
And while he'll tell you exactly what he thinks (often more bluntly than people want to hear) -- he won't tell you anything you're not allowed to know. Comics is sometimes very loose lips-y, but Bob, never Bob.
Someday, I remain hopeful, Bob will write a book of his experiences at DC, and in the geek business, because I tell you now, I'm going to be the first person in line to read that baby, yes.
But until then, there's been 25 important years that Bob has protected and nurtured and grown our business, and, because I intend to still be here (I'm a smidge younger than Bob) I kind of hope he'll have 25 more.
I'm not cruel enough to wish it, but I still hope it nonetheless.
Happy Anniversary, Bob!