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A Note to the DCnU

01 Sep 2011 07:00 am

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Author's Comments:

Reply caost@aol.com, 01 Sep 2011 06:58 am

An Open Letter to Comics I have probably read comics before I could walk. When I was old enough to ride a bike, alone by myself, I would ride to the comic shop that was three miles away almost daily. I cleaned the store windows; sweep the floors and the parking lots so the owners wouldn’t chase me away for loitering. When I was fourteen, I was given my own column to write, in the local comic shop’s newsletter. All the patrons knew me and would seek my advice on what’s the next hot story or book.
I consumed every bit of knowledge I possibly could, reading everything I could get my hands on while bagging and boarding back issues or buying everything in the twenty-five cent bins. I fancied myself a bit of an “Encyclopedia Brown” of comics. On average I must have bought 20 comics a week, including back issues. I was going to work in comics for the rest of my life because that’s what I lived, slept and ate.
Then, as with many people, the little things of life got in the way of my passion. Twenty four years later, I, maybe, buy 4 comics a year, just to see what the “Old Gang” is up to. Some things I like, others I complain about a bit, but there were always those gripes back then.
My wife told me, recently, that I was miserable because she knows how passionate I am about creating comics and so LifeAD was born. What does this have to do with today’s comic? Well, I thought you might want to know a bit about me before I hash out briefly the problem of today’s events.
I would place myself as the perfect target for DC’s initiative to gain readership by attracting a new audience and trying to capture the interests of old fans like me. I’ve kept vehement tabs on the industry. Even though I don’t buy anymore, I still treat comics like the orphan child I abandoned years ago but I check in regularly to make sure the new parents are treating my baby well. The DCnU scared me a bit. “How dare they?!?!” 1985 was the defining moment in the comic industry, and how foolish is it to mess with that?
Admittedly, I do not think I can be sold on a reinvention of Superman, my favorite person of all time, but I did consider that the reason that ‘85 was so great was because of the great leaps that the medium was willing to take to reinvigorate itself. Unfortunately, today, I was reminded about something I wrote about when I was fourteen, how exclusive comic readers can be, and this, from a group that decries exclusionism.
Today’s comic points out an actual event that happened today at three different comic shops and the dialogue in the first strip is verbatim of the discussion during the first shop visit. Every shop was empty except for me and the staff and, with glaring eyes, they were dismissive in verbiage and mannerisms. How can one expect to rebuild a base if a person off the street is treated in such a manner? I have read the articles that reference the disconnect of the public from comic shops because of the content or cover art of certain books (I won’t get into that here because I think that’s an absurd argument) I think the problem lies more with the faux superiority complex that people tend to have about what they find as their exclusive interest. Unfortunately for these shop runners, and their wallets, they couldn’t smell their own kind.
I said I was hesitant about the new direction of the DCU but I picked up the JLA digitally and I thought it absolutely rocked. I will probably buy 10-20 issues of the new 52 to see where the ride goes. Unfortunately, it won’t be in print even though I was willing to do both, in print and digital.

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User's Comments:

Reply caost@aol.com, 01 Sep 2011 07:07 am

And yes.. And yes the Guy actually walked away from me when I suggested I was going to buy the digital book.

Reply Morgan (Guest), 01 Sep 2011 12:03 pm

@caost@aol.com: I used to spend a lot of time in a comic shop in Riverside because my friends worked there. I wasn't into the feature titles, mostly new stuff like Poison Elves, Lady Death, Milk & Cheese... But I saw the kind of elitism you're talking about. It was subtle, the guy off the street was treated well but when a regular came in, the guy at the counter held long conversations about plots and storylines while ignoring everyone else in the store.

Years later when I returned to pick up a title my wife was interested in, I was no longer a shop "insider" and I was the guy waiting on the conversation to stop. It turned me (the casual buyer) away.

But I think it's just a sad statement of where customer service is in every store I've been to in the last two years. With all the big box stores taking over you'd figure the last remaining "little guys" would step up their game and cater to the customer...

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