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ComicLock Interview

Getting Into The Mind of a New Comic Product

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ComicLock Interview

ComicLock

Copyright ComicLock
There are a lot of fascinating things in the comic book world and new inventions are certainly one of them. Some are more impressive than the last and when I saw ComicLock, I was intrigued. The idea of a security display system for your comic books that could easily go in the living room with the rest of the art pieces was one that sounded like a great concept. I got a chance to interview Bill Zeuch, part of the team behind ComicLock and find out some more information behind the product and its creations.

Aaron Albert: How did you come up with the idea?
Bill Zeuch: Simple story really…I love comic books. I love to collect and over the years have acquired many books including X-Men #1 at a 9.0 grade and many other high grade collectible comic books. I have rare books that needed the correct environment that would not cause any wear and tear to the editions, as of course my fellow collectors did too. I have been hiding them away in boxes and closets over the years. Comic books are art and I have always wanted to display them but been very frustrated with the choices available from the basic functionality and design. I wanted something that could display my comic books, complement home or office decor, yet have them locked for peace of mind no matter where I am.

Seeing a story on the web a few years ago about Nicholas Cage having one of his key comic books stolen (whether urban legend or not) got me thinking. What did Nicholas Cage display his books in? I was sure he wasn’t displaying his books in a $20 plastic box frame shipped out of someone’s garage. I searched and searched and found nothing. Frustrated again, I just boxed up my books and tucked them away in the closet. I had a few books on the shelf displayed but not the rare ones.

A friend of mine and I have been collecting for many years and we decided now was the time. It was time to develop a product where a person could lock up their comic books, display behind a strong protective UV Acrylic, and a design where frames can be mounted on the outside so our books could be displayed in any room and look great! We spent enormous time, energy and care picking the right steel, locks, frame designs and UV acrylic glass. This included the fine details such as the right bolts and hinges to make ComicLock® live up to its promise – Protect and display beautifully.

Our friends and families might tell you we did this for us, but we truly believe that comic books are art and deserve a spot on the wall just as much as that Monet print or any other fine artwork.

Why is there a need for a comic display/safe system?
It all starts with the fact that people want to actually display their comic books just like any other art piece or wall art displayed throughout the house. The main reason behind the locking theme is peace of mind - Peace of mind that when you are out to dinner your kids or their friends can’t just pick up the book and look at it, or when friends and neighbors are over looking at your comic books they can’t pick-up and accidentally drop onto the floor. We included the lock to help add another level of protection as we say from “Evil Doers” along with hinges that are internal and acrylic glass that can’t be shattered or broken. I think what people need to understand is that we developed this so collectors that wanted to be able for once to showcase their comic books outside of their “man caves,” or closets we not only had to design something that our spouses would allow to be hung in any room but also give a strong sense of security. I mean let’s face it we all love to talk about our comic books with people but never willing to showcase for all of these types of reasons. Comic books are in fact art and the ComicLock® unit now gives a person the ability to display their comic books with approval and pride in any room throughout the house.

Do you think this is only for collectors of high end comic books?
We do not at all. People collect things and have emotional ties to their collectables and that is what makes them special. I have a Judge Dredd comic book that is worth about $5.00 and is in really bad shape that to me is priceless. In high school when my friends and I would drive around all the time and I used to make them take me to the comic book store in Cleveland, Ohio. I would always buy the latest Judge Dredd and read it as we drove around town together as friends year after year in the late 80s. Last year as I was going through my collection I found one of these books. Wrinkled and basically destroyed I carefully placed into a bag and board recalling all of the memories for those nights we drove around town. To me this comic book is priceless and I hang it even though it has little financial value. We all have a story like this and whether it’s a $5.00 book or a $30,000 book we display things based on our own emotion and memories.

Have you seen it used for anything other than comics? If so, what?
There are many types of collectables that the ComicLock® unit can be used to showcase. People get very creative using the ComicLock® unit once they see that with the frame options the display can be showcased in any room throughout their house matching any motif. Here are some categories we have seen the ComicLock® unit used to display:

  • Comic Books and graphic novels (Includes all CGC / PGX sized comics and any sized book from any era)
  • Comic Art
  • Magazines
  • Playbills from special Broadway shows and events
  • Sports trading cards
  • Collectable documents
  • Match Box & Hot Wheel collectable cars in packaging
  • Action figures depending on the overall size of the package
  • Knives
  • 45 records
Where there any hurdles to overcome in designing and manufacturing the ComicLock?
The major hurdles we had to overcome was in the development for getting the ComicLock® unit to be able to have the majority of the frames out in the industry fit onto this unit. And second was the internal mounting brackets for the comic books.

