There isn’t a week that goes by that one of the downthetubes team reads a post or receives a news item about declining comic sales, some articles blaming comics piracy, others the cost of comics, the end of physical print.
But what if a lot of it is just down to how off-putting the whole process of buying a comic from a comic shop is the main reason would-be comic fans don’t bother?
Here, Tony Esmond continues to offer some intentionally humorous guidance for those attempting to buy a comic for the first time… and the perils you may face!
Caveat: Not All Comic Shops Are Like This. Honestly… and we do offer you a handy map of UK comic shop’s right here on downthetubes.
How To Buy A Comic (It isn’t always that easy!) – The Actual Buying Bit
Found a comic? Based on liking it and not on a supposed agenda? Great! Well done you.
Now go to the counter. (This may take a while.)
Remember, the staff will not initially see you. As we mentioned, but must remind you, many have customer blindness. This is a sliding scale between not being bothered to deal with you and wanting to actually stab you.
They’ve seen you? Phew. Seize the day. Be polite. Pass the comic over. “I’d like this please.”
They will then take it from you. They won’t reply. Then they will face away and continue chatting to their friend Tarquin.
Now, you really need to watch carefully at this point. They will ring up the wrong price and give you the wrong change! When you point it out, they will huff and puff like this is interrupting something.
Don’t watch them too closely (they may think you are creepy) so look elsewhere, look at the variant covers of keyrings or trading cards on the counter. But try to keep them under casual observation. They will bend and pull your comics, this is because they don’t actually buy or collect them.
One of them will go “Ha, ha, this is fun and open and read your comic”. You’ll feel like saying “I’m buying that, I’d quite like to read it before you do!” But don’t, as this will cause them to have a snowflake cry. I usually bring up a comic from before the last five years. This causes their hipster programming to become confused.
When you finally leave the store, you’ll feel a little dejected. You might have tried talking about comics and been ignored or brushed off. This is normal. Whatever you do don’t mention Bowie or George Michael passing – this may cause wailing and self-harming.
Just be pleased that you have your reading material. Now go enjoy it.
Then Repeat this for 40 years…
• Follow me on Twitter @Ezohyez
• Our thanks to David Broughton for his art on this series. Many downthetubes readers will recognise David’s work for Papercuts and Inkstains, Zarjaz and more, but along with the wonderful Shaman Kane you really should check out his new fantastic creator owned project Detective Gallo and the Unholy Company, available to buy now from him direct here | Follow David on Twitter @DbroughtonDavid
The opinions in this article are not necessarily those of the entire downthetubes team, most of whom would like to point out that like Tony, they have a great local comic shop, but it took a while to find! Check out our Comic Shop Map, maintained by Colin Noble, here
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.