You guyyyyys I don’t want to have to talk about myself again NEXT week! Send those questions in! About whatever! firstname.lastname@example.org
“What is the worst/most offensive thing you have experienced working at the comic shop because of your gender? And on the flip side, have you ever had a wonderful experience at the comic shop … because of your gender?”
You know, I have this habit of suppressing bad memories, so the first part of your question is stumping me a bit. Also, I just don’t think that anything too terrible has happened. Pretty mild offenses to me, but I’m just an understanding person.
The stores I’ve worked at have had great clientele for the most part, it’s the casual customer that I usually have trouble with. You probably know the type. They swagger into the store like they own the place, claiming to not only know everything but also to be basically keeping the store afloat with the money they drop weekly. Which is ludicrous since they don’t have a hold file and come in maybe once a month to purchase one comic. A rare breed, indeed.
Dealing with these ignorant few that refuse to believe I know anything about comics because I’m young and a lady and have definitely not been reading comics as long as they have used to be tough! If I couldn’t name what year a certain vintage comic was released, or what trade paperback holds issue #66 of Ultimate Spider-Man off the top of my head I’d lost any hope of their respect. But at times like those I would just invite them to take the comic book test I had developed for prospective employees. No one ever passed.
There are a few things that I still get pretty frequently, albeit a lot less since I moved out of Florida. I was often asked, “Do you actually read comics?” and “Where’s the other guy that works here?” I still see inquisitive customers make a beeline towards the male employees, and people are still amazed at times that I can answer their questions about story arcs or recommend further reading for them. Things like this used to infuriate me, but now that I’m comfortable in my comic skin these slights just roll off me.
Even though spotting women in comic shops is no longer uncommon, at least in certain places, there is still some stigma attached, namely in what they’re reading. I’ve seen a few instances of women offering that they love comics, only to be greeted with a response like, “Yeah, what’s your favorite? Fables? *Snort *” Not cool, dude. Girls read Batman just like you.
I don’t want to seem melodramatic. These sorts of things don’t happen to everyone everyday. But if a woman works in/frequents comic shops often enough, a situation like one I’ve mentioned will arise at least once.
On the other hand, a lot of really great things have come about because I’ve worked at comic shops. They’ve really shaped my life as it stands right now. I worked at a great store (Cosmic Cat Comics in Tallahassee Florida) for 3 years which allowed me to land my next gig (Floating World Comics in Portland Oregon). I’ve gotten to work with great people and make some of my best friends. I’ve learned more and more about an industry I really care about. I’m not sure how much of it related to my gender (minority hire?), I’m just glad it happened at all.
I suppose the opportunity to write for G3 is certainly an example of a great thing to come out of being a lady. I’m really enjoying it thus far. But for the most part I just enjoy the feeling of solidarity I get when I see a woman walk into the comic store and appear either relieved that another woman is there or simply happy to see a female employee.
“What are some of the comic buying trends that you have seen recently? Is their a particular publisher on the rise? A title?”
Dear reader, I have two words for you. Brandon. Graham.
The star of this comic writer/artist is definitely on the rise. He currently writes for the Image title Prophet, as well as his own Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity. His erotic comic Pillow Fight was just reprinted, and a pallet of his work Escalator was just found and released. Backed again by Image, his compiled edition of King City has done remarkably well since it’s release earlier this year.
Seriously, if you are into sci-fi comics and you haven’t been reading Prophet, take a look next time you’re in your local comic shop. The first trade runs $9.99 and is just great. Multiple Warheads is more along the alternative comics line, but the art is beautiful and the story is unique. I know his style might not be for everyone, but all of his titles come highly recommended. By me!