How much longer will this lockdown last? The “snow day”-ness of it is getting old. I’m definitely ZOOMed out (even though I think these remote meetings are here to stay). I can see the fatigue bubble up with debates about when to open up local economies for business. And I’ve also learned about the “epistemic dissidents” – those contrarians who choose to ignore established facts, and instead rely on fringe ideas and crackpot conspiracies. If that sounds hard, it’s meant to be. I am losing patience with these knuckleheads.
Recently, I pulled up to one local comic shop, Ithaca’s Comics For Collectors for some curbside comics. Although the store is officially closed, I was invited in to browse a bit. I kind of felt like rock star who gets to shop privately when no one else is in the store. Kudos to the owner who set it up so the experience was super- safe – social distancing, sanitizer, gloves and masks. (Masks make sense for comic shops too, of course.) I snagged the comics from my pull list, a few recent favorites, and even rescued some treasures from the bargain box.
It was a treat to get the VIP treatment from that store…but we’re all so tired of the pause. I don’t think I’ll ever fondly remember that private shopping trip.
There are other ways to support local stores. I’ve reached out to a few other retailers and purchased comics online or gift cards. I have been so impressed that in every case, these shops have sent me extra stuff with each order. These acts of kindness, when the “other guy” is suffering, will not be soon forgotten.
Getting to Know the Publishers
During quarantine, I feel like I’m getting to know comics publishers better too.
For example, I had long planned to try a comic from TKO. After really enjoying the first issue (for free digitally) I finally ordered Sara by Warren Ellis and Steve Epting. TKO is also pledging to send 50% of the profits to a designated comic shop. I designated a cool shop in Scranton, PA: Comics On The Green. It’s a funky shop that I try drop into on trips to and from NYC, and I had thumbed through the issue there.
Since ordering the issue, TKO has established a consistent rapport with me. Some call this good customer service or simply marketing, but it’s pleasant.
Archie Comics’ Mike Pellerito found time, despite the home confinement, to ZOOM into my comic convention class at Ithaca College. We’ve had a number of fantastic speakers, and he was yet another guy who delivered in spades. I guarantee all our students (and me too, if I am to be honest) are that much more respectful of Archie Comics after that call.
BOOM! Studios is another publisher that’s really stepped up. I’ve been so impressed the way that they’ve kept their nose to grindstone during these difficult times. In addition, they also support and celebrate comics shops, all those underdog-entrepreneurs who are working so hard to just stay in business.
More Crummy News
And I just got word that Marty Pasko passed away. I didn’t really know him on personal level. We were introduced via a mutual friend, and then Marty and I were looking to collaborate on an animated project at one point. He had won an Emmy for his animation writing, but I was always a fan of his comics writing, most notably his runs on Blackhawk and Saga of the Swamp Thing.
I always found him inspirational for the public way he matured from fan to professional. He was a prominent writer of letters-to-editors (i.e. letterhacks) and was such a frequent contributor that editors would often engage in some friendly teasing. How impressive that he built such a memorable career from it all and so many strong relationships during his life. Godspeed, Marty.