mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Entertaining Comics. 

Finally got that EC Comics collection we acquired recently processed and out for sale. Before the comics started flying out the door, I cleared out the main glass counter and filled 'er up with the books so that I could take some photos and chronicle the majesty. And even as I was taking the photos, one of our longtime customers was patiently waiting for me to finish so she could acquire some of the books for herself.

Anyway, I'm no photographer (see if you can spot my shoe in a reflection!), but here are a few choice shots of the comics. Some are a little worse for wear (like that Weird Science #1) and some are downright gorgeous (some of those Weird Fantasy issues almost look like they just came from a 1950s newsstand)...but to have so many at once, even full runs of some of the series, is a thrill.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The nieces 'n' superheroes, again with the '90s, what my job isn't, and a former employee gets footnoted. 

So, last night, I was finally able to give the sets I'd put aside of Free Comic Book Day comics to my girlfriend's nieces, aged 9 and 10. They were excited, of course, because hey! Free comics! Of the comics I gave them, they were pretty happy about the Simpsons and Archie freebies, but they were most thrilled about the Marvel Adventures Hulk/Iron Man book, the Spider-Man comic, and, prepare yourself for a shock, the Justice League of America #0.

Yeah, I know I said this continuity-heavy, non-linear narrative could possibly be offputting to new readers. But seeing my girlfriend's nieces parked on the living room couch, reading the comic aloud to each other, and occasionally asking me questions about who certain characters were and what they were up to (not in an "I don't understand this comic" way, but more in a "this is pretty neat, tell me more about it!" kind of way)...well, I was certainly happy to be wrong.

Mentioning this to pal Dorian, he shared with me his opinion that this comic may be ideal for younger children, as the free flow of ideas and mysterious events and whatnot is exactly the type of thing that can grab the interest of young, inquiring minds. I still wish, in the JL#0's case, that there was more of a linear narrative, but the girls loved it, and that's the important thing.

Huh...young girls gravitating toward and enjoying superhero comics. Whaddaya know?

I also gave some comics to the four-year-old nephew, but he was more interested in practicing his soccer (football, to you civilized countries) technique inside the house. Ah, he'll get to 'em eventually.

Commenter Chaz asked in response to yesterday's post:

"...Did you see the post-early-90s crash coming, and was there anything you did differently that allowed you to survive/stay healthy? It seems like you avoided milking it for all it was worth, but I didn't see anything else in those two posts that would answer my question."

We didn't really see the crash coming, at first. I remember seeing some indicators that things were going awry (like that one month's distributor catalog that was ballyhooing at least three new ongoing "superhero universes," causing me to wonder who was going to support all those; the excessive reliance on gimmick covers; Rob Liefeld). Comic sales were so high for such an extended period of time, that...well, we sorta took it for granted, and when the occasional dog of a comic began to turn up (like Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 or that Adventures of Superman #500), we took 'em as flukes. "Well, we learned our lesson on those turkeys...thankfully everything else is selling so well, we can absorb the losses!"

And when sales began to drop across the board, there was some measure of belief that it was just a temporary dip in sales...after all, so many folks were buying comics, surely they all weren't going to give up on them all at once! So orders were kept up, assuming that the dip was temporary and that people would probably want to be able to get the back issues they missed once they started picking up their comics again.

Had this been a normal market shift, a typical ebb and flow of comic readers, that could very well have been the case. But this was a massive departure of readership, for whatever the reasons may have been (and that could fill yet another post), and they weren't coming back. Eventually high hopes had to give way to the reality that those high sales were history, and we had to adjust our orders accordingly. Thanks to the judicious use of cycle sheets, we were able to track orders and actual rack sales, so we were able to adjust quickly and avoid throwing good money after bad for too long, after the full effect of the crash was obvious.

I think I may have touched upon this in other posts, but there were a couple reasons why we were able to ride out the lean years of '90s.

First, we were a comics and games store. After a local games store went out of business many years ago, people started coming to us and asking for their role playing and tabletop war game supplies, and since folks were asking, we decided we'd try to deliver. Soon, about half the store was devoted to gaming items, and when the comics thing took its dive, the money brought in by the games took up the slack.

Second, we still carried a full line of comics and related items. When other stores in the area (and there were a lot of them, popping up here and there to take advantage of the then-current faddishness of comics) began to either shift their focus primarily to toys, or go out of business altogether, their customers who were still interested in reading comics began to come to, or return to, us. Thus, we still were able to do some comic book business...not nearly on the scale we were used to during the boom, but we were able to maintain our reputation as the place to go to for your funnybook needs, and make a small bit of money besides.

