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Sunday, June 12, 2005
At least once a day now I'm getting someone antsy with me because they've had a problem registering for Comic-Con. The conversation usually goes along these lines: "Anything else you need help with?" Yeah, I tried to e-mail Comic-Con about registering for one day of admittance but they haven't gotten back to me. "Uhm, well, gee, that's too bad." So, what should I do? "I have no idea what you should do in that situation except trying to contact them again." What? But you work in a comic-book store! Therefore, you are privy to the inner workings of all things even remotely comic book related. (Okay, they don't actually say that last part, but that's the attitude. It's remarkably similar to the attitude I get from customers regarding comic book movies: "So who's going to play Iron Man in the movie they're making?" I didn't even know they were making an Iron Man movie. "What? Doesn't Marvel personally send you e-mails updating you on every step of the film-making process?")
Helping people find tattoo designs is fun! No, wait, it's not. And I haven't had to deal with it for awhile. I've lately mostly had to deal with helping people find pictures of "really cool demons and devils" because a local car-club has apparently decided that all their members need to decorate their cars with images of satanic debauchery. But I did get a stealth tattoo request the other day. The fellow came in looking for "books on Celtic myth." I asked him if he was looking for books about Celtic myths or comics based on Celtic myth. He wasn't sure. So I took out Charles Vess' Books of Ballads and Sagas which outside of Asterix is the closest thing we have to a comic based on Celtic myth. And no, that wasn't what he was looking for. So then he wandered over to the game section, and lo, he did find some books with vaguely Celtic looking, easy to replicate line-work. I swear, the next time someone comes in looking for tattoo designs, I'm just going to recommend they Go to the bookstore for some of these.
My favorite conversation of the week-end had to be this though. "Do you have any 3-D comic books?" We sure do. "Do you have any that don't have any sex in them?" ...Of course we do! "Well I don't know. I've never been there. Do you have any 3-D versions of The Iliad or The Odyssey?"
It wasn't so much her defensiveness about me failing to take seriously her insulting presumption that all comics=porn. It was that she got huffy when told that the highly specific and unlikely to exist item wasn't something we had in stock. Were I a jerk I would have sold her Age of Bronze. That would have been entertaining for her to take home: "Mommy, mommy! Achilles and Patroklus are hugging!"
And not really a customer story, but something that occurred to me while putting away some twenty year old comics: Remember when Madballs were offensive? Remember when taking Garbage Pail Kids to school would get you sent home, or wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt would get you suspended? Where's the outrageous, but ultimately innocuous, stuff for kids today? South Park has to push the boundaries further and further each season to maintain their "inappropriate for children" credibility, and Wonder Showzen is so busy trying to find new ways to be offensive that they've forgotten to be funny. And both those shows go out of their way to try to convince people that they don't want kids watching. So, what does that leave kids with? Family Guy? Yu-Gi-Oh? That's just sad.