Since Scott and Bill would be doing most of this recollecting I though I would put what I could remember. Lil 6 Corners refers to a strip I was going to and still will with Bill about the shop in a "Peanuts meeets Calvin and Hobbes" sort of way.
The Story behind “lil 6 Corners”
Sleepless in Chicago
Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
I first heard about Collectors’ Image whilst still employed at Capital City Distribution. What I had heard should had made me realize dealing with these people would lead down dark paths. For one thing the owners, Rick and Matt did not have the greatest of reputations with Capital, Rick had owned a couple of shops before and had left books with us that he couldn’t pay and so we were stuck with them and had to sell at a loss. Matt also had had some money problems but my boss Denny seemed to like him, Denny thought he was a good egg just too much of a fan-boy and not enough business suave.
I was to become friendly with Matt myself and at one point went to his shop to talk to his staff about how Capital ran it’s business and how we treated the customers it was here I first met Bill and Scott. The store which they had just moved into I could see great possibilities for the place, but of course I was with Capital so I didn’t think much more than that also impressed me.
Anyway after I got canned from Capital (chapter 3.5) I ended up getting a job at CI. Bill and I became co-managers and were in charge of how to promote the shop.
Before I go on let me expand on Matt and Rick. Matt like I said was a fan-boy with grandeur of being a kingpin in Chicago’s specialty realm, he was going to have the greatest store ever. Rick, well Rick was the "accountant" and seemed to be
only out for himself, Bill and I thought we could keep an eye on him and he would be harmless. Ha! More on that in another tale.
The first sign of trouble was the infamous Bat-Fest, which was being co-sponsored by an outfit call 4th Gear that Matt and Rick knew they were to supply the guests and location we were to sell the tickets and do the PR. Well things looked good they had Adam West and Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin. They were to get Burt Ward and even Jim Carey since this was the time of the 2nd Bat-flick.
I got a magazine called FilmFax to do an article and attend the event, I called an artist I met once named Bernie Wrightson who was doing a Batman/Aliens crossover for DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics (Bernie was the co-creator of Swamp Thing), and asked if he’s be interested in attending in the mean time the shop was getting great response from the ticket sales (we had been told a lot of tickets had been presold to a Batman Fan Club whose membership was quite large). So we thought this was going to be a big even…THEN!
First sign of trouble was Burt Ward was never signed to attend even though he was on the flyer, also 4th Gear owner Rocco told us the rest of the actors wanted more up front money and that all his investment was in the location and the flights or some such thing. Matt said no prob he would foot the money since he figured we get it back with all the tickets being sold to that Fan Club. Rocco had also promised me he would fly Bernie and his wife up to Chicago.
Well all of a sudden Rocco can't get the tickets and this is like a week before the event but he would try well Bernie had a deadline to keep but had moved it to do this gig, his wife was also his manager was not too thrilled and was quite irate, but Rocco promised he would come thru. Well eventually Rocco didn’t and Bernie was told not to come of course we were all threatened with legal action and I was quite upset that one of my childhood heroes was mad at me. Rocco said he would fix it…hmmm.
The big day arrives..now at this point my memory is not too good (probably deliberate mental block so ask Aaron he was there helping to get tickets from the customers. Well Jim Carey never showed because Rocco never got him as a guest, Rocco was also to get props from the movie and of course that never happened either. Adam West Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin showed but they didn’t stay long or were charging extra for autographs which we had been led to believe they wouldn’t because of the extra money Matt had given. The worst of all the only people who showed were ones that bought tickets thru us, The Batman Fan Club people didn’t sell any nor had they ever said they would be. The people who did show were so mad because of things that were promised weren’t there and that the actors were charging for autographs they wanted their money back.
Needless to say it was a disaster and CI lost it’s shirt, which boded for darker times ahead, I found out later Rocco had done this to them before but they thought he had changed. Of course Rocco and his buddies at 4th Gear left town and of course there were no contracts so we ended up giving people back their money.
Two good things came out of this Julie Newmar and the writer from Film Fax would let it be known it was not CI’s fault for what happened, though it followed us for years.
NEXT TIME: GWAR and PIECES