Third, we took in some significant coin of the realm by carrying POGs, but let us not speak of that again.

NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION: Explaining to someone on the phone how to use Google in order to find a comic-related product we didn't happen to have. ALSO NOT IN THE DESCRIPTION: Telling you how to spell the search terms you need to use. Are you kidding me?

SEEN AT THE STORE: Former employee Josh (second Josh, not Amazing Race 4 Josh), stopping by the shop to say hello to us poor schlubs what are still in the comic book mines. He was a bit bruised and battered, having participated in some fisticuffs with an unruly gentleman at a party recently* as Josh defended the virtue** of the right and good All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder***.

I gave him some leftover Free Comic Book Day comics, which not only make good reading for my girlfriend's nieces, but also have mystical healing properties****, so he'll be good as new in no time.

* True.

** Not true...he was actually trying to calm down some belligerent jerk. Didn't work, apparently.

*** Absolutely true. ASB&R is fan-tastic...don't let anyone tell you any different. Or Josh will beat you up.

**** Of course that's true. Free comics have magical powers. Surely you knew this?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Virgins, comics shops, and (sorta) new books. 

Here's part of a spam mail sent our way by someone allegedly casting for a new MTV program:

"MTV is casting a fun, new documentary style reality series about relationships & dating from a male perspective. We're looking for virgin guys (21 & up) on their quest to break out of their shell & improve their love life.

"Do you get nervous around women? Are you stuck in the 'friend' zone? Do you find you're too busy to date? Whatever the reason, if you or someone you know is a virgin guy in the Greater Los Angeles area, we want to meet them!

Hmmm...an e-mail looking for virgin guys, sent to a comic shop. Thanks for the kind thoughts!

SOME CLARIFICATION FOR STEVEN GRANT: Here are some additional details about the exchange quoted from my site in Mr. Grant's most recent column:

1. The first line was the son, the second the dad. (And yes, if they were reversed that would have been a tad tragic.)

2. The son was about twelve, the father was in his thirties.

Anyway, if you all haven't already, read his column for his perspective on a comic shop's challenges in today's marketplace...and about how some stores helped bring the 1990s market crash upon themselves (something I touched upon myself in a couple posts of mine about said crash).

Bought for myself on Wednesday:
  • Parasyte Vol. 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki - This is one of those manga series that I discovered just a little too late...by the time I got around to flipping through an installment or two, it had already gone out of print and I didn't have all the books in stock. But, here's a new edition by Del Rey, in fewer, thicker volumes than the previous run, so at last I can get the full series for myself.

    Anyway, it's about some alien critters that come to Earth and infect human hosts, taking over their bodies, changing shapes and stirrin' up trouble. However, when one infection goes awry, a fellow named Shin finds his parasite's influence is restricted solely to his right hand. So, now his hand literally has a mind of its own, and Shin and the parasite now have to learn to live with each other, which is kind of difficult when the hand occasionally looks like this:

    Anyway, it's a nice combination of "absolutely horrific" and "grotesque" and "darkly humorous," which is right up my alley. Looking forward to finally being able to read this series in its entirety.

  • Mister I by Lewis Trondheim - This follow-up to Mister O has been out for a while, and I know I ordered the darned thing when it originally appeared in our order forms. Thankfully, unlike Mister O, Mister I has remained available for reorder, so I was finally able to get a copy. Like that first book, this new volume features lots and lots and lots of tiny little drawings, following the wiener-shaped Mister I as his various plans and schemes generally go very poorly for him. Here's a review and brief sample so you can see what I'm talking about.

  • Cover Girl #1 by Andrew Cosby, R.M. Yankovicz, and Kevin Church - Yes, that's right, the comicsweblogosphere's own Mr. Church has a new funnybook out, and...okay, I haven't had a chance to really read it yet, but what bits of the dialogue I've read so far have been pretty funny, and I like Kevin, I've liked his writing, so I imagine I'll enjoy the book. And if I don't, I'll just send him a nasty e-mail. Heck, maybe I'll send him one anyway, just to keep in practice.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another great title page... 

...where the story can't possibly measure up:

from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #109 (April 1971) by Cary Bates, Werner Roth & Vince Colletta

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

This elephant had the right idea. 

So I went to the Los Angeles Zoo yesterday, and you know that scene in the first Jurassic Park movie, where the characters are being given their first tour of the attraction, during which no dinosaurs are seen and Malcolm (I think) says something along the lines of "it's not much of a dinosaur park if you don't have any dinosaurs."

