Not all of them. Just my experience with the few that I’ve been to.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I like comics, but I haven’t always been into the actual BOOK side of comics until the past year and a half or so. That doesn’t say I haven’t been interested in general; some of my best memories are from comic book movies. The first midnight screening my mom took me to was Spider-Man, I was 8 and I thought that staying up until 3am to watch a movie was the coolest thing in the world…and I still do because I’m still an 8 year old at heart. Since then, we’ve seen over 20 movies at midnight screenings; we’ve watched all of the Spider-mans (men?) together as well as the Dark Knight Trilogy, and all of the movies leading up to the Avengers; which I then I surprised her with an advanced screening on her birthday because there was no one in the world I wanted to share the culmination of years of excitement with than the person that introduced me to superheros.
I also remember the time that I almost broke my childhood friend Juliana’s elbow while we were playing Daredevil and Elektra. (I was Daredevil which at the time I wasn’t thrilled with, but now that I can appreciate the sheer awesomeness of Matt Murdock, I feel kinda badass.) Ok, so that memory is LESS joyous than the others, but I digress.
I’ve seen a lot on here recently about people wanting to read comics but are frightened of going into comic book stores. My heart breaks every time I read those posts. I know that a lot of places can be less than friendly- I’ve had a bitchy guy help me out at Midtown and I could tell he wanted to do LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE than help the girl wearing the Stark-Rogers 2012 t-shirt. And in some cases a lot more goes into the rudeness and unsatisfactory customer service towards people that the clerks deem undesirable. It’s terrible, not only for the person involved but also for comic fans as a whole. The treatment towards females in unfortunately incredibly unpleasant That ingrained “comics are a boys thing, go play with dolls” mentality hasn’t left A LOT of fully grown dudes. And oh god if you’re a female AND you’re a fledgling reader, pshhh you may as well just look in the mirror and laugh at yourself, because that’s all you’re going to see from the clerks. But don’t be discouraged! I’m fairly certain it has less to do with mean comic fans and more to do with shitty people. Bad apples spoil the whole bunch and all that, a few assholes shitty reputation can catch on and place a stigma on the rest of us. But a lousy waiter at a restaurant doesn’t mean the food will be bad, right?
Anyway, I live in Philadelphia, but not in the cool part with all the hipsters and historical sites, and most definitely not in the part with an abundance of comic book stores. I finally find out about one 7 miles away from me- Comic Collection- because I wanted to buy Astonishing X-Men #51 and I knew it was going to be a big issue and I didn’t feel like waiting for it to come on Newkadia. I had never been in before and was immediately overwhelmed by their selection; cases of statues to the left, next to rows and rows of trades, and on the right there were long boxes as far as the eye can see some three/four high and places neatly around even more trades. That’s not even to mention the stacks of free promotional material around the cash register that I couldn’t even see. And the new stock shelves. UGH THINGS OF BEAUTY. There are things hanging from the ceiling and an inflatable Hulk outside and a manikin that changes from Johnny Storm to Super-Man. I was lost in a sea of things I didn’t know what to do with.
But, my savior Steve, one of the two magical shop keepers/spirit guides, appeared from behind boxes and helped me on my path. And I ended up buying more than just Astonishing X-men, I bought stuff I had never even heard of before entering the store and I felt like I really found a lovely little secret garden. I’ve gone back every couple weeks for a few months now to pick up my pull list and also chat, because luckily for me I found the comic book shop that’s the standard of what they should be. Every time I walk in, I stay longer than I need to and talk for ages, even if I know nothing about the characters or the universe, I still enjoy talking to people who are passionate about comics and are willing to take the time to make me feel as comfortable as I possibly can. The owner even has his own radio station which you can find here that plays so many different genres it makes me head spin. Everything about this place is comforting and instantly inviting…well maybe if your claustrophobic it’ll be less so. And the more I talked to the guys, the more I wanted to come back again and again, they’ve never made me feel like I was a dumb comic geek girl or belittled me because I don’t know everything in the history of Marvel about every character, they’re so kind and welcoming of any questions or stories or recommendations.
And I’m not just saying that because they butter me up by putting any and all comics with Hawkeye on the cover aside for me. Because you know, that would be an unfair bias. I cannot sing the praises of Comic Collection enough and I couldn’t be more thankful that they supply such an inviting and open environment for fledgling readers.
I guess what this long as post is trying to say is, if you want to read comics, read. comics. Don’t let an asshole stop you from perusing something you’re interested in. There are also amazing places online that you can purchase issues, but if you can, try to visit your local shop. Sure, you may have to work through some of the assholes to find a gem. But once you do, there’s nothing quite like it.
You can visit the Comic Collection website here
And visit Music Guru Radio here