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Author Topic: Just bought my first comic from a comic shop today...  (Read 11673 times)
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Gangbuster
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« on: January 17, 2006, 02:53:36 AM »

I have four seasons of Smallville, two of the Animated Series, one of the Adventures of Superman, four animated movies, and the Max Fleischer cartoons. I have Kingdom Come and other assorted graphic novels, the Great Superman Book (and Quiz Book), the Man of Tomorrow Archives, and the Superman Radio Show (and scripts.)

However, I have never purchased a new comic book from a comic shop, until today. I bought All-Star Superman #1, a feat frought with hardships:

- When I went to the localest comic shop available to me, it was closed. However, I couldn't really tell whether it was..so I went in anyway. The shopkeeper said that she's closed on Monday, but was cleaning and didn't mind if I looked around.

-After yelling "we're closed!" at some teenagers who came in, she told me that All-Star Superman hadn't come in yet. I told her that it had been out for a couple of months, and she said she didn't have it.

-I found All-Star Superman and went to the counter, also getting a large comic box. The total was around $9.60...so she pointed me to a sign that said no credit card purchases below $10! Fortunately, my girlfriend had come into the store and had some cash.

Now that I've survived buying a comic at a comics shop, I have to say that All-Star Superman is really good. It has all the classic elements of Superman in it... a new power, Superman's "Last Day of Life," and Lex Luthor done just right. I really like this comic...but I still maintain that it's really hard to buy them!
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2006, 04:14:13 AM »

My local shop closed here in NYC and I odnt have the time to run around so I just ordered A*S*S* 2 online from Midotown comics.

Who needs the aggravation and the fannish chatter?

Gimme my funny books and Im outta here...
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Permanus
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2006, 09:28:17 AM »

I took a break from buying comic books that lasted several years, but now I quite regularly go to Forbidden Planet here in London. It's a weird sort of place, full of overpriced statuettes, T-shirts, videos and toys, and one of the girls at the checkout has more tattoos than a sailor. Man, that place makes me feel old. I still prefer to go there than to order comic books online, though, because it's the best way to pick up little gems that I might otherwise have overlooked.

By the way, that's the first time I've seen All-Star Superman expressed as an acronym... Now I know why.
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 01:11:28 PM »

I liked browsing in stores myself much more than online - but then I usually end up spending more than intended!
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 01:25:24 PM »

Oh, tell me about that... I spend money on comics I hate! I will never forgive Ultimate Avengers for their stupid Bush-era francophobia, but for some reason I still pick it up.
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shazamtd
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2006, 02:49:16 PM »

I haven't bought any new comics in I don't know how long.  The stories to me just don't seem like any fun.  If I do buy anything it's back issues or reprints of them.
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nightwing
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2006, 04:19:06 PM »

With the constant speculation about why comics don't sell like they used to, I wonder how many people have had the guts to come right out and admit that experiences like yours are not uncommon; that, to be blunt, comics shops can themselves be a major turn-off to potential new readers.

One of the things American consumers have come to rely on is the ability to walk into a store in one city, or state, and have pretty much the same experience they would in any other city or state.  A McDonald's in North Carolina is going to be pretty much like one in North Dakota, for instance.  You also expect a certain degree of civility, politeness and professionalism from store clerks...it may be forced on them in annoying corporate seminars, but by gum you do tend to get used to it and even appreciate it.

At comic shops, the very definition of a mom-and-pop, independently run franchise, you can't count on any of that.  Here in Richmond (VA) we have a number of shops, and every one of them provides a different experience.  One of them is a huge affair, actually three old shops in a strip mall connected to each other to make one big shop.  A third of it is old books and the rest is comics and related merchandise.  It's an old place, with the unmistakable smell of yellowing pulp paper, tons of trades and hardbacks stuffed onto shelves every which way with little effort made at organization, pegs and shelves full of toys, some of them old and shoddy relics of someone's last garage sale (think old Mego figures with scuffed paint jobs and tattered capes and you get the idea); others are new but relatively "rare" figures and vehicles scalped off the toy aisles at Target and slapped with a ridiculous mark-up (if you've ever wondered how brand new toys can be "rare," it's because of places like this).  There are hundreds of long-boxes full of comics, mostly Bronze Age and almost uniformly in bad shape.  I've seen books there that had the kind of water damage, tears and scribbles on them that, if they were my books, would have earned them a spot in the trash can, but here they're poly-bagged and offered for ridiculous sums.  Except for the impossibility of finding a bargain, this place gives the feel of a flea market, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your personality, but for me it's the kind of place that would be run by that obnoxious kid in grade school who always undervalued the trade value of your cards and comics while insisting his own were priceless.  On the other hand, if you can get over all that, the staff is helpful...if you don't mind over-paying for a book once they find it.

Another shop is the near-opposite; everything is meticulously organized into neat sections, every book is bagged the second it arrives and practically enshrined on a shelf.  This is the place run by that kid you knew in grade school who bought Star Wars figures and refused to take them out of the box, ever.  Once I bought a book here and the guy almost didn't let me have it...it was an import dealing with the Avengers TV show.  The guy realized it was his last copy and as he held it in one hand while the other hovered over the cash register, you could watch the struggle in his mind...do I let this go or keep it on display?  Finally, grudgingly, he let me have it.  Another time I bought a Calvin and Hobbes poster created for store displays (Bill Waterson never authorized C&H "merchandise" of any kind) and I got a lecture before the guy rang it up.  "I hope you're not planning on giving this to a kid...this is a very rare item...frame it and care for it"  On the rare occasions I enter this place, I'm immediately swooped down upon by one employee or the other, all asking what I'm looking for and how can they help, and coming across like that annoying little dog in the cartoon who says, "I'm your pal, right Spike?  You and me are buddies, right?"  This guy is a major dealer in back issues who advertises nationally in Marvel Comics, but his shop, packed as it is with comics, toys and the latest fad (pogs, Magic cards, whatever) is about the size of a phone booth, which makes it hard to get to stuff no matter how well organized, and impossible to avoid those clerks.

Another shop has a laid-back staff, which is cool for a guy like me who likes to browse unassaulted, but they also can't be bothered to unpack half their boxes and a display area in the center of the store has, for the last 8 years or so, just been a place to stack cases of folded t-shirts and cardboard boxes the contents of which must forever remain a mystery (they all say "Diamond Distributors" on the outside, but beyond that who knows).

Eventually you find the shop that best suits your temperament and you stick with it.  But it's a dicey proposition at best entering a new shop...you never know what you'll find.  Comics collectors can be an exclusive lot, people who live and breathe their obsession but seem to ward off anyone new from joining in.  And I'll bet good money that more than one parent has brought their kids into a shop only to have a negative experience and judge all comic shops by that one bad one.

Thank heaven for online resources like Tales Of Wonder and DCBS that take all the icky personal interaction out of the equation and give you a big discount, besides.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2006, 04:35:43 PM »

Sure sounds a lot different than me begging my mom to toss a new comic in the basket at Woolworth's in 1968... Cool
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