That's kinda how it felt at the zoo yesterday. Several exhibits were "under construction," so, for example, all the gorillas were put up in, presumably, a Motel 6 somewhere and we got to see construction crew in hardhats instead. And the animals that were there were all hiding in burrows or caves or otherwise in the shade because it was too freakin' hot.

Okay, things improved as the day went on, and we did get to see plenty of animals, and I got to take lots of oddly-framed photos like the one above, and we had a lot of fun and a lot of three-dollar bottles of water, those bastards.

Why am I telling you about my zoo trip on my comics weblog, you may be asking? Because even at the freakin' zoo, I couldn't get away from the funnybooks. See, the L.A. Zoo just opened up, on May 3rd, a new special exhibit called Spider City, featuring lots of little, and not-so-little, eight-legged friends. It was inside a darkened building, with wall displays and glass cases filled with the critters...and as part of the exhibit, there were several large posters on the walls featuring mocked-up spider-themed comic book covers. We were told no flash photography inside the building, so no pictures, but in retrospect the posters were lit enough to have been picked up by my camera. I FAIL AT WEBLOGGING. So, you're just gonna have to take my word for it that the exhibit had a comic-book theme to it (with a touch of '50s sci-fi/horror mixed in...one display had the spider enclosed in a tiny scale model of an apartment, which had on its walls even tinier movie posters for films like Horrors of Spider Island and other MST3K favorites). Many of the educational signs strewn about the exhibit also emphasized the spiders' "super powers" (leaping great distances, strength relative to size, heat vision, stuff like that).

I did take one photo of the exhibit's entrance, because I thought it was neat:

And just in case you thought this was just a total coincidence that this Spider City exhibit opened at about the same time Spider-Man 3 was released...the gift shop just outside the exhibit was filled with Spider-Man merchandise, and was flanked by one of the large cardboard Spider-Man 3 displays you probably saw in your local theatre. Hey, whatever gets kids' attentions, I guess.

Should have taken a photo of that, too. GAH. There I was, "having fun" and "relaxing" instead of thinking about generating content for my comic book site. Some weblogger I am.

Instead, here's a photo of a couple chimpanzees staring each other down, just prior to the one on the left wigging out and going on a chimp rampage:

Honestly, it was really cool. He was smaking the ground, chasing other chimps around, throwing fruit at them...um, probably should've shot a pic of that, as well.

Since I mentioned the Spider-Man 3 display...have you all seen the theatre lobby display for the new Fantastic Four movie? The one that features a nearly-life-sized chomelike-substance-plated statue of Silver Surfer on his board? It really is a sight to see, and this time I have an excuse for not taking a picture of it, since I think having my digital camera in a movie theatre is a good way to get myself...disinvited, shall we say. And I couldn't find an image of it online, either, so if you do get a chance to check it out at your local cinematic googolplex...well, do it quick before someone breaks it (like they did to the life-size Simpsons family couch display at our theatre).

From the eBay sales...here's a final total on one of the pregraded 'n' sealed CGC comics (a "9.6") we put up on the eBay a week or two back:

That's a sale that the people and 'zines who care about this sort of thing probably wouldn't be too anxious to advertise. It certainly surprised me, given the usual emphasis placed by certain price guides on how having your books "professionaly graded" will increase their values.

As to why we're carrying the pregraded books in the first place, when we've mostly avoided them before: we had a bunch dumped on us in a collection of signed books and variant covers that we acquired basically for a song from a customer of ours. He's moving, and didn't want to haul them along. So even at ninety-nine cents per book, we'd still be ahead. Thankfully, the other CCC books did sell for a little more (mostly 10-20 bucks a pop, for Jim Lee Batman and more Origin).

And now...a tortoise with his head in his bowl:

Monday, May 07, 2007

Batman Forev...um, I mean, Spider-Man 3

One of the few times in the film Spidey manages to keep his mask on.

So, Spider-Man 3. As I predicted a few days ago, it was entertaining, but wasn't as good as Spider-Man 2 (and here's my review of that film). Not to say it was bad, but it wasn't as well-paced and forward moving and as...innovative, I guess, as the previous two installments. It had a feeling of "okay, we've seen this. What else you've got?"

It did do a reasonably good job of weaving all the plotlines and villains and romantic entanglements together, and felt a bit like reading any given issue of Amazing Spider-Man from the 1970s, written by Gerry Conway. For some people, I realize that's not a compliment, but I happen to like the confused melodrama of '70s Marvel Comics. Not necessarily good, but entertaining, much like this film.

