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Comic Elitists

Old 10-22-15, 06:30 PM
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Comic Elitists

I was ranting in my crisis thread and realized it might make an interested topic to get others thoughts (and lets be honest we can use any discussion we can get)

I recently went into a comic shop while in Pa while vacationing. I was browsing and the guy behind the counter and two of his friends said hi and asked if I needed any help and i told em i just enjoy visiting new stores when im out of town and i was just browsing. I grabbed a couple monster variants they had in that i liked and they actually mocked me for what i was going to purchase. First because i mentioned a was only buying a couple for the covers and am not reading them and that out of the group i was reading Harley Quinn which they literally laughed in my face. Needless to say i waked out without the books and they apologized with "we were joking lighten up"

Over the summer I took my niece to a shop where i had a pull and for her bday she wanted to buy some deadpool books. while she had about 5 trades in her hands the owner started bitching because the deadpool singles were out of order and went on a tirade on how much he hates deadpool fans. my 14 yr old niece got upset and wanted to leave.

lastly my friend is a huge fan of TWD show and recently got him reading the book and he loved it and decided he wanted to buy the single issue run of it for his collection. being that he has plenty of disposable income i took him to a shop that i knew had a lot of back issues and key issues. he came across a walking dead Weekly book and asked about it as i never heard of it and wasnt sure if it was a standaone book or re releases. the shop owner Literally answered him when never looking away from his monitor saying..." that was just a cash in for al the idiots reading that crap"

I just dont understand thats just three examples from the past couple months that ranged from 30$ to a 100$ to most likely a couple grand in lost revenue for these shops when 4 out of 5 local shops here are complaining about sales and may be shutting down.

Outside of this forum which has a lot of knowledgeable and helpful members (i would of prolly got death threats over my crisis post outside of other forums), and a couple friends i have none to talk comics with because they are too good to be bothered....maybe im too sensitive? or maybe i just refuse to be mocked by a man that hangs out all day at his lcbs with a cloak in his trunk waiting to play his nightly round of DD or magic
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Old 10-22-15, 07:10 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Elitist nerds don't always provide the best customer service, or have the best social skills. They can only blame themselves if they can't stay in business.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:26 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Yeah, there are jerks everywhere, but perhaps a slightly higher percentage than normal in comic shop ownership.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:40 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

It's a brutal business where the business model is dying right before their eyes. That would make me surly.

Seriously, most shop owners are usually hardcore comic book people that have probably lost some perspective over the years. Some are good people, but I have come across owners that think they are God's gift to comic book fans.
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Old 10-22-15, 08:49 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

I am glad to have some good comic shops in my area, so I hope the PA experience wasn't in this part of the state (Southeast/Philadelphia area). The only real negative experiences I have had is one store with an overly talkative owner who sorta holds your purchases hostage while ringing you up so you can listen to his stories (think 5-10 minutes). He is a nice enough guy though. Another time at the same store, the owner's buddy was working the register and sorta gave me the third degree about where I normally shop and such since he had never seen me before. If I was a potential new regular customer, I would have been looking for a different store for sure.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:05 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by malazar View Post
I am glad to have some good comic shops in my area, so I hope the PA experience wasn't in this part of the state (Southeast/Philadelphia area). The only real negative experiences I have had is one store with an overly talkative owner who sorta holds your purchases hostage while ringing you up so you can listen to his stories (think 5-10 minutes). He is a nice enough guy though. Another time at the same store, the owner's buddy was working the register and sorta gave me the third degree about where I normally shop and such since he had never seen me before. If I was a potential new regular customer, I would have been looking for a different store for sure.
the first one was in philly or right outside of it? im trying to remember the name. its in a strip mall and about 10 minutes from the diner nifty fifty. large store with a great selection and a big set up in the back half of the store.

other store i really like (the one where they filmed unbreakable) other then being really really dirty the store is great and never had a bad experience
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Old 10-22-15, 11:18 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

I mentioned in another thread that I'm helping a friend who opened several months ago a new comic book store. The reason for him opening one is because the other store in town is simply run by elitist comic book nerd/assholes who act exactly how the OP mentioned in his experiences. There are several things about this:

1- The old school comic book store owners/ employees haven't adjusted to the new era where comic books have become mainstream thanks to the movies. They still feel that the stores should just cater there "true" comic book fan who cares about the content (writing) of the book and not the artwork/variants/movie tie ins/etc. They feel that these new people at the store are there as fair-weather fans.

