The Casual Comic Shop Customer

I wrote this in the comments to an article on The Beat about Image Comics‘ response to questions about the high frequency of their recent titles going back for second and even third printings (they’re not the only ones, other recent examples include Superbia, the first two issues of Adventure Time and Fanboys Vs. Zombies from Boom.). I posted it a couple days after the original article was published, so I doubt very many people read it. I’ve had a number of concerns lately about comics staying in print and the lack of availability of even fairly recent alternative titles. This is to be the first of a series of related articles. Enjoy.

I don’t have a subscription at my local shop. I don’t do all my new comics shopping at one store (we’re lucky to have several in the San Jose area). I don’t go every week. There are very few titles I buy every issue of. I check out several new books when I shop. Some I just browse. Some I flip through. A few I buy to take home and check out. I often buy books because they feature a favorite artist or writer. I frequently mutter in disgust and put the book back on the shelf when the art on the inside is no match for what’s on the cover. The last time I went at least once a month to the comic shop was when Brian K. Vaughan still had 2 regular series coming out (which was only for a short while after there were three). I often go and don’t find anything I want. Several times in recent months a book I was looking for was not available.

One thing that gets me into shops is online previews and reviews at the various popular comics news sites. I check at least four a day with the rest of my morning news. Some of the most talked about titles of the last many months on these include Image’s Mud Man, Saga, King City, Nonplayer, Orc Stain and Prophet. Saga was easy enough to find. The same shop that had that for me turned me on to Nonplayer. The rest, I have had to hunt all up and down the San Francisco bay to keep up with. If I could easily get Image titles online in print I would do that. It took several months to track down one elusive issue of King City. I don’t buy digital comics. I do read web comics.

Anytime I’m in a shop looking for particular titles it’s a safe bet I won’t find at least one of them. Sometimes the book hasn’t shipped when I thought it had. More often I’m told “we only got one of those, I guess it sold” – as was the case with the much hyped Mud Man #1. Most commonly the shop hasn’t ordered it and the clerk has never heard of it.

I also look for comics my son might like. His favorite is Scooby Doo. It is very rare to find more than the most recent issue available. Shop owners! If you take nothing else away from my little ramble, do yourself just this one favor. Order more Scooby Doo. They’ll sell.

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