So, there be SPOILERS AHEAD, mateys...though, as I saw someone mention somewhere, if any of the developments in this film come as any surprise to you, you've either 1) never ever read a comic book before in your life, or 2) you somehow managed to avoid the trailers. So, that said, let's get into some of my spoilery observations of the film, immediately after this image of Tobey Maguire emoting. When you see his next emotion, spoilers will be over. Okay? Okay!

  • I was very surprised that they went for the extraterrestrial origins of Venom (who, by the way, is never called by that name in the course of the movie, that I recall). It would seem opening up the Spider-films to "beings from outer space" is some kind of violation of the film's environment, but perhaps that's overthinking it. But you know someone, somewhere, is complaining that Spidey didn't get his black costume from the Secret Wars planet, like in the comics.

    I also sort of want to call "no way" on the coincidence of that meteor with that Venom-critter just happening to fall within crawling distance of Peter Parker, but I guess I don't really have any reason to. I mean, if that's the "gimme" you need to get things going, okay, I'll work with you there.

  • You know, if you've got some Thomas Haden Church in your movie, you've got yourself some quality. And Good Lord A'mighty, if his portrayal of the Sandman didn't look like it popped right out of a page drawn by Steve Ditko....

    However, the attempts at making him a sympathetic character sort of fell flat for me. In Spider-Man 2, Alfred Molina's portrayal of Doctor Octopus had some emotional weight, as we got to know him before the fall into villainy. He was a hero of Peter's and was genuinely friendly to him, he had a loving relationship with his wife...so when the fall came, it had that much more of an impact. By contrast, the Sandman is just a thug made sympathetic because, well, let's see...got it! He has a sick kid! That cliché always works! Church did his darnedest to sell it, though.

  • A couple more things about Sandman:

    1. His origin was beautifully presented, as he attempts and reattempts to reform his body out of sand. I thought that was particularly well done.

    2. That "demoleculizer" pit (or whatever) that he fell into...you'd think there'd be a guard rail or a cover or something. "DANGER - POSSIBILITY OF DISINTEGRATION."

    3. Plugging the Sandman into the death of Uncle Ben does the one thing almost no one has been able to do with Spider-Man's origin: it screws it up. Spider-Man has one of the most perfect origins in the history of superherodom...making the burglar not the direct killer of Uncle Ben dilutes the impact of Peter's involvement in his own uncle's death, and undermines the guilt that drives his superheroics. Yes, the burglar still causes the shooting, but having someone else as the gunman...that just felt unnecessary.

    4. Another call of "no way" - Peter letting the Sandman just get away at the end. Okay, great, you forgave him...still a criminal, still killed your uncle.

  • I don't have a whole lot to say about Venom, really...I think he worked well visually, and I'm glad that Eddie Brock's motivation (that he hates Peter Parker, rather than Spider-Man, for ruining his career) made the transition intact. A nice touch was that Brock, after bonding with the alien costume, still has Venom's misshapen, yellowed teeth whenever he uncovers his face.

    Also, for all the character's overuse in the comics, he's still a great villain and it was fun to see him in live action, for even as little as he appeared.

    I should mention that I expected to think "hey, that's Eric from That '70s Show" every time I saw Topher Grace on screen...but like Church with Sandman, Grace sold his Eddie Brock/Venom.

  • I also don't have much to say about the Harry Osborne character arc in this film, beyond thinking that one character who spoke up to Harry about how Norman Osborne really died probably should have said something sooner. But I'm enough of a softie to enjoy Harry and Spidey teaming up at the end to fight the villains.

  • If you have a James Cromwell in your movie, and you don't really get any significant use out of your James Cromwell by the end of the picture, then you've let your James Cromwell go to waste. Honestly, was he in the movie for any other reason besides pumping up the big names in the credits? His role as the dad in Revenge of the Nerds was meatier than this.

  • What we no longer need: cameos by Stan Lee in Marvel movies. This really needs to be the last one. Now that Stan the Man's laid a "'Nuff Said" to one of his characters on-screen, I don't know if there's really anywhere to go from there.

  • When Peter Parker falls under the insidious influence of the Venom costume, there's that one moment when he looks at his reflection, and purposefully pushes his hair down in front of his face to make himself look "bad." Even as Evil Peter, he's still a huge dork.

    Also, didn't Evil Peter look a bit like Peter Petrelli from Heroes at times? Kinda? Sorta? Well, he did to me.

