Taxing your patience with more comment responses.

§ April 18th, 2022 § Filed under retailing § 6 Comments

Yes indeedy, you folks keep bringing up topics in the comments that I want to answer here. And also yes, someday, I will get back to variant cover-age — I’m not done yet! — but I want to get to these responses out while we’re all still young and hearty.

First off, from not too terribly long ago, the King of the Moon crowned me with

“I used to pop in on my LCS during weekday times I knew would be slow because it was the best time to get good conversation and recommendations from the person behind the counter who was also a ;’well known comics blogger'”

Aaiieee, keep your fingers away from that blogger’s gnashing teeth, they’re all pretty much like Gollum.

Anyway, I literally have no idea if that was a veiled reference to me personally (I mean, a guy working in a comic shop who has a blog? How many of those can there be). But yes, a vital part of working in a comic shop is chatting with the customers, helping them find books to read, that sort of thing. There is a balance to strike, though, in between being “Helpful Dude at he Shop” and “Oh God He’s Coming to Talk to Us About Swamp Thing Again.” I may have told the story about going into a watch store at a mall (remember malls?) and trying to find a gift, but the employees there would not stop trying to chat with me and I couldn’t focus on shopping. I ended up bailing on that store and buying a watch elsewhere.

That’s really what I’m trying to avoid. I mean, that’s different from a customer coming up and talking to me and asking me stuff and engaging in conversation willingly, which is more what you’re talking about.

I think those of you who read my bloggering here on the site and then meet me in person are a tiny bit surprised at how relatively taciturn I am compared to the endless typing I make you all endure. Not that I don’t say anything, just I’m not quite as…verbose, or even semi-eloquent In Real Life as I am online. Over the years I believe I have become a little better at yakking it up with the folks in the shop, if only because I’m the captain and sole crewmate of the good ship Sterling Silver Comics and if not me talking, then who?

However, I believe it was our pal Tegan O’Neil who once said I write like I speak. I’m pretty sure that was meant as a compliment, but perhaps that also means my perception of myself as a tongue-tied funnybook purveyor is a bit off.

• • •

JohnJ does declare

“Your mention of Swamp Thing makes me ask if you’re aware of Rifftrax and the Kickstarter for this August’s Rifftrax Live! showing of Return of Swamp Thing. They’ve got a cool t-shirt designed for fans with art of Swampy carrying Heather Locklear. You don’t mention that movie nearly as often as you plug The Spirit (Frank Miller’s unauthorized Daredevil movie, I’ve always thought) so I just thought I would mention it.”

Yeah, I do lean kinda heavily on the Frank Miller’s The Spirit thingie, only because that’s funnier. I mean, it’s funnier to me, which is the only valid metric by which such things are judged.

But yes, I am absolutely a proud Kickstarter backer of the Return of Swamp Thing Rifftrax edition:

I am a long time fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, from which Rifftrax was born, and I have enjoyed plenty of Rifftrax’s offerings as well. For those unfamiliar, Rifftrax offers downloadable “commentary tracks” of movie-mocking jokes you can listen to while watching the mocked movie in question…or you can get the movies with the humorous tracks already embedded in the soundtrack. Return of Swamp Thing will be one of the latter.

In fact, like it says in the pic there, it’ll be a live show, recorded from a theatrical performance where they “riff” the movie in front of an audience. I found during MST3K creator Joel Hodgson’s simliar project “Cinematic Titanic,” I enjoyed the live performances quite a bit more over the studio ones. I liked the studio ones fine, but I enjoyed hearing the audience laughter, the occasional flubbed line from one of the performers, etc. Same with the Rifftrax output…the live stuff just feels more organic. Yes, I know it’s all equally scripted, but I like hearing the audience laugh, what can I tell you.

I didn’t support the Swamp Thing Rifftrax at a level that would have put my name in the DVD/Blu-Ray’s credits, but I will be getting the t-shirt (don’t wear t-shirts much any more, but I’ll still love to have it!) and the enamel pin, and the Blu-Ray, plus all sorts of digital downloads and extra material (including other riffed shorts, and I think an audio riff track for Cats). Anyway, they really piled on the extras, so I’m looking forward to all this nonsense.

• • •

Daniel wonders

“If you hadn’t gone into comics retail as a career, do you think you’d still be a comics fan/reader today?”

I’m pretty sure I still would be. I’m interested enough, invested enough, in certain creators and comics that I would keep following them, even if maybe the books would be harder for me to track down. I’m always going to want to see what Sergio Aragonés and the Hernandez Brothers are up to, for example. And I’ll always follow Swamp Thing comics, and Hulk stuff, Green Lantern, and the Superman books (though to be honest the whole Warworld story in Action, now entering its 34th year, is beginning to wear a little).

I don’t know that I’d read as many comics as I…try to do, anyway. I’m going through bit of a thing lately where I still have a large backlog of books stemming from that period where my eye problems were keeping me from reading anything. While I’ve had good luck of late in preventing any rebleeds in my eyes from happening and obscuring my vision again, my vision is impacted enough to where I can’t read nearly as quickly as I used to.

