The Comic Shop
B&L Comics in Parma was initially chosen as the place to shoot the store scenes in Hero Tomorrow, but a problem quickly arose. When we asked two of the major comic book publishers for permission to show their books and characters, they flat out rejected the notion of being seen in an indie film – they didn’t even want to read the script.
Instead of trying to cover/dodge/replace everything in B&L, we began to consider renting out a vacant storefront and potentially filling it with comics, posters and artwork that we could license or make ourselves.
I next sent an email to comic book writer Tony Isabella -- the former owner of downtown Cleveland’s legendary “Cosmic Comics” who also knew my Mom from days of working together at the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the 70s -- I explained our plight, and asked Mr. Isabella if he had any comic creations that we could legally show in the shop. He forwarded the letter to many of the comic industry greats, and the response was overwhelming. We got calls and emails from the likes of Bill Morrison, Chris Yambar, Bob Burden, Richard Starklings, Kurt Busiek, and many others.
Milo and I then attended SPACE (The Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus,) and met with dozens of creators/publishers who were kind enough to also donate works. (The nice thing about that was we were able to say, “Look at who’s already involved, etc.”) A few weeks later Jocelyn and I went to the giant Pittsburgh Comic Con where we continued to meet with publishers, including Chris Yambar and Mark Wheatley, who got a 'ton-more' people on board by taking us literally from table to table.
We next found a great vacant store front in Cuyahoga Falls on Front Street that at one time was, coincidentally, an actual comic shop. That tenant had even left some old comics in the dungy old basement– hardly a goldmine – lots of Barbie #1, X-Force variant cover BS – strictly 25-cent-bin kind of stuff. The comic book shelves came from Video Time Theater in Akron which was closing its Market Street location. We had some help creating some fictitious character posters, and Rich Klink added the final details with his original sculptures and statues.
Check out the comic shop productions stills for a peek at the end results.