is ceasing operations on April 30, 1999. This brings to a close
twelve years of exceptional service from owner Ed Zolna.
For over a
decade Mailbox Books has served as the premiere source for anthropomorphic
animal publications, first in North America, and later to the
world at large. Ed's mail order Vast Catalog of Other Good
Stuff! gave fans the convenience of one stop shopping for
comic books, magazines, portfolios, single prints, and even the
occasional roleplaying game.
carried professionally produced publications such as Usagi Yojimbo,
the vast majority of its stock was amateur or fan created material.
This served both the creators and the audience of such publications
very well. Typically these zines and portfolios are the smallest
of the small press, often having print runs of less than 100 copies.
low numbers, distribution has often spotty at best. It's very
common for a fanzine or sell published and self printed comic
book to be available only within a single province or state. But
Mailbox Books gave these works a wide distribution. The creators
got their work out to more interested customers, and fans were
able to discover work that they normally would never have even
lamenting the loss of Mailbox Books, I want to congratulate Ed
Zolna for all his hard work. Here's just a few of the things about
Mailbox Books that have impressed me over the years.
speedy responses. Whenever I mailed an order to Ed, I
always got it delivered to me with two weeks. Later, when
Ed got set up to receive email, he usually replied to that
within one or two days.
frequent updates. Ed sent his customers regular updated
listings to the Vast Catalog every quarter, and sometimes
even once a month. This meant getting new stuff sooner, and
being less likely to miss out on items with very limited availability.
backstock of publications. Many times I was able to fill
holes in my comic book collection. When I discovered a new
magazine or comic through Mailbox, I was usually able to get
all the previous issues as well.
friendliness. Whether it was by letter, email, or chatting
with him in person at conventions, I've always found Ed to
be very personable and professional.
I want to thank Ed for stocking and selling Fang, Claw,
& Steel since its very first issue!
At the time
I write this, there are a number of proposals making the rounds
for a replacement or alternative to Mailbox Books. These range
from small press zines offering each other advertising space,
or the creation of a small press ring on the Internet, all the
way up to the possibility of someone purchasing Ed Zolna's entire
stock and reincarnating Mailbox Books under a new name. Whether
any of these ideas takes hold remains to be seen.
& Steel will continue. New and back issues will still
be available from the address on the inside front cover. Starting
with next issue, FC&S will also be offering prepaid
to feel a little strange not sending my usual stack of copies
to Mailbox, though. So this issue is dedicated to the departing
Mailbox books, and to Ed Zolna, a swell guy!