Combined with the fact that I don’t even have as much time to read them anymore, that backlog isn’t getting any smaller. I try to read all the new comics I pick up now, but even as few as they may be, that doesn’t leave much time for digging back into the older pile. I may be just cutting my losses and returning stuff to the shop. I’ve no idea.

That’s getting a little off topic from your question, Daniel, but it’s just stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. I like reading comics, but one of the ironies of owning a comic shop is having less time to read comics, even if you don’t have eyes that explode on you on occasion.

But yes, I’d still read comics if I didn’t work in a shop. Would I still be a comics blogger? All my early online stuff, on local BBSes and early AOL message boards, stemmed from my working in a comic book store, so I feel like my comic book internetting is heavily tied to that. Maybe I’d been involved in the online comics community in some respect, but as just a mere commoner, not the high falutin’ comics retailer whose majestic presence is before you now.

• • •

Roel thus spake

“What are the logistics for transferring a pull list? Is there a payment for each customer name?”

Roel is referring to my previous place of employment sending its pull list customers to another shop near its location, due to shutting down. I’m not privy to the details, so I don’t know if there was a specific price attributed to the customer base for the pull lists, or if it was just kinda lumped in with everything else. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would price that out if I were selling my business to another company. There is a value, but what is it? Do you charge $(X) for this one customer, but $(5X) for that customer who gets a lot more set aside for him? Or just make a rough estimate based on the pulls in total.

When I opened up my own shop, a number of the pull lists there came with me. Mostly mail order pulls, plus a handful of pulls from customers who lived closer to my shop than the old one. They were basically just handed over to me out of good will. Maybe that happened in this newer case, just handing the info over and making sure the customers had a smooth transition, figuring it’s just part of the lump cost of the business’s sale. Again, I haven’t the foggiest.

Okay, that’s enough typing for now. Thanks for reading, pals.

6 Responses to “Taxing your patience with more comment responses.”

  • King of the Moon says:

    Alas, if I’d been local I am sure you would have been my famous comics blogger.

    But I think this story is heartwarming anyways.

    Many years ago when I’d stopped reading comics for a bit, the pop culture site CHUD started having regular comic book reviews. After reading a few and getting interested in what was happening, I swung by a comic book store a few blocks from my office to buy comics for the first time in years.

    The person behind the counter was super friendly and answered my questions about TPB’s to catch up on some of the things I’d been reading.

    Then I suddenly connected the name of the person I was speaking with was the same reviewer I had been reading for months and had sparked my interest again.

  • Chris G says:

    If you’re taking questions, here’s one I’ve been thinking about lately:

    Let’s say I have a lot of comics stacked in boxes at my parents’ house and they’re starting to talk about downsizing. And given that the books in question have been sitting there largely unread for 20 years, it seems the best thing to do would be to sell them. I don’t care about making a ton of money, and few are bagged and some are very well read. But I also don’t want to get nothing for them. So I guess my question is: What are the two or three least effortful things I can do to goose any offer I might get from a shop near my parents by a couple bucks?

  • Thom H. says:

    @Chris G: I know you’re not asking me, but in my personal experience putting the most interesting/potentially valuable issues up front means you’ll get more for them than just slotting them in with everything else.

    My LCS usually just counts the number of issues I’ve brought in, multiplies that by some number (25 cents?) and gives me the total in trade. If I show that I’ve done a little research and know that certain issues will be more valuable to them in resale, then they give me more than average for those. Not a ton more, to be honest, but more than $0.25.

    Also, I’m pretty sure most shops are looking for pre-1980 issues at this point. I don’t know if that’s true for Mike or not, though, so I’ll shut up now.

  • JohnJ says:

    Good to hear you’re a fellow Traxian. I’ve got a theater in Davenport to see the live shows now that they are up and running again.
    I know exactly what you mean about the live shows from Cinematic Titanic being better than the studio shows. My all-time fave is the 5-person spit-take during “East Meets Watts” The perfect response to a nasty n-word line of dialogue. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if the audience wasn’t there to howl as they did it.

  • Bill J says:

    @Chris G: I was in a similar situation to yours and sold my childhood comics collection last summer. I made sure my runs of each comic were together and (mostly) in order, and the boxes labelled with what was inside. The LCS owner told me that, because the collection was pretty large, he pulled out sample issues in areas of interest instead of going through it all.

    I got a surprisingly good price for the collection, because, I was told, reading copies of extended runs now have value. So many people were picking the hobby back up during Covid and looking to revisit series they used to read. So every issue of Spider-Man (or, in my case, Grimjack, Post Bros, and Ralph Snart) will sell, not just the key issues.

    When I asked Mike about his experience over on Patreon, he said that he wasn’t thinking about collections he buys in that way, so it may be worth shopping around the local shops within reasonable distance to see what their attitudes are.

  • […] by much, but it surely won’t hurt. And the other suggestions from your fellow commenters in the thread are pretty good, […]