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Monday, August 23, 2004
Comics and Celebrities (or, Name-Dropping)
Yes, I've had the occasional brush with fame, working in comics retail. And by that, I don't just mean that I've had more than my fair share of opportunities to chat with comics pros and sell them funny-books. No, I mean that I've met real celebrities while working in comics retail.
Well, a few anyway. So I'll pad out this piece with a few comics pro stories as well. (Notably, the time I accidentally insulted Randy Queen...more on that later.)
A disheveled man walked into the store one day. Long coat, straggly beard, baseball cap pulled low on his head. I thought he looked vaguely familiar, but Mike thought he looked like a suspicious character and so he decided to unobtrusively keep an eye on him while he wandered through the store. Especially as the guy came back to the Robert Crumb section of one of the book-cases, where a few other "adult" titles were kept. After some time, the gentleman, who I now recognize, buys some Crumb books, and also some of Judd Winick's Frumpy the Clown and Barry Ween books. Afterwards, I believe my comment to Mike was: "So, Mike...you thought John Ritter was a shoplifter?"
And then John Schneider came into the store one day. Now, at 5'10", I'm just about as "average adult male height" as you can get. I don't think of myself as short, not even when you over 6' freaks of nature somehow get it into your heads that it's somehow "normal" for a man to be over 6' in height. But that Pa Kent now, he's a tall man. Honestly, it was just about all I could think of. "This man is really tall." (Okay, to be honest, I was also thinking: "This man is damn sexy.") Very nice, chatty, personable fellow too. He was very interested in where we kept our Smallvile tie-in merchandise on display and how it sold.
Ironically enough, his son is a Spider-Man fan.
Wil Wheaton made a personal appearance at the store once. With his entourage. You wouldn't expect Wil Wheaton to have an entourage, but there it was. Also a very nice, personable fellow, but having a store full of Star Trek fans for a day really did nothing but remind me that I'm not a Star Trek fan and never will be.
Of course, when it comes to famous people what you mostly get working comics retail is comics pros. We've got several living in our immediate area or with relatives near-by, so we have fairly regular visits by most of them. It's one of the unintended frustrations of having a site like this, too, because now I know horrible secrets about other creators that I can't repeat. Although mostly what I know is forthcoming projects that I shouldn't really mention because they haven't been officially announced yet. Or, in a few cases, that I really shouldn't mention because they've already been cancelled before they even got announced. So, while I could create all kinds of internet buzz and create all sorts of traffic by revealing that I know Marvel is planning to do a one-shot book which will piss-off people of a certain political persuasion even more than that Punisher: The End book did, I won't, because that would be wrong! Or, that an artist who would have been absolutely perfect on a book about a shape-changing super-hero (no, not that one) wanted to do it, but DC apparently decided against it, because that would also be wrong!
Anyway, accidentally insulting Randy Queen...
Fellow comes into the store, with a shapely female companion. He looks around, seems more interested in browsing so I get on with other work. He buys a few back issues and goes to check out. While I'm ringing him up, he asks me if we have any of the Darkcyhlde lunch-boxes. I say, no, we had some, but we sold our last one a couple of days ago. He asks if we'll be getting any more in. I say that we probably won't, as "that kind of merchandise" is kind of a slow seller. So then the gentleman hands me his credit card. Which says "Randy Queen" on it. Crap.
By "that kind of merchandise" I meant lunch-boxes, I swear!