Sunday, March 08, 2015

Q&A with Kevin Bednarz

by Matt Dembicki
Kevin Bednarz is an entrepreneur residing in Northern Virginia who next month is opening a unique comics store, Comic Logic, in Ashburn, Va. Below is a brief Q&A with Kevin.

Your new store will be a bit atypical for a comics retailer, in that it will not only sell comics, but also original comics art and it will host comics-making classes/workshops. How did that idea develop?
Kevin Bednarz in his new
store during buildout.

We want the store experience to be unique. First and foremost, we will stay true to the loyal customers with our wide selection of new titles and quality trade paperbacks. However, as we progress, we will not only display and sell artwork, but we are developing comic style art classes for kids and also adults. The idea came from a place where so many comic store customers are also fans of artwork, like they may pick up at a con, so why not bring a variety of local artists’ work right to them in a store/gallery setting? I think we will create more unique events and programs as we develop ourselves as a company, not just a store.

Can you give us a few more details about the classes/workshops and the type of art that youd like to sell?

We are formulating the classes and events slowly, trying to seek out what our customers may want. For example, we are developing a “Drink & Draw” night where people can come in and learn to draw a superhero or character while pairing up with a local brewery and serving craft beer and appetizers while we draw. We think creating a social atmosphere will only increase our brand loyalty, but create some new friendships in this amazing world of comics and pop culture.

The artwork we will display will be comic-centric, but the possibilities are endless with so many great local artists who have already expressed interest in displaying work here. One night “pop up” art shows will be another event coming in the near future.

You yourself are an artist. Can you tell us a little about your background and projects?

A new series of artwork Bednarz
 finished for the shop.
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I graduated with a design degree and started two graphic design companies over the years. I now do very little commercial work and am focusing on projects I want to paint, really just for fun. You will see some of my new stuff in the shop, large-scale canvases, custom skate decks, and more. My style is a graphic urban style of pop art and comic book-type work, that's the only way I can best describe it!

How did you get interested in comics?

My older cousin had a big box of Golden and Silver Age books he would let me read as a young kid, and then I started begging my mom to buy me more each week. Not only did I love to read them, but I loved to try and DRAW them. I got out of the game a bit in college, but soon after, I picked up a few books again, and in the last 5 to 10 years, I have really built up my collection. I love it.

As an owner of two businesses (Artist and the owner of the AshburnPub), how will those experiences help you run your new venture? How are they different?

I think a lot is actually the same. In the art and comic world, your audience tends to be a bit more introverted, and in the bar business, it’s more extroverted. But there is a common ground there in the way to go about being successful.

Treat people right, give them a great product at a fair price, promote new and creative ideas and events, try new things and have fun.

Also, most important, is to surround yourself with a great staff of partners and employees. I couldn't be more excited about the staff at Comic Logic. Rich Golhoffer and Stephanie Blodgett have extensive backgrounds in the business, but my partner and general manager, Rob Kaylin, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. He is the real driving force behind what we think is going to be a very successful, unique and fun comic book shop.

Comic Logic opens April 25. What are some things you have set for opening day?

We have the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and town officials on hand for a plaque presentation and a ribbon-cutting at noon. We also will have on hand the NOVA Roller Derby girls, members of the 501st Star Wars Garrison Tyranus, The Hater Nation show, The Nerd Church Podcast, and artist Jerry Gaylord, who is working on the new Bill & Ted book. We will have some giveaways, raffle prizes and other special guests too. It’s going to be a big day.  

Grand opening flier

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