Grand Island’s B&S Comics connects artists with publishers worldwide, sells rare titles | Grand Island Local News

An enterprise based in Grand Island, B&S Comics is more than an online retailer of rare and classic comic books.

Owners Bob and Brittney Lawson connect artists directly with opportunities to work with major publishers and have their art seen worldwide.

B&S works with such publishers as Image, Dynamite, AfterShock and Counterpoint.

Many comic books have alternate or “variant” covers for collectors and as exclusives.

B&S co-owner Brittney Lawson holds an issue of Image Comics’ “Department of Truth” #14, whose variant cover by B&S artist David Sanchez of Texas depicting Tupac Shakur, done in charcoal, is so realistic it drew concerns from the Tupac Foundation. The issue with the B&S exclusive cover has sold out of copies.

Independent/Brandon Summers

Since March 2021, B&S artists have produced 36 covers.

“It’s pretty crazy. We never thought we could do one exclusive, let alone 36 in a year’s time,” said Bob Lawson.

A new title, Twig, will have 61 variants for its first issue, including one by B&S artist Martin Zavala of Colorado.

“You try to be out of the gate. You want to be one of the first ones, because if yours is good, it’s noticed and it does well. After that, it trickles down,” said Brittney Lawson.

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B&S gets a list of titles from publishers every month. They select the ones they like and contact their artists. An approval process follows.

“We form an agreement with the publisher, give them the proposed cover artist,” Brittney said. “They check (the artist) out. The team working on this book likes their work. Go ahead and have them do a quick sketch, we’ll check it out. We go through inks, colors. Once it’s done and approved, it goes to print.”

Once done, B&S becomes the only retailer that has that cover available. The titles are shipped worldwide: to Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico.

“We’re the only ones you can buy it from,” Bob said. “This issue is available to anybody, but this cover is available only through us.”

B&S has connections with as many as 15 artists, and currently five are doing work.

B&S Comics log

Due to the pandemic, most of the opportunities are for the first issues of new titles.

“Since the beginning of this year all we can do is new No. 1 books, so we’re getting on a lot of stuff nobody knows about,” Bob said.

A cover for “Department of Truth” #14 (Image) boasts a B&S cover by David Sanchez of Texas, which depicts Tupac Shakur, and a gold chain with the B&S initials.

The B&S logo appears on the back.

The realistic portrait of Shakur caused some trouble for B&S, Bob noted.

“The Tupac Foundation reached out to us about this cover,” he said. “Most of these artists record the whole process. We actually had to send the video to the Tupac Foundation proving that it wasn’t a copy. It’s all charcoal.”

B&S is also an online retailer, selling Golden Age through modern titles.

Among their CGC graded and sealed titles, they have “Amazing Spider-Man” #361 to 363, the first appearance of Carnage, the popular super-villain recently depicted in the 2021 sequel to the Sony Pictures movie “Venom.”

They also have Marvel’s “Avengers” #1, graded at 3.0.

The company, which officially launched in 2020, started because Bob Lawson was helping a friend buy and sell comics and toys.

As NASCAR fans, Bob and Brittney were especially interested in diecast collectibles.

“I never knew comics were as big of a thing as they are,” Brittney said. “We watch the movies and stuff, because we have kids, but I never got into reading or collecting the comics. But you start diving into this world and you get to meet the artists and know them, and watch them do their craft, and that’s the greatest part.”

B&S is also instrumental in coordinating Grand Theater’s annual Comic Fest.

Few alternatives exist, as Omaha canceled or reduced its events due to the pandemic, and nearest conventions are in Kansas City or Denver, maybe Minneapolis.

B&S Comics

B&S co-owner Bob Lawson holds a CGC graded and sealed copy of Marvel’s “Amazing Spider-Man” #361, the first appearance of villain Carnage. B&S not only connects artists with comics publishers to do variant covers, the Grand Island company is also an online retailer of classic and new comic books.

Independent/Brandon Summers

It is a busy weekend for Bob, who works behind the scenes up to and during the festival.

“I deal with the artists directly, the shows, the contracts. I run my butt off all weekend. It was great,” he said. “I really enjoyed myself.”

All of the artists who appeared at “Comic Fest 4” on March 26 have committed to return next year.

They’re not the only ones.

“We had 15-plus artists Sunday and Monday who reached out to us and said they wanted to be put down for the show next year, and that’s all people who weren’t there. So really, we’re looking at 30-plus artists for next year’s show,” Bob said.

The best part of any event is the people, Brittney added.

“It’s the connections you make with them and the experiences, being at the shows and having people come in the door and enjoy that experience as much as we enjoy it,” she said.

B&S does not have a brick-and-mortar location. The Lawsons operate primarily from their home.

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