§ May 6th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

Here are a couple more items for my list of Things Not to Say to A Comic Shop Employee:

21. “Our new superhero is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman done right!”

22. “Did you see [the new movie that just opened that day] yet?” (usually asked immediately after we open first thing in the morning) [from Chris Brown]

23. “Slow day, huh?” (only asked by the first customer who comes during the lull after a big rush)

24. “Hey, I’m buying a lot of stuff — how ’bout a discount?” (“a lot” usually = $20 worth of merchandise or so) [I was reminded of this one by Greg at Viper Comics]

25. “Will you give me a dollar for the bus?” (not “will you make change,” but “give me money.” I had a guy come in nearly every day for a couple weeks asking us that)

Okay, now here are a couple true stories:

1. I was in a Los Angeles comic shop (no, not that one) with a friend of mine, and for some reason, as I was talking with him, the topic of Barry Windsor-Smith came up. I mentioned something about Windsor-Smith drawing those early Conan comics, and one of the store’s employees piped up with “no, that’s Barry Smith. Windsor Smith drew Little Nemo in Slumberland!” I’m not often dumbfounded….

2. A couple years back, a customer brings up the newest issue of the “KISS” comic book and started talking to me about how great it is that there’s all this new KISS stuff coming out. I replied, absolutely without any malice, that it was very interesting that a band that was once big and popular could fade away for several years then come back so strongly.

The customer then got very angry with me, shook his finger at me and proclaimed “KISS NEVER FADED AWAY! THEY WERE ALWAYS POPULAR!”

3. Received a call from someone claiming to have a copy of Superboy #1 (the original one, from 1949) in absolutely perfect condition, and that he wanted to bring it in to sell. Well, we assumed it wasn’t in “perfect” condition (heard that so many times, we don’t even listen to it anymore), but if it was a Superboy #1 in any condition, we’d certainly be interested.

The next day, a couple comes in carrying a briefcase. They identify themselves as the people with the Superboy #1, and gingerly place the briefcase on the counter. Popping the latches, they open the case and carefully pull the comic out.

It’s a Superboy Annual #1, from 1964. Still a nice item, not as rare or expensive as a Superboy #1, but still pretty good…except for the fact that this “perfect condition” comic had no cover, and had been so waterlogged at some point in the past that it was now pretty much a solid brick. We tried to explain to the couple, as nicely as we could, that the comic wasn’t the title they thought it was, and it didn’t matter anyway since it was completely unsellable.

Well, they were pretty darn mad. They thought we were trying to pull something over on them (what, exactly, I have no idea…we weren’t trying, for example, to talk them down on a price…we didn’t even want the comic in the store!), they picked up their comic, shoved it back in their briefcase, and headed out. For all I know, they’re still wandering from town to town, getting increasingly upset that all these comic shops are turning their noses up at such a “great item.”

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