Locally owned 99 Issues Comics Books & Gaming is opening a 1,400-square-foot second location in Daphne at the Jubilee Pointe Shopping Center in mid-October with a grand opening planned for Nov. 1.

The industry celebrity signing autographs at its grand opening — that any self-respecting graphic novel geek will know — is Steven Butler, well-known artist who’s handled illustration chores for heavyweight publishers Marvel and DC on the likes of Spiderman, X-Men and Superman.

99 Issues is a relatively new business to the area; their first location opened March, 2013 at the University Village Shopping Center across from USA campus. Along with FOS Comics, the two stores are the only ones locally catering to the growing collector’s market for comics, graphic novels and related merchandise.

Growing popularity of the genre for investors and speculators is largely due to superhero movies becoming the defining product of contemporary Hollywood, according to Entertainment Weekly, with a multi-billion dollar industry sprouting up over the past decade. (2012’s Avengers movie alone earned $1.5 billion at the box office).

Another equally interesting anomaly is the fact that comics, in essence, are a 75-year-old print medium. The fact that a company in this space is successful enough to open a second locale in a relatively short amount of time is noteworthy.

“Digital will eventually take over the news and book formats. What will save comics from the slow death of digital, is the fact that comics are also collectors’ items. A high percentage of readers purchase the comic, read it once, and then put it away to save. The numbering format, as well as 75 years of continuity, give us an advantage against the digital era,” owner Chris Barnett said.

“Most physical copies of comic books include a code that allows the reader to download the digital copy for free from their website. My feeling is that digital and paper can live together in peace feeding off of each other. Downloads attract casual readers that may not ever visit a comic book store. Diehard fans who can’t afford X-men #1 could buy it via Amazon Kindle and enjoy it all the same,” he said.

With a year-to-date average sales growth of 223 percent since the original store’s groundbreaking, Barnett is optimistic about the future of his business and reception of the locale in Baldwin County.

“Based on how well Daphne is received, we are looking at possibly opening a third store 2nd quarter of 2015. It will be located in Mobile,” Barnett said.

U.S. Export-Import Bank voices supports for Airbus manufacturing

According to a recent Reuters report, the head of the U.S. Export-Import Bank recently said that they would provide financing for exports of Airbus-manufactured airliners, provided they were assembled in the United States with sufficient content from domestic suppliers.

“We’re about U.S. jobs,” Fred Hochberg, chairman and president the Export-Import Bank told Reuters during an Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington. “We have no national treasures,” Hochberg said, in a reference to Airbus arch rival Boeing Co. “Every company is a national treasure.”

The bank, which supports loans for domestic manufacturers selling products to foreign businesses, is currently at the center of a political battle over whether or not Congress should renew their authority to operate, expiring on Sept. 30. About 46 percent of the bank’s total financial exposure is for jetliners made by Boeing, according to U.S. Government Accountability Office numbers.

The Airbus USA factory, currently under construction in Mobile to produce commercial jets and due to start making deliveries in 2016, was mentioned in the article. “While Airbus intends to sell the aircraft to U.S. airlines, there would be no restriction against American export credit support for foreign airlines buying U.S.-manufactured Airbus planes,” Hochberg told Reuters.

“To the extent that the Airbus plane is actually made here, we could support those exports that are made in the United States,” he said.

Airbus has stated in the media previously that the U.S. supplies more than 40 percent of its aircraft related purchasing, including engines.

Gallery 450 opens downtown

Gallery 450, Port City Realty, LA Fotographee and Crush Imaging Studios have joined forces in a shared work environment at 450 Dauphin St.

The co-working community space was created for startup businesses, creative freelancers and other artists needing available space to use in the Downtown area according to Ivey Welch, associate broker at Port City Realty.

“Gallery 450 is an art gallery featuring artists from across the southeast. Occasionally, the gallery will feature special guest artists from all over the world. They plan on having something new interesting, and fun at each monthly art walk, plus the gallery will have regular hours during the week,” Welch said. 

Port City Realty recently opened their fourth office within the 450 Dauphin St. locale and is a Mobile-based real estate firm specializing in residential and historical properties, condos, land, distressed properties and foreclosures.

LA Fotographee is a locally owned studio specializing in wedding photography and Crush Imaging Studios is a local graphic design, printing, photography and videography firm.  

According to Welch, 450 Dauphin Street currently has plenty of room ready to be rented out for special events and more information about how their shared work environment operates is available to the public.

WMH Emeritus Partner remembered

Emmett Cameron, CPA, Emeritus Partner of Wilkins Miller Hieronymus, LLC (WMH), recently passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 at the age of 90.

Cameron is survived by his wife, Louise, their two children, Joe and Beth, and several grandchildren.

Cameron attended The University of Alabama earning a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Taxation. He worked with the Internal Revenue Service from 1948 to 1979 where he served on the IRS Commissioner’s staff and was the Chief of the Audit Division for the State of Virginia, where he was responsible for 400 agents and 24 attorneys.

After retiring from the IRS, he joined Pannell Kerr Foster and was a founding shareholder of Wilkins Miller Stalcup Galle Brown and Cameron PC in 1991, a predecessor firm of WMH. 

In 1963, alongside Dr. Thomas Wood, Cameron served as an adjunct professor and taught some of the first accounting courses offered at The University of South Alabama.  In 1989, he worked to establish the Masters in Taxation Program for Spring Hill College, developing material used in the program as well as teaching tax courses.