The Feel Good Story of 2011

So here we are farewelling another year. I don’t know about you but there have been successes and failures; lessons learned and messages missed; I’ve accomplished more than I ever dreamed and underperformed like I never expected; I’ve been let down and have let people down; I have felt like I can take on the universe one day and then the next wanted to disappear without a trace.  In other words it has been like any other year.

To finish off the year I thought I would tell you about my favourite story of 2011.  I have two friends called Mitch and Troy.  I met them quite a few years ago when they used to work at Comics R Us on Bourke St.  Two cool cats that knew how to be nerds before hipsters appropriated it for a post ironic/full of shit world.  They read comics because they liked the stories but would roll their eyes if they were trapped in a conversation about who was stronger:  Superman or Thor, come on Superman is stronger yet he has a problem with magic so Thor yada yada yada.  Yet never once were they rude to their customers, instead joining in the conversations even when they had work to do.  When the debate was ended and the people involved dispersed they never rolled their eyes or made some derogatory comments to score some easy points with the cool kids, instead they’d just move on to the next item of the day.  They’re properly nice guys.

This year they decided they were going to open their own comic shop.  This was their dream as they had ideas and goals they couldn’t make come to fruition in someone else’s business.  Over the years they had saved their money to make their dream come true.  They scavenged fittings discarded from the Target super store that was in the middle of refurbishing and painted/repaired/brought back to life all the bits and pieces they needed.  They took risks with their finances to help them get to where they wanted to be.  Some paid off, a couple didn’t but they gave it all a go.

They told me at the end of last year they were going to open their store this year and being the financially conservative dude that I am I was a little worried.  Was this the right time to be opening a small business?  In the middle of a global downturn where the rich are getting richer and the poor can’t afford a picture let alone a picture frame was this the smartest moment to give it a go?  With the world of single-issue comics in disarray was this the best time to realise a dream?  I talked a little about my fears without trying to sound defeatist but they reassured me that this was the time to roll the dice and see what happens.

Well I can honestly say they have kicked it out of the ground.  The store, All Star Comics Melbourne, is a beauty and has already engendered a loyalty you normally find in businesses that have been around a lot longer.  Check out their site here.  They are smart with the way they approach their social media presence.  They have made good contacts outside of the comic book industry that allows them to flow over into different markets and bring those people and product to their store.  They give ideas a crack knowing it might not work but even if it doesn’t there will be more opportunities to give the next idea a go.  They’re living their dream because they took a punt and it has paid off.

They’re also really good guys and who doesn’t want to see good guys win?

That for me is the best story of the year.

Justin Hamilton

Fitzroy North

31st of Decemeber, 2011