There are many frames available as we all know and we wanted to produce a unit that a person could purchase any frame style they want whether wide, ornate or non-ornate, modern or traditional, or any color if they so desired. The ComicLock® unit can hold almost any style 12 x 16 wood frame style. We offer 4 colors and styles for the collectors but people can get creative and purchase different frames.

The mounting brackets were the hardest to design. With all the different eras of comic books we all know they are all different sizes, and with the CGC and PGX graded books if people don’t know there are also 3 different sizes in plastic thickness based on the era. We developed the mounting brackets so that they could hold any book no matter what the size so the collector would never have to worry. We also use magnets with a pull force for 15lbs to ensure that the brackets will never slide or move around. Also, if a person puts a matte board in the back of the ComicLock® unit the brackets will also hold and not slide due to the cork backing.

It seems like you cover a lot of bases with the UV enclosed glass, removable frame, and magnetized comic holders. Tell me about the process of designing the ComicLock.
Our process for the design for ComicLock® started with the question, “What can we design that can be displayed in any style house and motif, will be accepted and loved by our spouses, and can add a level of security for a collector’s treasured comic book or collectable.

The outside design was one of the most important features and we researched all frames/styles and color patterns. We reviewed industry standard sizes for frames and wall art and chose the 12 x 16” frame that would fit well into any design element - And the fact that the frames are removable as trends change so can ComicLock® as new types of frames and styles could be purchased to change with the times.

Once we established the overall visual design for ComicLock® we then started working on the steps and key elements we wanted incorporated for the final design which included the acrylic UV glass, lock, weight & feel, material type for production, and how to build a more secure comic book display than what is being offered in the industry.

To keep “Evil Doers” out we made all of the rivets and joints welded from the inside and developed a hinge that is staked versus pinned so it can’t be taken apart. The system also comes with an internal acrylic glass frame securing all 4 sides of the acrylic so that it can’t be smashed in and no one can get in from the outside.

The next step in our process was the development for the patented mounting brackets. This took a lot of research and development to ensure that no matter what the era of comic book or size of any graded comic book it would fit within the brackets. We wanted these to be built as well as the overall unit and researched and tested the magnet strength on both steel and Matte boards - Matte boards can be used in the back of the display to add color elements inside their unit such as a red, blue or a yellow background as examples.

The brackets have cork on the backside that actually causes friction to deter the brackets from sliding or moving no matter what surface type they are applied to. The bracket color options we developed are black and silver knowing that these are the two main colors people chose for tying in with their current household design elements.

We wanted our customers to know that we took the time to develop the best comic book display system from both a structural and design viewpoint.

For people worried or concerned about the cost of the item, what would you say about that?
For the overall quality for the ComicLock® unit we feel the retail is a great value. We researched framing for art pieces, sports jersey cases, and many other types of displays one could purchase or have produced and $299 is below what a person would pay for these types of displays. People forget that the ComicLock® unit was not just developed to lock up a comic book or be a better option rather than a corrugate storage box. The ComicLock® unit was developed so that a person could now showcase their comic books or collectables in any room throughout their house. If you look at the ComicLock® design it can go into a dining room, family room, bedroom, or any main hallway in a house to name a few locations. The color frame options allow ComicLock® to fit any motif or home design element. It is actually a display piece that our spouses love and if you ask them what they spend on framing and other wall type displays you would be surprised at the great value ComicLock® offers.

Where can collectors purchase one?
Currently all collectors can purchase directly from www.comiclock.com and we also have featured on eBay and Amazon.com. Always search “Comic Book Locking Display Case.”

Will you be at any comic events so fans can check one out up close and personal?
In 2013 ComicLock will be at the following trade shows:

  1. MegaCon – Orlando, Florida March 15th – 17th
  2. Wizard World Comic Con events:
    • Chicago, IL / August 8, 9, 10 and 11th 2013
    • Philidelphia, PA / May 30, 31st and June 1, 2nd 2013
    • Columbus, Ohio / September 20, 21 and 22nd 2013
    • Austin, TX / November 22, 23 and 24th 2013
  3. Heroes Convention Charlotte, NC June 7th – 9th
  4. Baltimore Comic Con Maryland, September 7th and 8th
Thanks for taking the time in doing this interview.
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