A little more than a year after it opened its doors, Mobile, Alabama, retailer 99 Issues Comics & Gaming has run into a problem: It’s outgrown its space.
When it opened in March 2013, the store carried just 99 titles to complement its name — yes, it’s a reference to the Jay-Z song — but within months that number had grown to more than 200 new releases, plus a selection of back issues. Add to that an area for playing video games, display cases and a desire to hold more in-store artist signings and, well, you can imagine things get a bit crowded — so much so that owner Chris Barnett says he loses money on every event.
In hopes of alleviating that problem, Barnett has turned to Indiegogo to raise $5,000, half of what he needs to expand the store. The rest will come out of his own pocket.
“We’ve been looking to become more than a just a store or a small business,” he said in a statement. “We want to create a place where artists can come and showcase themselves to the Mobile and Baldwin County market. We are a strong supporter of artists/writers/creators of all genres.”
The campaign launched early this month, accompanied by a video featuring a ringing endorsement from Neal Adams, who calls 99 Issues the best comic store in Mobile. (It’s a well-produced video that showcases not only the creator’s appearance, but the store’s customers and the shop itself.)
Barnett is offering a variety of pledge incentives, ranging from signed comic books and limited-edition prints to T-shirts and sketches. The campaign ends June 1.
“If we are able to raise the money needed for expansion, we can continue to grow our events in the Mobile area,” Barnett said. “With a bigger store, we will have the space we need to showcase more local talent as well as bring in more known name artists and creators.”