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Sunday, December 18, 2005

I'm a Baaaaad Comics Shop Patron!

At least, according to the February, 2006 issue of Comics Buyer’s Guide. Comics writer and CBG columnist John Jackson Miller puts forth a list of no-no’s for comics shop patrons; things they should only do if the want to "help your retailer along to his or her next career." Cute but hardly applicable everywhere. I’ll just hit the ones that are specific to me, starting with number two on his list, "Order monthly. Pay quarterly."
Ever since I moved about 200 miles west of Tulsa, my weekly visits to the Comic Empire of Tulsa have been shaved down to something more comparable to tri-monthly. Yes, I still have monthly books coming in, and there is usually something in any given Previews catalog that I order as an "extra." However, owner/operator Michael McCormick sees this practice as staying loyal; indeed, he even encourages it. I mean, the alternative is losing business, right? I happen to know of at least two customers who live out of state, and still by from him, periodically paying to have their books shipped to them.
Number five on the list got me, too: "Wait for the trade." My response to this, as well as my feelings toward trade paperbacks in general are, shall we say, disturbing to many comics enthusiasts. You see, I believe the day is coming when the majority of American comics will be produced in the trade paperback form. And, here’s the worst part, where many of my fellow comics readers are concerned; I welcome the day. That’s right, I’d rather sit down for a good hour or so of reading material than 10 to 15 minutes worth from a pamphlet. Call me crazy. Not to mention the fact that for the last 30 years or more the price on those flimsy "books" has increased at a rate that far exceeds the rate of inflation in general. Trades are still a better deal, even if you consider the $15 to $20 price tag.
I have spoken at length to Michael about this point of view, which he shares. His outlook is simple and succinct: if the market goes to primarily producing trades, he'll adapt. That is, after all, a large part of what retailers DO.
So, in the eyes of some, maybe I'm not the ideal comics consumer. But, then again, I know ONE comics retailer who's glad I still make the 200-mile drive to patronize his establishment. Go argue with HIM that he'd be better off if I shopped in Enid, Oklahoma.