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Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Inventory Control & Others
I was very glad to see that Christmas shoppers seriously depleted us of our toy-stock. Except, of course, for the gayest item in the store, gayer than any of the gay porn comics we stock. Even I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the homoeroticism of this object.
And on a related note, about the only toys that didn't blow out of here were our stock of McFarlane produced toys. I've got a terrible suspicion that they're going to sit on toy shelves everywhere for years as a testament to the bad business decisions of Todd McFarlane.
Mike already mentioned that it was a big year for sales of Elfquest trades. It was also a pretty good year for manga in general, as well as Star Wars and Batman. The only X-Men comics people wanted were ones written by Joss Whedon, and Fables and Y: The Last Man were the only Vertigo books in demand. To be honest, there was almost no interest in any of Neil Gaiman's work at all this Christmas. Dark Horse even put out an inexpensive hardcover of Gaiman stories illustrated by Mike Zulli the week of Christmas, and it just sat on the shelf.
It probably would have been a good Christmas for Love and Rockets books as well, judging by the number of requests I got for them, but over half of them are not currently available from Diamond, including Locas and Palomar.
Nobody wants that new Hardy Boys comic...I've been shelving it with the kids comics, the manga...nobody has shown any interest in it. The target audience appears to be children, but when was the last time kids thought that the Hardy Boys were cool? And as for adult Hardy Boys fans, I heard several make sneering complaints about the manga-style art.
Which, I think, is a common problem with comics publishers trying to bring in kid readers...they approach it from the "this subject matter used to be popular" angle and alienate the kids, or they approach it from the "this style of art is popular now" angle and alienate the pre-existing audience. And this particular comic got it from both ends, so to speak...an art style that many existing comic fans don't like, and subject matter that doesn't interest kids. Had they gotten Lea Hernandez to draw mystery stories with new characters I probably would have had more luck selling them. But no, they had to put The Hardy Boys in big bold letters across the top 2/3rds of the page.
We have a few customers who are really only comfortable talking to one or two people who work in the shop. This is very frustrating, because whenever they call or come in, the person they "need" to talk to is invariably busy with something requiring a fair amount of attention. And, of course, what the customer needs help with is always something that anyone in the store could help them with.
Yesterday, a customer called and asked to speak with "R***"...who hasn't worked at the store in years and years. And years. The urgent question that could only be answered by "R***", arrived at after several minutes of my patient and reassuring questions designed to get to the purpose behind the call? "Do you have any comics by John Byrne?"
I believe the technical term for the amount of comics coming in this week is "a boatload." And only half of them are What If... specials or Avengers variant covers.