Sometimes Ihate my peers in the comic retail industry. I had a lovely email this morning that read:
"I don't know what Warren Ellis did to my local retailer as a child but he refuses to stock any of his books.
"Best not to ask really, I was wondering if you had a copy of the second Global Frequency trade paperback."
Naturally I reply with the usual about how we are only to happy to help, that we stock all the Ellis backlist (including his Avatar and AiT/PLANETLAR stuff), and try and pimp a copy of Channel Zero while I am at it. I then ask which comic shop is prepared to alienate a pre-existing customer and a healthy sector of the comic industry (IE: Intelligent comic readers)...
"My local retailer is a nameless little shop in the mean back streets of Rhyl. It's a particularly ugly area of an unnecessarily ugly town with the unmistakable odour of faded dreams and warm desperation. Or that could be all the seagull dung."
And thats why I love this industry. Educated people that can see comics as what they really are, and are prepared to hunt out the really good stuff, even in the face of disparaging bigots.
The thing that really sucks about the industry:
Bad enough that comics are considered a niche market, but "true comic" fans are so quick to attack fellow comic readers if they step outside the very insular boundaries of what they think is acceptable.
If you read comics I am sure you have at some point encountered someone who says: "What do you read comics for? They are for kids?!?" in that strange, somewhat incredulous tone which sits somewhere between inquisitorial and accusational, but wihout commiting to one nore the other (because these people are weak and should die, for they cannot make this one, admitably very small decision on their own without TV to guide them). But you expect this from idiots.
So to then have comic fans ask: "What are reading that comic for?", which basically translates to "I don't read it, therefore it must be crap", in an environment which is suppose to cater to your hobby (a comic shop), really adds insult to injury.
Its just another cause of the abused becoming the abusers. A little taste of power in an otherwise stunted life.
Its like Manga fans who refuse to read American comics, or the American comics who refuse to read Humanoids. They are buying into an ideal, rather than buying a product, which - in a medium that prides itself on being counter-culture - IS JUST ANOTHER FORM OF CONFORMITY.
Yeah, we are all guilty to some degree, I, for example, refuse to stop buying X-Men and Uncanny because I have unbroken runs dating back to 1976, even though I havn't enjoyed X-Men for 5 years except Grant Morrions "New X-Men" and Joss Whedons "Astonishing X-Men".
But I will read Maus.
And Battle Royale.
Partly because I consider it part of my job, but mainly because I love the industry. I will read something on a recomendation, or a whim, not just because I have been reading it for 20 years and don't know otherwise.
And thats the difference between me and a "nameless little shop in the mean back streets of Rhyl".