I have a love/hate relationship with comics. I grew up on ’em as a DC Comics Kid (Marvel didn’t do it for me), and they were especially important to me as an “escape” during some dark times of my youth. If you’d have asked me around ’87-’88, I’d likely have told you that one day I would grow up to write and draw comic books. I did achieve the former, and would LOVE to write comics again one day – particularly a SUPERMAN title. I’m sitting on a ton of ideas, and may even do a Children’s title, which really brings me to the importance of comic books now. But, producing comics has become ridiculously expensive for an independent, and like any business – there’s vultures around every corner, eager to devour any morsel of cash they can. That’s kept me away from it for a few years.
I want my daughter (soon to be plural) to experience comic stores.
As a kid, going to “All American Comics” in Park Forest was a weekly treat – the highlight of any week, really. A trip to the “better” store in Homewood (drawing a blank on the name) was an epic adventure. The way things are headed in this digital age, and there’s very few spots left where we currently live. But there is one, and I want the munchkin to start getting a feel for it. Today was the perfect day, and here’s why…
FREE titles from YO GABBA GABBA!, TINKERBELL, PEANUTS, and more. Perfect books for kids, to encourage reading and enjoyment.
Unlike some of the awesome reports I’ve heard elsewhere on the social networks today, there was no massive line outside – nor special signings or celebrity appearances at our local comic shop, whose name I will not mention, because I don’t want to hurt ’em – I’d like people to shop there, but our experience wasn’t particularly great.
It was completely ‘Eh.”
Inside, there were a decent amount of people, and a small line overall. It was enough people that it was definitely cramped. What I liked was that there were parents with little kids in there, and that’s very important in keeping the spirit alive. What was disappointing is that the Free Comics this year were limited to “2 books per person.” I missed the small sign off to the side, and was scolded by an employee when I started loading up – not with every book – but with ones for Addie 1st, and a couple for me on the side. I understand wanting to “make the books last” as long as possible (hey, share the wealth!), so this was an example of “It’s not what was said, but how they said it.”
The guy was a dick.
And my wife noted that more than I did.
I politely started putting books back… no AVENGERS, NEW 52, TRANSFORMERS, or STAR WARS for me. With three of us there, we picked six books to fall within the limit. YO GABBA GABBA, a Disney Fairies TINKERBELL/SMURFS split, ANNA & FROGA/MOOMIN split, SUPERMAN FAMILY/GREEN LANTERN Animated/YOUNG JUSTICE sampler, PEANUTS/ADVENTURE IN TIME split, and an awesome hardcover from Archaia called MOUSE GUARD: LABYRINTH AND OTHER STORIES. A good little score.
But we looked around and ultimately decided not to buy anything. Frankly, I’m tired of being abused by people, and I don’t need to be scolded. I can be politely told, asked, or corrected. From what I’ve read online, limits were common this year – and that’s totally cool. I’m sure treating customers well is also a common practice. I saw some things I would’ve gladly purchased, and probably will one day.
This is just an example of how not to treat a family that made a special trip out of their way to visit your store.
Plus, my wife noted that “few things are worse than a dicky comic nerd.” Very true.
Most people never know that I’m planning to blog about an experience when they encounter me, either.
For participating stores for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, check out http://www.freecomicbookday.com
LATER THAT DAY…