2- Some of these comic book store owners/employees got burned in the 90's with the comic book speculation and they feel another wave of this is coming and that the bubble may burst soon. It's partly true, but stupid anyhow.

3- East Coast comic book store owner/sellers/dealers tend to be arrogant dicks. Don't know why about this, but I've seen this mentioned in many forums/blogs/comic book websites and have seen it personally. These people tend to overprice their stuff, by either following what the Overstreet Guide says (which tends to not be the real price) or following current sales on eBay (whichever price is higher).

4- Kevin Smith hit the nail in the head when he mentioned on the Comic Book Men show that a lot of the owners/employees/dealers/fans were constantly left out of the popular stuff in society and comic books and the stores served as their private club, a place where popular kids wouldn't visit and make fun of them. Many of these basement dwelling nerds are now store owners.

So going back to my friend's store, we are doing exactly the opposite of what the old school stores did. We set up shop in a strip mall where the biggest theaters in town are located. We bought collections from different state sales and filled our back issue bins, and then we bought new comic books, toys, statues, etc. from Diamond. We put in a poker table, seating area, 2 HD TVs, hooked a PS4 and an X-Box One and we are promoting it as a family friendly comic book and pop culture store. So far, it's working great because we price stuff reasonably and we treat everyone who comes in with respect, no matter what they like. So far it's been a hit with everyone in town, from old school comic book fans to new kids trying to get into comics. There seems to be a lot of these shops similar to ours starting to pop up and a lot of the old stores fading away. It's simple common sense, but a lot of these old school owners don't have it because they never socialized outside their groups. Instead of catering to Sheldon Coopers, we are catering to everyone.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:10 AM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
It's a brutal business where the business model is dying right before their eyes. That would make me surly.
Yeah, but that's partly their fault. What have these owners done to attract new customers? Using the op's experiences as examples, they're driving the growth part of the market away with behavior/comments like that. How about creating an environment where female customers don't feel uncomfortable. At least not completely creeped out. How about some salesmanship? How about customer service? These guys continually shoot themselves in the foot then blame the publishers, the movie industry, video games, etc. for their declining sales.

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Seriously, most shop owners are usually hardcore comic book people that have probably lost some perspective over the years. Some are good people, but I have come across owners that think they are God's gift to comic book fans.
When you buy/open a comic shop you better be a businessman first and comic fan second.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:56 AM
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Re: Comic Elitists

There is no bigger asshole than a comic book fan.

Seriously, I love comics, but I can only talk to a couple of people in my personal life about them. I also try to avoid dedicated comic forums. The elitism is insane.

Luckily I do have some great shops here, who have been able to change with the times. More collectibles and less comics.

I can't fathom why owners aren't welcoming these new fans with open arms. My fiancee has recently gotten into comics and I keep telling her we are in the golden age. Every con we go to is packed with all these people embracing the fandom, where years ago comics were simply not cool.

Last edited by stingermck; 10-23-15 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 10-23-15, 08:46 AM
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Re: Comic Elitists

I've been to Wilmington and seen several of the stores there and they are pretty good. One of the ones I like is called Memory Lane comics and it was a pleasant experience.

