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People are talking about…

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§ Tim O’Shea offers a rare interview with Dirk Deppey on the loneliness of the long-distance blogger:

Dirk Deppey: Journalista’s a big part of it, yes — I mean, it requires anywhere from six to twelve hours a day, depending on what’s out there, so it takes up the overwhelming majority of my time. The other big job is producing the online edition of the print magazine for subscribers, which entails turning the text and images into something Web-friendly, which while not as time-intensive as the blog still takes a significant amount of work. There are also the random online-only goodies, nominal policing of the message board and whatever else rears its ungainly head. I probably put in a good 50-55 hours a week on the website, all told.


§ Kevin Church reacts with horror at a retailer advising his customers not to buy ASTONISHING X-MEN:

Not buy. A retailer, in his newsletter to customers, is telling people to not buy a comic book.

This is the stupidest goddamn thing I’ve seen lately from an industry plagued with stupid goddamn things. I don’t want my bartender telling me that I’m drinking the wrong damn thing; I don’t want the clerk at the record store giving me shit because I’m buying some motherfucking Yanni; and I don’t want the guy who’s selling me my weekly comics fix to tell me to not buy a fucking X-Men comic. Also negatively reviewed: Trinity. You know, the weekly comic series that pretty much means $150 per customer over the course of a year to a shop who sells it?


While there may be other comics more worthy of retail derision than the Ellis/Bianchi effort, here at Stately Beat Manor, we DO appreciate it when a waiter or waitress discreetly informs us that everyone is sending back the grouper.

§ We missed this LA Times roundup of 50 unimaginative headlines, entitled Holy headlines, Batman, make it stop!

§ People are definitely talking about KRAMERS ERGOT #7 and its $125 price tag.

  1. If people are sending back the grouper there is something defective or mis-cooked about it, and the waiter not discreetly telling you that because the management isn’t a fan of that dish. And the key word here is “discreet.” Would you eat at a restaurant that sent out an email menu telling you to actively avoid one of their menu choices, or post publicly on their menu “The grouper is unimaginative and uninspiring; avoid this selection”?

  2. I think it all depends on how such a negative recommendation is couched.

    If, for example, you’re doing the equivalent of telling someone, “What are you, a PUSSY?” for ordering a wine cooler, then, yes, You’re Doing It Wrong.

    If, on the other hand, you’re gently steering someone away from biting into a steaming shit sandwich, without mocking their taste or insisting that they subscribe to your viewpoint, but instead, simply by saying, “Look, you might not care for this,” then, contrary to Kevin’s view, I think you can actually generate more revenue in the long run.

    After all, if a bad purchase leads a customer to feel like they can’t trust you, they’re going to be less likely to buy from you in the future – Marvel and DC, take note.

  3. I would think there’s a difference between writing a negative review in the store newsletter and telling a person directly that they were making a poor purchase.

    A negative review is trying to do his customers a service. He is saying “Just so you know, I read this and didn’t like it. You might be better served spending your money on something else.”

    On a certain level, should a store owner really care how you spend your money, along as you spend it? If he can get people to not buy Book A and buy Book B instead, is that really any skin off his nose (depending on how many copies of book A he may have ordered)?

  4. Of course, a restaurant sending out an email saying “Don’t order the grouper,” reflects badly on them. The comic store owner THINKS telling everyone not to purchase X-MEN reflects badly on the publisher, not his shop.

  5. A comic store should *never* actively dissuade people from buying a book because it’s not the management’s cup of tea. The whole thing is absolutely asinine. In real sales jobs, people sell stuff all the time they wouldn’t recommend off the clock. A store owner sending out an e-mail telling his customers to not buy a comic he has in stock is like a car dealership not selling a car because the owner doesn’t like the feel of the leather.

    As far as the Deppey thing, the interview is not about loneliness is any way. It’s about how blogging is like any other job. What full time job isn’t a 50-60 hour a week duty? And that’s without the drive to and from work.

    And I still can’t see any reason to buy Kramer’s Ergot #7. $125 is a rip-off. $80 is a rip-off. I love the indies, but I’m not paying some outrageous price just to have a book to show off on my bookshelf. When the art guys do stuff like this, it makes me realize just how screwed the entire American comics industry truly is. Get used to manga dominating the sales charts, it’s going to continue until someone in this industry gets their head out of their ass.

  6. A waiter or waitress telling you that OTHER PEOPLE are sending back the grouper is doing his or her job.

    The waiter or waitress walking up to you and saying DON’T GET THE GROUPER is an ass.

  7. ahhh, comics!

    The only art form wherein the activity of a single store, or the price of a single book, is the meat for endless link-blogging and angry conversation.