  • Bruce Campbell's appearance in the film was greeted with cheers by our audience. And rightfully so, as his role was a real blast. (Did I understand the implication correctly, that the character he was playing wasn't really French, but trying very hard to convince Peter otherwise? That's sorta how I saw it.)

  • Other good laughs in the film, mostly intentional: Evil Peter's Saturday Night Fever-esque strut through the streets of New York, and the incredulous reactions of passers-by; Evil Peter's Jazz Club dance, which was silly fun; and Jonah getting rooked by the kid selling him the camera ("film's extra"). Some folks complained about the excessive goofiness of this film; I think it needed more. "Wha--? A Sam Raimi film, goofy? The devil you say."

  • Speaking of Jonah, I've probably mentioned it before, but I would probably watch a whole film just about him. J.K. Simmons so nails the character that every scene with him in it is an absolute delight. Even that initial bit, with the over-the-top intercom buzzing and interruptions that dragged and teetered into unfunniness, was saved by Simmons' nutty portrayal of Jonah.

  • Another character I was glad to see was Peter's landlord's daughter Ursula, played by Mageina Tovah. Ursula's just cute as a button, obviously crushing hard on Peter, and totally wrapped up in the soap opera Peter's life has become. Watching Evil Peter take advantage of her kindness, making her bring him cookies and milk, certainly emphasized Evil Pete's bastardry. How dare you be mean to that sweet girl, you big jerk!

  • Three movies in, and I'm still not buying any kind of chemistry between Mary Jane and Peter. I'll accept it's there for the sake of the story, but only through my own suspension of disbelief, not through anything I'm being given by the actors.

  • Four words: NEEDS. MORE. BETTY. BRANT. (That's Jonah's secretary, for the uninitiated.)

  • I saw a couple people mention this, and it struck me at the end of the film, too...no triumphant Spidey swinging through the streets of New York? Okay, MJ and Peter made up, I guess, but leave the audience with one more shot of Spidey, on an up-note, at least!

Okay, that's it for the SPOILERS. Ultimately...good action scenes, solid special effects, and...passable characterization. If you liked the first two films, here's more of the same. Maybe a little too much more, but the same nonetheless.

Since a sequel is inevitable, given that the movie made about one quadrillion dollars this weekend...I'm kinda hoping we'll get the Lizard finally. C'mon, they've been teasing us with Dr. Curt Conners in every film. And my girlfriend would love to see Kraven the Hunter, which would work great with the Lizard. Conners turns himself into the Lizard, who runs rampant through the Big Apple, and Spidey can't stop him...so the authorities put the call out to famous big game hunter Kraven, who eventually decides he wants Spidey as a trophy as well. See? It'd be perfect. Hollywood, call me, we'll do lunch.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

FCBD follow-up. 

Had a couple questions in the comments section for this morning's post, and I thought I'd address them on the main page.

First, the old perennial, from MarkAndrew:

"DOES Free Comic Book Day get new customers in the door?"

Well, on the actual day of Free Comic Book Day...yes, lots of new faces show up, because not a person around doesn't like something that's free (unless it's, like, "free measles," or "free punch in the nose," or "free Team Youngblood").

But by "new customer" you probably mean "new regular visitors to the funnybook store," the answer to which is a qualified "no." We did get some new regular customers out of past FCBDs, but they represented only a small fraction of the new folks who actually came in for free books.

But that's okay...we don't have to turn every new person who walked in the door that day into a New Comics Day zombie. The results of FCBD are more longterm than immediate, anyway...it gets the word out that, hey, comic books are still being published, and that they can be a viable source of entertainment. Okay, mileage may vary with some of the offerings this year, but with the sheer number of books being given away, surely most people found at least one comic they kinda liked. And our already-existing clientele invariably will find something new to try out.

Plus, it's great advertising...if some of those folks find themselves with some kind of comic-related need, perhaps they'll think of that swell comic shop that was giving out the free funnybooks, and they'll come back to us. And it's good public relations...we had a lot of happy customers that day, most of whom thanked us profusely for the books we were giving away.

And it's the gift that keeps on giving, as I'm preparing packages of some of the leftover books for some local teachers and at least one doctor...and, as always, a big bunch of comics for my girlfriend to give away to the Sunday school class she teaches.

So, um...to answer your question, perhaps it doesn't immediately create new regular customers, but FCBD perhaps helps to create an environment from which new customers may arise, by increasing in some small way a general awareness of comics. My, that's high-falutin' of me, ain't it? Not to mention optimistic.