By the way, the show Comic Book Men exactly shows the level of assholeness that people that work as these places have. With the exception of Ming, who seems to be a nice fella, everyone else in that store acts like a dick in front of the cameras and when the cameras stop rolling.
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Old 10-23-15, 11:51 AM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Last week I went into a new to me comic shop. A couple of towns over from where I live, and I had a bit of time to kill before dinner, so I wandered in. Decent size shop, with a couple of "rooms" with no doors seperating them. Two employees, one at the front register the other stocking shelves in the middle "room". Both employees were cordial and said hello and asked if I needed help when I got close to them. They did not hover, or crowd me at all. Allowed me to look. Shop had a decent amount of new comics. Didn't see many back issues, but they had a ton of trades, including used trades. They also had a decent amount of gaming supplies, as well as board games. In fact they were having a board game night with about 15 people playing various games in the back. Found a couple of things I was interested in, and the guy actually complimented me on one of my selections. Had about a 20 minute conversation with the guy at the register, who turned out to be the owner, about what they do at the shop. Each night he has some sort of activity, whether it is board game night, or magic night, or figure painting night. Seemed like a real nice guy, so I didnt mind paying a little more than I should have to support a local shop.

Moral of the story is not all shop owners and employees are elitist dicks.
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Old 10-23-15, 03:05 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

I buy digital so thankfully I don't have to deal with these kinds of people. They wouldn't like me though as I read Harley, Deadpool, and The Walking Dead lol.

10 years ago when I was buying floppies though my LCS owner was cool as hell and none of the other customers ever said much either. So that was nice too.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:08 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Being the timid, overly-sensitive person I am, I probably would've given up reading comics if I had to deal with asshats like that on a regular basis. I feel lucky that the shops I used to frequent were staffed by friendly, cool people. They knew my interests and would save special variants for me, and were generally a chatty group that didn't get overly serious about the whole comic book thing. They made it fun. It was always more than just "headin' out on shipment day", but having a place to hang for part of the afternoon. Sadly, these places are no longer around.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:44 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

I like the guy who runs the shop closest to me. He'll ring me up quickly, offer positive comments on my selections, and provide recommendations or just chitchat if I ask for it. Some of the other people who work there are a little overexuberant, but I've never heard anyone get mocked or anything like that.
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Old 10-23-15, 11:45 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

If anybody is looking for a friendly shop in the Nashville area, Rick's Comics is a great store. Helpful and nice staff. Lots of trades, back issues, new releases, and collectibles for sale.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:06 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
It's a brutal business where the business model is dying right before their eyes. That would make me surly.

Seriously, most shop owners are usually hardcore comic book people that have probably lost some perspective over the years. Some are good people, but I have come across owners that think they are God's gift to comic book fans.
I tend to agree.

Without wanting to over-generalize, since many shops are owned by fans, and some fans revert to stereotypes when discussing their interests, and many stereotypes of comics readers/fans are negative, geeky and anti-social...

It's easy to casually insult people for THEIR interests when your real intention is to suggest "better" titles - and easier still to presume that you have the wider knowledge (and better taste) to do so.

Most comics fans* fall squarely into one of two camps: elitist indy fans or superhero fans. And both tend to sneer (c)overtly at the opposite camp. [These two categories then break down further into DH/Image/Boom vs. REAL "indy" publishers vs. Undergrounds and DC vs. MARVEL vs. Other.]

Most welcome the chance to converse/show off - and certainly to suggest worthy reading material... especially to people who appear to have sheltered/inferior likes (or prejudices). And, again, social awareness or sense of humour can lead people to confuse 'recommend something better' with 'denigrate what is perceived to be 'worse'.'





*In my experience; in my opinion; over-generalizing for the sake of argument, etc., etc.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:26 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by terrycloth View Post
... I grabbed a couple monster variants they had in that i liked and they actually mocked me for what i was going to purchase. First because i mentioned a was only buying a couple for the covers and am not reading them and that out of the group i was reading Harley Quinn which they literally laughed in my face.
That's just rude.

And on the one hand, it is the bane of many fans that people DO buy things just for the covers (variant covers and speculation nearly destroyed the entire industry 20 years ago), and its anti-comics to some extent... BUT the fact that multiple covers exist and sell says that a) there's a market and b) those are the customers buying multiple copies and MAKING A STORE A PROFIT!