  8. When I was a kid, store owners that didn’t like certain books would just not carry them and lie about their availability.

  9. I remember a Rough Trade mail order record list that included comments like “a rip off” and “don’t waste your money…”

    If the guy’s going to include reviews in his newsletter, it’s to his credit that he says what he really thinks. In any case it’s a fallacy to think that a “bad” review is automatically going to turn people off.

  10. P.S. The retailer actually suggested that Uncanny X-Men might be a better buy than Astonishing. Perhaps he doesn’t have many customers who buy every X-book in the shop – in which case it’s perfectly reasonable business to try and steer them towards the better ones.

  11. In the early 1990s I can remember going up to the clerk in a comics store to make my purchases and the employee saying, “Your going to get THAT?” with a big snear. I can’t think of any other business where the customers are criticized for their choices. By the way, the comic was an early issue of Gaiman’s “Sandman.”

  12. I would refer ms. Estrada to music shops, hardware stores, gourmet foods, microbrew beer sellers, certain clothing stores, certain bookstores, Mens Warehouse, and a dozen other places for more of the same behaviour described above.

    We are far from the only industry where that kind of thing happens.

  13. Any retailer is entitled to say or write whatever he wants.

    If he thinks Astonishing X-Men is something he wants to rail against, he can do that. He is responsible to his own conscience and his own wallet.

    But Kevin Church loses any arguments points he earns by resorting to vulgar and Profane language.

    And if Fantagraphics had said the same thing in TCJ, would Church attack them, or praise them?

  14. I like it when my retailer is honest with me. It fosters trust and keeps me shopping there.

    He lets me know when something might not be up to par encouarges me to listen to him when he recommends something that I might not have read otherwise. In the long run, he ends up ahead.

    I should add: I’ve been going there for years and he constantly recommends that I stop getting Amazing Spider-Man and helped me cull my pull list when I had financial troubles. This isn’t really comparable to any other retail situation, its more of a long term financial relationship.

  15. Kevin Church bashing retailers is like the pot calling the kettle black. He wouldn’t know a good comic if fell into his pull list. Please stop referring to his horrible blog that plugs his horrible wannabe comic.

  16. Okay, a retailer admits he doesn’t like a book and says why. He doesn’t attack fans of the title, or his customers, or even the creators. And people attack him for it…

  17. “Doesn’t Brian Hibbs and his group of writers dissuade people from buying comics over on Savage Critics? ”

    Yes. That, however, is not a store-centered newsletter–it’s a published blog for whomever to read at their leisure.

  18. “But Kevin Church loses any arguments points he earns by resorting to vulgar and Profane language.”

    I will never, ever stop pitying people who think this.

    (Or people who improperly capitalize.)

  19. I will absolutely respect a retailer who offers a service like this (putting his dollar on the line in order to save me from an ill-wrought purchase, even if it’s only ill-wrought in the retailer’s mind). I only wish that more offered similar services. It may not be good business, but if I wanted straight-up super-duper capitalism, I wouldn’t buy from a LCS (since it my dollar goes further elsewhere). What the retailer is doing (or at least working toward) is fostering trust—which may or may not be better business sense in the end anyway.

    As to the question of Church losing points for vulgarity and profanity, I’ll agree with Alan insofar as this: any time one employs hyperbolic language in presenting an argument, the argument forfeits a degree of its rational cache. The argument may gain or lose so far as emotional strength goes (as hyperbole tends to be polarizing, alienating those leaning toward disagreement and congratulating those leaning toward agreement), but hyperbolic argument adds nothing to its evaluation on reasonable terms and may even cast doubt on the arguments ability to sustain itself—as an argument that relies on hyperbole is often doing so to cover its weaknesses.

  20. >>>I’ll agree with Alan insofar as this: any time one employs hyperbolic language in presenting an argument, the argument forfeits a degree of its rational cache.

    Hm, I guess 50% of Beat posters must now be banned…including THE BEAT!

  21. Heh, I didn’t say you should be banned. Heck, I’m as hyperbolic as the next guy (or more so). I’m just saying if presenting a convincing case is one’s priority, invective writing should be used sparingly as it does damage the credibility of a serious argument. I think though that generally, presenting a convincing case is of secondary importance to most bloggers. I know I am generally pushing opinion as priority. Convincing others of my beliefs is usually further don’t on my list of intentions.

  22. My boss/owner, John J. Lindsay (now deceased) of the one time comic book and card shop in North Hollywood called Rookies and Allstars used to spout this philosphy to his customers when they asked whether or not he read a certain comic book that they were willing to buy:

    “I can forgive bad art – but I can’t forgive a bad story.”

    ~

    Coat

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