Del Gorky asks:

"Mike, You stated that you made more on FCBD than you spent, but my question is did you make more than you spent plus what you normally make on a Saturday in May?"

The amount we took in that day above and beyond our usual average Saturday take was perhaps just shy of covering the total amount spent on the FCBD books. But, that's okay, since as stated earlier the event generated a lot of goodwill among our customers and other visitors, so any minor shortfall is greatly outweighed by the benefits...maybe not immediate benefits, as I said, but in the long run it all helps.

Plus, we had a pretty good week, anyway, even without the FCBD bump, so we're doing okay.

Oh, and Employee Aaron reminded me that I forgot to mention the two Spider-Man costume appearances that day: one young man wearing a Spidey mask, and another in full-on Spidey regalia, costume, mask, gloves, an' all. Made me wish I brought my Spidey costume...but perhaps I've said too much.

In other news:

What to make of this exchange I overheard between a customer and his son at the shop today:

"So, what do you think of this place?"

"I think it's a necessary evil."

I prefer to think of it as more of a luxury evil, rather than a mandatory one.

Also, got to meet the proprietor of Thought Balloon today, as he dropped by the store to say hello. Always nice to meet a fellow weblogger!

Free Comic Book Day 2007: The Day After. 

Before you say anything...yeah, that pic is from last year's Free Comic Book Day wrap-up, but I took the picture, I liked how it turned out, and I'm using it again. So there.

First off, thanks to pal Dorian for lending a hand, a foot, and at least one lung to our FCBD event, helping me manage customers, pack up bags of FCBD comics, and so on. Even with Dor there, we had more business than nearly all of us could handle...this may have been the busiest FCBD we've had yet.

Speaking of packing up those bags...as per previous years, we had our selection of books divided up and packaged together according to appropriateness for particular age groups (i.e. children, teen, and grown-ups). Thus, when people popped in looking for those four-color handouts, all we had to do was hand them the right bags. And, of course, if they were old enough, they got one of each bag for maximum Free Comic Book Day participation.

To make these prepacks, we started sorting and bagging nearly as soon as the cases of FCBD mags arrived at the store a couple weeks back. We ended up preparing hundreds of these packs, and I thought that would at least get us through part of the day, leaving us time on FCBD itself to sort and create even more packages as necessary. Well, by about a half-hour past opening, I learned the kids packs were already down to critical levels and we had to rush more of the packs into production. In fact, most of the morning and early afternoon was devoted to just barely staying ahead of the customers in our prepack production frenzy. That'll teach me...um, something, I guess.

Other random notes from the day:
  • Prepared a box of FCBD books (multiple copies of the all-ages titles) for a school teacher...and have another school teacher and a doctor coming over the next day or two for their own assortments.

  • Surprisingly few problems during the day...I thought a mom and daughter walked out the store with one of the Classics Illustrated Junior reprints without paying, so I ran outside, looked around for them, came back in, and noticed the comic in question still on the shelf where it was in the first place, making me feel just brilliant.

    Also, our entire section of Spider-Man funnybooks probably needs to be put back in order, given the number of people I saw pulling books and putting them back seemingly at random.

  • I haven't confirmed this with the guys, but I didn't hear anyone complaining about the selection of free books this year. In years past, I heard the occasional "Oh, these are the free books? Thanks anyways." For whatever reason, even if it's just for the sheer number of freebies available this year, people were more impressed by what was actually being offered for free, rather than grabbing random books off the new comics rack or the graphic novel shelves and trying to get those for free instead.

  • Set out a small shelving unit and used it to hold small piles of various leftover comics from previous FCBDs...got rid of a good number of those extras that way.

  • Still a good number of people who seem to think that FCBD is something that our store made up, instead of an industry-wide event. Despite my temptation to encourage this belief ("Why, yes, that's right...no other store cares enough about you to give you free books!"), I set them straight.

  • Speaking of temptation...sure, we have to give these comics away for free...but no one said anything about us CHARGING ADMISSION AT THE DOOR! Ah HA HA HA HA...okay, I didn't do that. Next year, though....

  • Thankfully...thankfully...it wasn't just us giving out books for free. We had plenty of customers dropping some cash as well, making it a very good day financially. In fact, our take more than paid for the cost of the FCBD books...which is a good thing, because we ordered a lot of them.

Overall, it was another successful Free Comic Book Day event. Nonetheless, I'm glad this year's brouhaha is now behind us. I think I'll be dreaming about sorting comics by age groups for a while.

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