Originally Posted by terrycloth View Post
Over the summer I took my niece to a shop where i had a pull and for her bday she wanted to buy some deadpool books. while she had about 5 trades in her hands the owner started bitching because the deadpool singles were out of order and went on a tirade on how much he hates deadpool fans. my 14 yr old niece got upset and wanted to leave.
Again, while I can sympathise with his frustration - how hard can it be to keep things in order while you browse? - there's a time and a place (and people) to AIR those views. And that weren't it.

Originally Posted by terrycloth View Post
lastly my friend is a huge fan of TWD show and recently got him reading the book and he loved it and decided he wanted to buy the single issue run of it for his collection. being that he has plenty of disposable income i took him to a shop that i knew had a lot of back issues and key issues. he came across a walking dead Weekly book and asked about it as i never heard of it and wasnt sure if it was a standaone book or re releases. the shop owner Literally answered him when never looking away from his monitor saying..." that was just a cash in for al the idiots reading that crap"
...again, maybe not an unfair assessment of that issue, but... why TRY and isolate/insult (potential) customers?

Originally Posted by terrycloth View Post
Outside of this forum which has a lot of knowledgeable and helpful members (i would of prolly got death threats over my crisis post outside of other forums), and a couple friends i have none to talk comics with because they are too good to be bothered....maybe im too sensitive? or maybe i just refuse to be mocked by a man that hangs out all day at his lcbs with a cloak in his trunk waiting to play his nightly round of DD or magic
I have few to no comics friends too. Certainly none with my interest in the history and scope... the MarvelMasterworksFansite is a good community - but like any community there are factions and dislikes and an intolerance towards both new and naive people. Which is not the slam them at all - here is similar, anywhere is similar; comics fans are just more polarised - but it might be worth a look.

Thick skins and patience, self-deprecation and a healthy ability to own ones failings and quirks are necessary in all walks of life, of course. But common courtesy in return should not be hard to find... and often, sadly, is.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:42 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
1- The old school comic book store owners/ employees haven't adjusted to the new era where comic books have become mainstream thanks to the movies. They still feel that the stores should just cater there "true" comic book fan who cares about the content (writing) of the book and not the artwork/variants/movie tie ins/etc. They feel that these new people at the store are there as fair-weather fans.
If I can try and be balanced and not seem like I'm picking a fight...!

I can understand (and share) some of those feelings. It IS annoying that people can now claim knowledge/fandom of certain characters/groups without having read a single comic! It is galling to think/hear people presuming Nu52 is the only status quo; thinking Nick Fury was never not Samuel L Jackson; assuming the Man of Steel accurately repeesents 75 years of Superman... many people who wander in ARE fair weather customers; I talk to people casually who have attempted to read comics because they love the MCU and given up because comics are "inferior". People confused by multiple incarnations, willing to cut up comics, etc., etc.

Now that's both personal opinion/sympathy and a devil's advocate-ish set of statements which should not be misjnterpreted as being completely AGAINST potential new fans. Without new fans, there'll be no industry when the old guard dies off.

(One extra criticism is that new fans are informing business decisions that are actively causing continuity breaches that do impact enjoyment of older comics... and there's a limited sense of accuracy there.)

Any group is naturally suspicious of outsiders, though. And the most-invested are the most easily offended by limited knowledge from such outsiders. They should, however, remember that THEY were once the outsider...

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
2- Some of these comic book store owners/employees got burned in the 90's with the comic book speculation and they feel another wave of this is coming and that the bubble may burst soon. It's partly true, but stupid anyhow.
I see more truth than stupidity - but more fristration. Having to buy 100 copies (that might not sell) to get a variant cover that might sell at inflated price and cover those hundred copoes...? A tricky fan/business decision - supporting a horrendous marketing choice to potentially make financial gain.

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
3- East Coast comic book store owner/sellers/dealers tend to be arrogant dicks. Don't know why about this, but I've seen this mentioned in many forums/blogs/comic book websites and have seen it personally. These people tend to overprice their stuff, by either following what the Overstreet Guide says (which tends to not be the real price) or following current sales on eBay (whichever price is higher).
Speculators are bastards. And people who scalp shops and make a personal profit on eBay are even worse. Trying to combat that, while still procing things at a reasonable level AND taking care of loyal customers...? A nightmare.

