Dear Comic Vine,
I want to start by thanking you for making my Fridays so awesome. Tony, your knowledge of all things geek is unparalleled. Sara, you bring unique perspectives to many issues that I may normally not consider. Corey, your witty one liners keep me rolling on the floor. Finally, James, if you are visiting, I just want to let you know that Earth 2 has consistently given me nerdgasms for the last four months.
But enough jibber jabber, my question is for Corey, because of his expert knowledge in running a comic store (Two Cats Comic Shop, 320 West Portal Avenue). After hearing my debacle you may feel sympathy for me, or want to have me tarred and feathered (If you're in to that kind of thing).
I have recently been dealing with the soul tearing debate that many comic fans have been wrestling with: DIGITAL VS. PRINT. I realize there are far too many pros and cons on both sides of the debate for me to list. Believe me I tried writing them all down. I ended up writing a 2,000 page novel entitled "What Have I Done With My Life?" My issue deals with the comic store in today's digital world.
These shops are a safe haven for geeks like myself. It is not just a place to pick up your comics, but a chance to socialize and interact with your fellow brethren. Let's face it for some of us this may be the only social interaction we get throughout the week. (Yes, I'm talking to you smelly ponytail guy in the Avengers shirt stained with ketchup, mustard, and tears. I love you, but please take a shower.)
My personal tale begins 28 years ago when my mother and father... Wait that's too much information. It begins five years ago when I first began entering my local comic book shop. Instantly I fell in love, and I began visiting the store weekly or biweekly. The staff was friendly and curtious , and they always had my pull list ready.
Unfortunately, after about four years tragedy struck. I met a beautiful woman, proposed, and bought a house 45 minutes away from my favorite shop. (For all of my Nerds in Arms listening, yes it's true we can meet women. Just hold the faith.) On top of being sucked away by a beautiful temptress I also lost my job as an elementary librarian due to budget cuts (Apparently we don't need books in schools anymore). I explained my situation to the workers at the shop, and they were very understanding. I let them know that I would still be making a trip once a month, but I had to cut about half of my books. They were still very hospitable.
But then the plot thickened. About a month later I made the long trek to the comic shop. When I arrived at the counter to buy what I expected to be a small handful of comics from my pull list, I was shocked to see all of my original list still there. I informed them that they had made a mistake, and about half of those comics were to be cut. They looked at the list and realized I was right. However, they still told me it was customary for a guest to empty his entire box before cutting his list. At this point I was beginning to get angry. I had already emptied my box, and I had already let them know of my cuts! In the end I told them I just couldn't afford it, but still bought abought 80% of the pile. (Let's face putting comics in front of a geek is like sprinkling cocaine on a recovering crack head. We're gonna cave.) To make sure everything was okay they double checked my phone number in case of problems (important plot point) and sent me on my my somewhat merry way.
For several months things seemed normal. Once every thirty days I would return to my shop like the salmon instinctively returning to their spawning grounds. My fiance (the temptress) saw my many travels, and for Christmas bought me a Kindle Fire thinking that if I bought digitally I wouldn't have to make as many unnecessary trips. ( Damn her, and her loving, caring heart!) I began to buy a few new titles digitally, and I won't lie, I liked the convenience. But I couldn't turn my back on my shop, or the feel of holding a freshly printed comic in your hands. By hell or high water I had decided to be faithful to my shop...kind of.
My life quickly picked up, and before I knew it I was two issues behind on my comics. (Two whole months!!!) The first free weekend I had I rushed to my shop. When I went to the counter for my box the cashier informed me my pull list had been closed, and all of my comics had been put back on the shelf. This was the last straw! Filled with rage I desperately paced through the shop in hopes of finding my missing books. Most of which were now sold out including Batman Issue 10 and 11, and Earth 2 Issue 3!!! I was so mad I decided that if this is how they were going to treat me, then I'd go completely digital. When I finally cooled down and approached the counter with my sad stack, I asked why they had closed my box. The cashier being a kindhearted man informed me that every time a comic isn't picked up they take a major hit. I understood, but asked why I never received a phone call to let me know. He had no answer.....
In the end I made a compromise. I now only buy my DC Comics at the shop, but any Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, independent comics, etc. would be bought online.
Please let me know if this a fair compromise or am I being a complete jerk. Was I wrong for getting upset? Are digital comics the future? Why does Sara hate Nightwing so much? Will my fiance beat me for calling her "the temptress"?.......