The beginning of today’s post is inspired by a recent visit to my local comic book store.
Yeah, that’s right. My dorkdom knows no bounds.
The place is called Dr. Comics and Mr. Games and has for twenty years been an absolute wonderland for comic book and graphic novel enthusiasts;
Are you into your regular run of the mill Spiderman comic book? Naturally they have those. Are your tastes more in line with obscure erotic collected editions of sci-fi Anime? They have titles that the most committed enthusiast doesn’t even know exist.
Their expansive collection of the dozens of different genres are all curated by this man- One Mr. Michael Pandolfo;
Michael and I have been acquainted with one another since the mid 90s through a former housemate of mine used to work at his store. Living with her was a dream. I had an ever evolving stack of the best titles I could ever hope to read sitting next to my bed. As a matter of fact, it was she who first turned me on to both one of my very favorite artists, Al Columbia;
As well as the previously mentioned Preacher saga, and the similarly violent Frank Miller/Geof Darrow epic Hard Boiled;
I was like a kid in a candy store and I couldn’t have been happier.
As a side note, after I moved out and no longer with that magical stack, for months I had trouble falling to sleep.
Anyway, upon my visit with Michael on Monday, he began describing having been kicked in the pants over the last year by technology with people ‘showrooming’. He said occasionally he’ll catch folks brazenly browsing around with whatever smart phone they have, scan a bar code, find it cheaper on Amazon, click a button and the book shows up to their house in two days.
I told him that the bike industry suffers from the very same affliction (albeit thankfully not quite as evolved) and how I’ve long been a proponent of supporting one’s locally owned and operated everything.
See? I even made a flyer that says so. If that’s no commitment to a cause, I don’t know what is;
(By ‘friends‘ I mean me.)
I guess I could have assumed that showrooming was adversely affecting any type of business, but it was especially disheartening to see it happening to a friend, who for two decades has done nothing but support his community and give back to his customers in every way conceivable.
It was then that I dropped a whole lotta money on a bunch of new books;
Certainly if you reside in or around the Bay Area, and you have a penchant for such a place, do yourself the favor of all favors and stop in. Afterwords, head up the street and get your mind blown at Montano Velo;
Photo via Urban Velo.
They are the places that dreams are made of, both run by folks who are happy to let you lurk to your heart’s content. Can you do that on the internet? I don’t think so.
Businesses like these build community, and foster real live human interactions. Is sacrificing that worth the five dollars that can be saved on a pair of pedals, or a Judge Dredd action figure? I strongly believe that it’s not and encourage others to feel the same. Next time you find yourself browsing Amazon for that discounted Paula Deen cookbook you’ve had your eye on, pick up the phone, call your local retailer and place an order with them. It’s a drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps.
Please don’t get me wrong though… If used correctly, the internet’s not such a terrible place. Why, if it weren’t for that thing of which we speak, I wouldn’t have come across what is arguably the raddest image taken in 2014;
Another shot by Brad from Urban Velo.
That right there is Old Man Oberpriller, owner and operator of another independent bike shop, One On One Bicycle Studio, which ironically is just down the street from Big Brain Comics;
Photo via Comic Book Resources.
I’m starting to detect a trend here.
It may be nerdy to have such a soft spot for small owner operated businesses, (and in this case bikes, and comic books), but I’d like to believe that even Ogre couldn’t take exception.
Glad to see I’m not the only bike riding comic geek around.
I was hanging out with Geno this past year at the Duffy compound Chequamegon eve. He shared his age with me. I high-fived him and immediately fetched him a cold beer. The limited times I have witnessed him on a bike has left me in amazement. Respect your elders.
Do they have old issues of Eerie and Creepy kicking about?
Anyone remember Gotterdammerung? I just ate that shit up.
I used to own a copy of the Big Damn Hard Boiled ( http://youtu.be/dGwPWqg4yjw ) and loved every single detail of Geof Darrow’s work. Shaolin Cowboy is certainly a great addition to his resume.
Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman. They won’t be adapting that one to a movie…
I want my Zap Comix back. Somebody took ’em.
Sadly, the bike industry has the same smart phone affliction— gawk in store, scan bar code, be a d-bag, buy online.
I would love to see the discussion changed however, from placing blame on the consumers to support local, independent, etc., to placing the blame on the crappy companies that whore their products out, and don’t support the local business who provide the service/warranty/support to their brand. The short-sided race to the bottom, that’s the real issue.
FREE WATER BOTTLES FUCK!!!!!!!
and then there’s this place…. http://www.kimonomyhousetoys.com/shop.cgi
Thank you Stevil for once again for hitting the nail directly on the head. For anyone interested in comics and punks and D&D and everything wonderful I recommend checking out Rat Queens from Image comics. It is like Tank Girl and the most epic of RPG’s had a baby that happened to be a foulmouthed, liquored up group of adventurers. No I do not work for Image comics or the Rat Queens. Yes I did discover this comic at my local comic book shop (Dragon’s Keep) on my weekly cruiser ride to pick up my hold. Here is a link http://imagecomics.com/comics/series/rat-queens.
are you drawing a single speed comic book? drunk rad!!
Stevil, if you like Frank Miller I suggest you look into Garth Ennis or Warren Ellis. Preacher, The Boys, Transmetropolitan, and Crossed are some of my favorite reads. Y the Last Man is a great series too.
That’s probably snow, but I’m really hoping it’s a saltpile wallride.
Awesome post! As a comic shop manager and a mountain biker I couldn’t be happier about the growing trend of local crossover between bike shops and comic shops. We really do have a lot in common. It’s all about community in both worlds, something I think we strive to cultivate and grow. Something that really sets us apart from big box stores and the internet. You’re 100% right, no online shopping is as enjoyable as a real life conversation with others passionate about the same things.
There are already some great recommendations above – but I had to throw out a few – The Wake by Scott Snyder is epic. Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is the most fun I’ve had reading a ‘super hero’ book in a long time, and East of West by Hickman is fantastic. Just in case you needed to add a few more titles to the pile.
How did I miss this post? Jesus, I live under a rock.