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
..we price stuff reasonably and we treat everyone who comes in with respect, no matter what they like.
I wish you every success!
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Old 10-25-15, 05:26 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

The guys in the comic shop in the OP were P.O.S. losers. There is nothing "wrong" with someone collecting certain comics. There are definitely some a$$hat comic fans out there - and some of them are comic book store owners! This is why I only buy collected editions these days & haven't stepped foot in a comic store in close to a year.

Re: collecting what you like & not caring what others think, I'm a guy and back in the '80's had an interest in collecting the DC fantasy/sword & sorcery comic Amethyst, but never did because I thought it was too "girly" and not "macho" enough. So, I never got this. However, now that I'm much older & more open-minded, I would buy a color collected edition of these original comics in a heartbeat (I never got the b&w Showcase volume a while back since color was such a huge part of the series).

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
So going back to my friend's store, we are doing exactly the opposite of what the old school stores did. We set up shop in a strip mall where the biggest theaters in town are located. We bought collections from different state sales and filled our back issue bins, and then we bought new comic books, toys, statues, etc. from Diamond. We put in a poker table, seating area, 2 HD TVs, hooked a PS4 and an X-Box One and we are promoting it as a family friendly comic book and pop culture store. So far, it's working great because we price stuff reasonably and we treat everyone who comes in with respect, no matter what they like. So far it's been a hit with everyone in town, from old school comic book fans to new kids trying to get into comics. There seems to be a lot of these shops similar to ours starting to pop up and a lot of the old stores fading away. It's simple common sense, but a lot of these old school owners don't have it because they never socialized outside their groups. Instead of catering to Sheldon Coopers, we are catering to everyone.
Sounds like a good plan. A comic book store in a popular, well-travelled strip mall is a good idea, since patrons from the movie theater, other stores, etc. will see the comic store and be more likely to go there than if the comic store were in another, more isolated location.

Last edited by TheDude; 10-25-15 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 10-25-15, 06:58 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by terrycloth View Post
the first one was in philly or right outside of it? im trying to remember the name. its in a strip mall and about 10 minutes from the diner nifty fifty. large store with a great selection and a big set up in the back half of the store.
Ah yeah, I have driven by that one in my work travels, but it is usually early in the morning so I have never gone in since I live pretty far from there. I'll have to remember to avoid stopping in there. I think it is called Comic Universe or something generic like that.
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Old 10-25-15, 07:55 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Back in the mid-to late 80's, when I was 12 years old, I started working part time at a Comic sub-distributor/mail-order warehouse. As a result, I spoke with lots of comic store owners over the phone and in person, and eventually reached a conclusion, that comic store owners were:

1) Businessmen with no understanding of comics.
2) Comic fans with no understanding of business.

Generally, I think that things have improved in that there are SOME exceptions now out there, and there have been minor improvements amongst other shops (for example, the d-bag condescending bully now manages a store that is brighter, more open and airy then what he would have in the past [that's Pulp Fiction in Long Beach, CA which sells online as CheapGraphicNovels .com]).

There are some interesting theories presented above on why shops are as they are now, but ime in the greater Southern California area then it's much better then in the past. Instead of the owner who would scream at kids, make frequent use of profanity, and make and break verbal agreements dozens of times per day, we have the quieter, condescending, dismissive arses, who also break verbal agreements, just not nearly as often. So, progress!

To ntnon , I hear you about those sorts of people, but ime that's always the way, with people like that unavoidable. Few people seem able to approach a situation thinking that they don't know everything. I still remember some teens who saw a Hal Jordan action figure and were greatly pissed that "DC was trying to make John Stewart white".

Meanwhile, it is possible for speculators to be responsible, guessing as to what will be hot and ordering it through Previews, or other ways, in advance, so that more copies are printed on the gamble that they've guessed correctly that not enough orders will be placed for an item they think will be hot. I don't know how many might still do that, if any, but historically speaking, some speculators would never do the sort of sleazy behavior that you mention.

