State of Comic Retailing, Seattle edition
We love the The Stranger. This probably isn’t news, as we have mentioned our beloved weekly several times. And through various events, like Harvey Pekar at Town Hall or Los Bros Hernandez at Fantagraphics, we’ve seen the same friendly face representing our paper of choice.
Paul Constant is awesome. He is knowledgable and varied in the books that he reviews, and obviously has some respectable literary chops. But this week, while reading Constant Reader, I started to bang my head on my desk after reading his piece. Constant started off benignly enough, bringing up some recycled points about the average superhero comics reader and how the overall face of comics are changing. And then he went there.
He brought up the overwhelming awesome contained within the mecca-type indie comic book store. You know, the notoriously awesome ones like Rocketship and Comic Relief. These stores are special because of how different they are from your average shop. And then he bashed on the small Seattle’s chain Zanadu. My physical reaction to his observation was eye-rolling and scoffing:
Once, when I brought an attractive female friend into the store, she was twice approached by slavering male customers and asked if she needed help finding anything.
For the record, after the gazillion trips I’ve made to this particular store I can say I’ve never ever felt objectified or out of place. I’ve been able to talk shop with the female employees. I’ve been able to have special orders placed for me.
Further, I’ve lived in cultural wastelands where the local comic shop was so abysmal that I resorted to online shopping. Too many gaming nerds, too little selection, and too many weird looks left me running away, never to be seen again.
We comic readers in Seattle are lucky. We have enough decent shops to have a selection, an even better Fantagraphics gallery, and a smart comic loving audience. What’s to hate on, Mr. Constant?