Legendary Mile High Comics Owner Chuck Rozanski Interview
About Mile High Comics:
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mile_High_Comics) In 1969, when Chuck Rozanski was 13, he began working out of his parents’ Colorado basement, selling back issues of comic books by running mail order ads in the magazine Rocket’s Blast Comicollector. The following year, he began promoting comics as the youngest seller ever to exhibit at the Colorado Springs Antiques Market. In 1971, he founded the Colorado Springs Comics Club. The following year, he attended his first national comics convention, Multicon in Oklahoma City, where he sold $1,800 USD in comics in three days. It was this point that he realized comics retailing could be a career.
Rozanski opened his first store in Boulder, Colorado in 1974 with $800 in cash and 10,000 comics. By 1977, he had expanded to four stores in the greater Denver area. In December of that year, he purchased the Edgar Church Collection, the largest and highest-quality Golden Age comics collection ever discovered. The cache had been preserved due to the unvarying 60 degree temperature and minimal humidity, and consisted of 16,000 comic books dating from 1937 to 1955, including the first Superman comic and the first Marvel Comic. The purchase of the Church Collection helped Mile High Comics expand its influence nationally, and helped bring a geometric rise to the price of rare comic books, which became a legitimate investment. Rozanski once sold a batch of comics from the Church Collection and used the profits to put a down payment on a 22,000 square-foot warehouse.
In 1977, Mile High Comics consisted of three locations.
In 1979 Rozanski purchased Richard Alf Comics’ mail order division, with which he gained systems and methods for greatly expanding his mail order sales. In 1980, Rozanski purchased a double-page ad in mainstream Marvel comics, listing prices for back issues he had for sale. This ad, which was the first of its kind, was a departure from the general practice of the time for its inclusion of prices, which Rozanski explains was a way to educate non-collectors as to the value of their collections. The ad affirmed that back issues were a valid commodity for the collector’s market, and lead not only to a boom to Mile High Comics, but to the entire back issue market. In 1991 Rozanski opened the first comics mega-store in Denver, which measured 11,000 square feet. The company eventually expanded to eight stores, and grew to become one of most successful comics specialty shops in the United States.
Mile High Comics frequently placed ads in Marvel comics in the 1980s listing back issues of comic books that could be purchased through the mail. By 1987 the company was generating $3.5 million a year in sales.
Mile High Comics extended its mail-order business to the Internet in the late 1990s. At one time, the company had 13 stores in Colorado as well as a “megastore” in Orange County, California, but has since closed most of the retail locations in favor of Internet sales.
In July 2014 Rozanski announced Mile High Comics would likely end its four-decade long history of appearances at the San Diego Comic-Con, due to the proliferation of convention-exclusive variants offered by publishers and toy manufacturers to convention attendees, many of whom Rozanski criticized for attending the convention solely to acquire those exclusives in order to resell them at a higher prices on eBay. Rozanski further criticized publishers for denying these exclusives to retailers, which Rozanksi estimates cost Mile High Comics $10,000 of losses at the convention. Rozanski said that Mile High would continue its presence at other conventions such as Denver Comic Con, where Mile High’s hourly sales were double those at San Diego, despite the fact that the Denver convention yielded half the attendance of San Diego.