Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Have No Topic Today 

So, in sixties Marvel comics, who was the first female character to have a career that wasn't secretary, nurse or model?

Seriously...they thought Countdown to Infinite Crisis was a better title than DC Countdown? And now all the sites that have previews for this book and the semi-spin-offs up seem to have bandwidth consumption related access problems. Which indicates to me that there's a lot of general interest in these titles, despite some of the nay-saying I've noticed on-line.

Pal John has a new columnist gig, and his first outing is a look at the over-hyped What the Bleep Do We Know?

Inventory Control
Demo is still selling strong, and we have to re-order weekly again. It's starting to approach Johnen Vasquez sales levels in our neck of the woods. The Apparat books from Warren Ellis are also moving, but still slowly. What helps there is that no one ever buys just one. And with the exception of Metal Gear Solid, IDW is slowly but surely losing sales momentum, except for Grimjack, which we now cannot keep in stock. After a long dry spell, G.I. Joe is starting to pick up in sales, as are Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, but the super-hero universe Aftermath titles from Devil's Due are just sitting on the shelf. Across the board sales on Ultimate titles are falling. Customers who have dropped the books cite either the long, meandering plotlines as the cause of their dissatisfaction, or the "lack of fun" in the titles. In general, sales are up in the store, but sales on individual titles are down. My guess is that people are broadening their purchases and dropping marginal titles.

True Tales of Comics Retail

A customer came into the store, looking for Sin City comics, and Kid Chris and I are only too helpful in locating for them. He flips through them, gets this sort of annoyed look on his face and asks me "Do you have any other comics that are kind of like this?"

"Like that, how?" I ask. "Noir crime stories or in a similar art style?" (I must always ask this question. I've been asked for "dark" comics too many times.)

"Like this art. I want something that has very noir art."

I wonder, briefly, if he's just repeating my words back to me and has mistaken a genre description for an art term, and suggest artists like Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, Mike Mignola and Tim Sale, who have all done work in the high-contrast black-and-white technique that Miller uses on Sin City. He then notices a Brian Bolland poster of the Joker up on the wall. "There, that's the sort of thing I'm looking for! That kind of noir art."

I'm looking at the picture, and before I can edit myself I say "Brian Bolland's work is closer to a photo-realistic style. It doesn't look anything like Frank Miller's work."

"Oh, so the style that Frank Miller uses is called photo-realism?"

So, yeah, it's now becoming clear to me that this person is only repeating words back at me, has no idea what I'm talking about, and in all likelihood is only looking for something to trace. Because he's an artist. And he's taken a look at Sin City and decided that it's going to be too hard to copy. Plus, we close in about fifteen minutes and I don't have time to give this guy an art history lesson so that we'll at least be using the same basic terminology so that I can help him find whatever the hell he thinks he's looking for. "No, Brian Bolland, who drew that picture of the Joker, uses a technique similar to photo-realism. Frank Miller, who drew Sin City uses a high-contrast, white on black style to tell crime stories. Forget the word noir."

"Oh. So I want something like Sin City then?"

"If that's the art style you're looking for, yes." And he then buys two random issues of two different Sin City mini-series.

I swear, my job would be so much easier if people would just admit that they're looking for something to trace.


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