TheDude , I'm with you on Amethyst, though fortunately I found and bought almost all the issues anyway back then. I'm sure I'm missing 2-5 total, though I have no idea where they're located. But I did read the 4-issue 1987 mini by Keith Giffen & Esteban Maroto and definitely thought that that was a great story. I'd buy a collected edition of all of them all too.
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Old 10-25-15, 11:10 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post


I wish you every success!
Thanks! So far it's been going good and we are now working with the Regal Cinema to do promotional stuff together. We are expecting a spike in business in December with Christmas and the Star Wars premiere.
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Old 10-25-15, 11:50 PM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Comic shops that are in well traveled shopping centers are a good idea, but I suppose the flip side to that is the rent must be much higher than the equivalent space in the strip mall with the laundry mat and sandwich shop, and my general understanding is that comics aren't a very high profit margin business. I guess that's why increasingly the high traffic shopping centers are filled with chain restaurants, other more daring restaurants, movie theaters, and big box chain stores. But hey if a store owner can make it work, good for them.

I know that I would definitely browse a comic shop if it was right near any of the movie theaters I hit up, but I can't say I'd be spending much money there. I don't buy new single issues, any back issues I want for stuff not collected in trade I generally buy off eBay or MyComicShop.Com, and I haven't seen an LCS who can really compete with the price and convenience of buying trades online through IST, or less frequently, Amazon. I'm the type of person who will research things and read reviews online rather than ask an employee at an LCS for recommendations. And I don't do card games or buy statues/other memorabilia. So basically I'm someone a shop owner shouldn't and wouldn't give a shit about.
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Old 10-26-15, 12:29 AM
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Re: Comic Elitists

Some (the minority, really) comic book store owners I've had dealings with in the past were real d-bags who deserved to have their business fold. However, there were others that definitely seemed to enjoy comics & appreciated the business I gave them.

That being said, one of the comic store d-bag moves that sticks in my head after many years happened circa Summer '84 (at the height of my comic collecting): I was in my LCS & saw an early copy of Daredevil (possibly #3 or #4) on display in the front glass case of the store that was in the worst shape I've ever seen a loose comic in - this comic looked like it had literally been through a shredder. I was (and still am) a huge DD fan at the time, and out of curiosity I asked the owner how much it was - he replied, "Make me an offer!". I was a young teen at the time, and I guess he felt he could take advantage of what he thought was my youthful ignorance by selling me a P.O.S. However, even then I was smart enough to realize the comic was in shit shape, and didn't say anything nor did I buy this - however, I felt like saying that I wouldn't have even taken this if he had given it to me for free!

Originally Posted by Strapped4Cash View Post
TheDude , I'm with you on Amethyst, though fortunately I found and bought almost all the issues anyway back then. I'm sure I'm missing 2-5 total, though I have no idea where they're located. But I did read the 4-issue 1987 mini by Keith Giffen & Esteban Maroto and definitely thought that that was a great story. I'd buy a collected edition of all of them all too.
Never had any of the Amethyst floppies (individual issues), much to my disappointment. I remember the art was superb in the issues I flipped through at the time - and, I like sword & sorcery/fantasy comics, so this is right up my alley. I considered getting the Showcase b&w reprinted volume of Amethyst a while back, but color was such an essential part of this series that I passed. Here's hoping DC reprints this classic series in color at some point....

Last edited by TheDude; 10-26-15 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 10-26-15, 12:51 AM
  #25  
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Re: Comic Elitists

A thriving local mall got a new comic book shop in it last year in a prime location by one of the main entrances. This is a fairly rich mall with upper middle-class customers. The comic shop was a small place but in a perfect spot for casual business. They didn't have much room for anything beyond new issues and some trades, lacking the usual back issues and merchandising displays of comic related goodies. I was hoping it would succeed, I think comic books need more exposure as an actual medium and not their characters.

Long story short, the store lasted less than six months in the mall. They couldn't survive in the mall on selling issues and trades alone.
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