Many fans may have been upset with the stereotyped portrayal of comic fans in this week's Heroes, but their reactions were nothing compared to that of Bay Area comic retailer Brian Hibbs.
As well as owning and operating Comix Experience in San Francisco for almost 20 years, Hibbs has become known as an influential voice within the comic industry for a few reasons. Firstly, he's written two books about the comic industry (as well as a number of columns on the same subject). Secondly, he was one of the first comic retailers to see trade paperbacks and collections as a market in themselves and more than just the occasional add-on to monthly sales. And thirdly, he was once David to Marvel Comics' Goliath, launching a class action lawsuit make them live up to their own terms of sale (He won). Oh, and he's also one of the founding members of comic retailer trade organization ComicsPRO. All of which should, ideally, let you know that he's a very smart man who knows comic book retailing better than most. So how, exactly, did he take Monday's scenes of comic store woe?
I've been in a whole god-damn lot of comics shops in my life, and, sure, there have been a few monumentally shitty ones, but the overwhelming majority of what I've seen have been locations that were open and inviting to all people of any shape size creed color or sex.
Here's the thing that really gets me: as an LA-produced show, the staff of HEROES has no shortage of excellent comics shops. Just off the top of my head: Earth-2, Meltdown, Golden Apple, Secret Headquarters, Brave New Worlds — these are all world-class stores run by world-class retailers.
I'm going to assume that the HEROES staff shops at some of these stores, which makes this decision even more head-scratchingly fucked up.
I'd probably be a lousy comics shop in LA because I have a low-bullshit threshold, but I have got to say that if it was MY store that the staff was shopping in, I'd be telling them this week to take their business somewhere else.
You don't shit where you eat, you don't bite the hand that feeds you, and you don't insult your core constituency.
I'd say "ouch," but that's before Brian's closing, which may rhyme with "bluck blou blery bluch." I still haven't seen the episode in question, but kind of hated the series' last comic store scene; knowing that something so bad as to provoke this response is lying in wait on my DVR isn't a particularly comforting thing. When does Bryan Fuller get back again?
Turning it off: Hibbs is done with HEROES [The Savage Critics]