Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Comic Shops

Like a lot of geeks, I am a reader and lover of comic books and graphic novels. Over the years, I have had to change my local comic store a couple of times. I used to go to Hawkeye Comics, but they went out of business. I then switched to Bookery Fantasy for many years. I bought a lot of stuff there over the years - comics, used books, Fluxx decks, action figures, White Wolf source books, Games Workshop games, etc.
At the same time, I also shopped at Dark Star Books, scoring a lot of Star Trek collectibles and used books. Dark Star has been a part of my life since I was 13. They always had a comic section, but it was never all that great. That all changed in 2007 when the comic store broke off and started its own storefront - Super-Fly Comics & Games. As soon as Super-Fly opened, their stock immediately expanded, as did the variety of titles, back issues, and my enthusiasm to shop there. I switched my comic business to them and closed my subscriptions at Bookery.
Flash forward to February of this year. I was on my way home from school, and decided to stop at Bookery for old time's sake. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and when I walked in, there was only one other customer. He was a middle aged man who was talking enthusiastically about Sherlock Holmes comics and graphics novels. The lone store clerk was helping him find titles and making suggestions. However, he never even made eye contact with me or acknowledged that I was there. At first, it was kind of ok, because I hadn't had anything in particular in mind. I then got curious to see if they had the trade editions of the 52 series. A few minutes later, the clerk took a phone call, and the customer wondered to the back of the store to look at the independent graphic novels. I made my way to the DC section. After his phone call, the clerk still didn't acknowledge me at all. In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to ignore me, despite the fact that the Sherlock Holmes fan and I were the only customers in the store. Eventually, another clerk came out from the back. He, however, promptly made his way to a computer and pointedly ignored everything in the store. I walked right up to him and asked him about 52, and he said that it was, indeed, released in a trade edition. In fact, it's a series of four books at $20.00 a piece. He then offered to order them for me, and I politely declined and left.
I stopped by Super-Fly, as I had comics to pick up anyway. The clerk there not only smiled and acknowledged my existence, he also knew my name and had my file pulled for me before I could even get to the counter. He then excitedly talked Batwoman news with me for nearly a half hour. I left feeling much happier and with the knowledge that when it came time for me to order 52, there was no way in hell Bookery would be getting my business. In fact, I decided to never go there again.
Today was Free Comic Book Day, and I went down to Super-Fly with Phantom (my brother) and Banshee (my sister). We're all comic readers, and Banshee also has her subscriptions there. They had an amazing set up, including several people in Star Wars costumes posing for pictures with patrons. The three of us love Free Comic Book Day, but Super-Fly makes it even more enjoyable. And even through the chaos, the clerk still had my file ready for me when I got to the counter.
And that is why they will have my business so long as they're open. 
Originally posted 2 May 2010

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