Off Panel #289: Challenge(r)s with Patrick Brower

In this week’s episode of Off Panel, retailer Patrick Brower returns to the show to chat about the year that was for his shop, Challengers Comics + Conversation in Chicago. Brower discusses his own year, what happened with Challengers’ second shop, the year for the store overall, the volume of comics being released, new tactics, the need to change, explosive Wednesdays, new readers and disappearing pull list customers, the state of DC, the X-Men line, hopes for 2021, and more.

You can find Challengers on Twitter, Instagram and their website as well as in their store in Chicago.

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Thanks to the sponsor of this week’s podcast: Bad Idea! This new comics publisher is debuting in select comic shops worldwide on March 3rd, 2021 with Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite’s ENIAC #1, and they’re doing so a little differently than their peers, with each issue being oversized and ad-free with a bonus, B-side story in each as well. Even crazier? They don’t publish variants, trades, or digital versions of their comics, so if you want one or all of them, you’re going to have to find a Bad Idea retailer near you and be there on a Wednesday. Don’t have one near you? Pre-order online or explore your options for mail-order at Bad Idea’s site to make sure you don’t miss out on ENIAC or upcoming titles from creators like Zeb Wells, David Lafuente, Marguerite Bennett, and many more.

Also, big thanks to my patrons, including – but not limited to – Megan Marsden, Brandon De Pillis, Patrick Brower, Declan Shalvey, Dan Gearino, Josh WIlliamson, Atom Freeman, Ben Wild, Brian Klein-Q, S.B., Antonia Offen, Nick Bennett, Daniel Whitfield, Skottie Young, Susana Polo, Geoff Wira, Reed Hinckley-Barnes, Mario Tiambeng,, Andrew Kurita, Matt Mahoney, Charlie Chu, Stefan Hull, Penscaola Pop Comics, Kim Estlund, Phillip Maira, Christian Shelton, Kenny Porter, Chris Bachalo, Torunn Grønbekk, FuzBubbles, Christopher Ta, Transmitterdown, Walt’s Comics & Books, Carl Mizell, Danny Ollie, Paul Salaets, Akil Wilson, Alex Dimitropolous, Terry Dodson, Liana Kangas, Keigen Rea, Wesley Gift, Shawn Kirkham, Alister Ross, Julio Anta, Brett A. Schmidt, Jason Goodmanson, Paul Reinwand, Vita Ayala, Tara Ferguson, Dave Slusher, WMQ Comics, Akylle, Kokaachi, Phil White, Shaun Pinello, Kent Heidelman, Phillip Sevy, Al Ewing, Ryan Alcock, David Kelley, Robert Wilson IV, Nick Poleto, Eoin McCready, Brenden Fletcher, Gary Moloney, Jonathan Nilsson, Matthew Groom, Jason Nassi, Adam Bogert, Matthew Taylor, Nick Pitarra, Jacob Sareli, Ford Gilmore, David Baroldy, Nick Hall, Bjorn Basen, John Hendrick, Steve Anderson, Ian Maxfield, Cliff Chiang, Benjamin Schipper, Colin McMahon, Chris Palmer, Scott McGovern, Nathan Fairbairn, Cat McKenzie, Adam Highfill, Fiona Staples, Chris O’Halloran, Mark Abnett, Mike Murphy, Michael Shirley, Tom Barnett, Jim Demonakos, Norbert, Nick Lowe, James Kaplan, and Mission: Comics and Art in San Francisco. You’re all the best.

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Header art is from the front of Challengers Comics + Conversation. Off Panel’s theme music is an original track by custom music agency Upright T-Rex Music, written and performed specifically for the podcast. A huge thanks to Ross and Cody from Upright T-Rex Music for putting the track together!