Thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory, people’s perception of comic shops tends to be more than skewed. The big NO GIRLS stigma, the sweaty nerds and the fights over old comic books are generally how these stores are portrayed, and unfortunately for someone who has never visited a shop like this, this is the stuff they go in expecting.
After working in a comic shop for nearly two years, I’m here to relay to you some of the ridiculous things we hear and get asked! Rolling in at number six is;
6. Can I have a job here?/It must be so fun to work here!
No. First off, I’m a part-time cashier, why would I have the authority to give you a job in the shop? Why do you assume you can get a job here by simply asking at the counter with no CV or formal application? Aside from that, people think working in a comic shop is going to be the most exciting, fun and wonderful thing in the world. They expect it to just be reading comics all day. Truth is, it’s just like every other job. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and take a look at the stock takes, the cleaning, the unpacking, the pricing! It’s cool being surrounded by stuff you like, but unfortunately it’s not yours to play with. A job is a job.
5. That’s so expensive for paper!
Comic pricing always seems to be a shock to some people. All they see is the finished product and don’t seem to appreciate the work that goes into it. If a comic series releases an issue every two weeks you need to take into account all the steps to make it in that time. Pencils, inks, colouring, editing, lettering, final touches and actually physically printing it. Everyone needs to be paid here and undercharging means we and everyone at the company would be making a loss.
4. Do you read comics?
This is like asking someone who works in a clothes shop if they wear clothes. Yes. I’ve been here for a year now, so if I didn’t read comics it just may have impaired my working here. I don’t want to drag this argument into things, but because I am a girl who is working in a shop that sells comics, I did get a lot of ‘Oooooh that’s a girl!‘ What’s funny is that it was never from people who frequented the shop and collected comics. These awkward ‘nerds’ that TBBT seems to portray as a laughing stock are surprisingly the only ones that don’t seem to look twice. So many regulars to the shop were so welcoming and lovely to me when I started. They couldn’t care less what gender the cashier was as long as they were pleasant and sold them their comics.
3. I’m so nerdy!
This statement is loudly proclaimed in the shop a lot. We do not need to see your credentials, we won’t be testing you. It seems they need to prove to everyone in the immediate vicinity that they are in fact, so nerdy. The terms get thrown around a lot these days. Nerd and Geek have become almost endearing terms rather than insults. It’s great that the culture is growing more and more accepted these days, but some people seem to think it’s a competition. Being ‘nerdy’ isn’t something you need to prove. Being ‘nerdy’ is about totally loving something you’re interested in. It doesn’t have to be comic books or games, it can be anything you have a passion for. Summer Glau was once asked if she was a nerd, and she talked about how she was a gardening nerd. It’s not any one thing that makes you a ‘nerd’, it’s what you love. You don’t need to prove it.
2. I HATE Doctor Who/Batman/Marvel/etc and here’s why!
Oh, thanks for noticing my t-shirt! Yes, it is indeed the TARDIS! That’s where the conversation should end. Believe me, I do not want to hear a twenty minute long saga on why Doctor Who is crap. I don’t really care. There are people behind you in the line. I believe in being friendly and engaging with customers. It’s basic manners. But unfortunately, I’m not here to be your pal. I’m here to work and serve everyone else in the line. I don’t really understand why so often it’s ‘Here’s why I hate -blank-‘ and not ‘Oh, I like -blank- too, cool!’ I don’t know if you want an argument from me or not. Perhaps you’re just trying to be controversial for the sake of it. Whatever the reason, please move on, Doctor Who is awesome.
1. Do you have the first Batman?
What, of the New 52? Ha, not a chance, but here it is in a handy-dandy trade paperback! Oh, not the New 52..? Literally Batman #1. Right. I don’t have any words for this one and you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve been asked. Just… why would we have that?!