Robot 6

Retailer refuses to stock Before Watchmen

Why not?

At the MoCCA Festival panel on running a comics shop, the topic of Before Watchmen came up as part of a discussion of pull lists. Tucker Stone, manager of Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, volunteered that his store wouldn’t be ordering the miniseries except for those customers who’ve already requested it.

ComiXology’s David Steinberger was in the audience and asked Stone to clarify why that was. “We’re gonna lose money,” Stone said. “We’ll probably lose customers. It was a decision that was made.”

I wasn’t there, and it’s difficult for me to interpret Stone’s additional comments without hearing his tone of voice or reading his body language, but based on the panel report, it sounds like this was a decision that wasn’t without controversy even among Bergen Street’s staff. Stone continued, “When I heard that decision, I said that’s a bad idea. That’s an explanation that I’ll have to give over and over again.” But, “as time has gone on, as I’ve seen online response to that project … This is just gross, and we don’t want to be part of this one. We’ll participate with the grossness they did to Kirby on the Avengers books, but this one …”

Heidi MacDonald attended the panel and reports that her tweets about it “got a vociferous response from pros and retailers alike who felt that Bergen Street was being irresponsible and leaving money on the table.”  That raises some interesting questions about the role of retailers in creators’ rights issues. Should shop owners serve their own sense of right and wrong (not that all retailers agree about what that looks like in this situation) or does that not matter compared to the mandate to serve the customer? I don’t feel qualified to cast judgment either way until I have a comics shop and a family and employees that depend on how I run it, but it’s fascinating to think about.

Comics shops uniquely personify the struggle many comics fans are experiencing as they think about these things. Which matters more: creators’ rights or my right to read what I want?

(John Douglas’ Watchmen Too: The Squid cover from Relaunched!.)

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Comments

74 Comments

It sounds like they know their customers and it serves them better to not stock it publicly than to do so, I’d say. I’ve only been in the store once about two years ago, but a place like Bergen St likely won’t suffer for it.

Whatever controversy it stirs up, it’s probably only because it’s one store doing it and it seems hard to comprehend the reasoning, but if ALL the stores came out and said the same thing – that they weren’t stocking it, it would be a vastly different conversation going on right now.

Its their choice to make but in making that choice they’re putting their business and the livelyhoods of their employees at risk.

Steven Grant

May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Retailers always serve their own sense of right & wrong, however fluid that may be. Steve Gerber’s Void Indigo was canceled mainly due to retailer outcry against the material, so tame by modern stardards that it was hard to figure what the fuss was about. (In fact, editor Archie Goodwin had to explain it to me some years later.) In Tucker’s case, there are enough comics shops in New York City that I shouldn’t think his customers who want the book (& if I read the article right he’s ordering it for anyone who wanted it badly enough to order in advance) will have much problem finding it.

But if retailers have an absolute duty to provide copies of comics for their customers’ approval, & have no privilege of choosing what they will & won’t stock, doesn’t that extend to books beyond Marvel & DC, all the books from independent publishers & self-publishers? Or is it just Marvel & DC books creators & retailers get all heated about?

Whiny bunch. I’m not even interested in buying this Watchmen thing, but if I shopped there I’d move.

I don’t think that they have to worry about the livelyhoods of their employees by not stocking one line of comics…over react much? Anyone who wants a copy of it can get file or pull list or whatever they call it in that store and order it. It just won’t be on the shelf for the casual reader. They are making their money selling Batman, Spider-man and the other big monthly books…the extras are just that: extra. Before Watchmen is a limited series of books. He is just giving up the extra money they would bring in on top of the money they normally bring in.

What’s crazy is the guy says we’re doing this for Watchment but NOT Avengers. I keep reading these op-ed piece (why, God, why?!) and I still have yet to see anything that suggests Alan Moore was actually screwed (he signed the contract, failed to adequately predict the future aaandddd … tough noogies–ignoring the fact that his characters were based on characters DC already owned) and yet I keep seeing (more) compelling arguments that Kirby (whose legacy is far greater than Moore’s, no matter how great a writer Moore used to be) was truly screwed. So, basically, this store is willing to go to the wall for … a few months for their principles, but that’s it.; slow clap goes here.

I also like that everyone assumes these Before Watchmen creators can’t make anything worthwhile out of the characters that were (further) developed by Moore; I’m not a fan of any of the writers but all are beloved by many other readers–I find the faithlessness kinda weird. At the very least, I hope Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke can turn Silk Spectre into a likable character, something Moore himself was unable to do.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think ‘my right to read what I want’ is (a) being impeded or (b) relevant to the conversation. I don’t always have the ‘right’ to what I want. I want Taco Bell to bring back black olives for enchiritos and mexican pizzas, but I’m hardly going to argue that my rights are being trampled if they don’t. If government steps in and says, “Oh, gee, you guys, we can’t let you sell those Before Watchmen books,” now you’ve got an issue on rights.

As a business, a retail store (regardless of product) has to make decisions on what they will and will not carry in inventory. For a long time, Lone Star Comics kept stock of back-issues in their DFW stores, but eventually moved them to the warehouse for online sales instead. Because their customers were buying fewer back-issues, and back-issues take up huge amounts of valuable floor space. My ‘right’ to buy back issues hasn’t been thwarted. I just have to go through a different process, or a different store, to indulge.

Try this mental exercise. Remove ‘Before Watchmen’ from the article. Replace it with ‘Tentacle Hentai Monthly’. Is there still controversy about this decision? If not, what’s the difference?

‘my right to read what I want?’

theres the real problem- THATS NOT A RIGHT. thats like me going to best buy to complain that they are violating my rights by not carrying the new Eva Angelina movie or IRON LUNG records. this ‘controversy’ is ridiculous. as an independent shop it is your job to stock what you wish to stock. nothing more. nothing less.

My local shop, Bizarro Wuxtry in Athens, GA, also is not carrying BW except for subscribers. The store’s manager took part in that discussion on The Beat.

I’d buy something from this shop just based on this stance they took. If I’m ever in NY, or if I find a way to buy something from them online, I will

“Its their choice to make but in making that choice they’re putting their business and the livelyhoods (sic) of their employees at risk.”

No single series is going to make or break a store.
If Tucker Stone said he wasn’t going to carry any DC Comics at all (except as pull list items), that would be a different matter.
But one series?
Highly unlikely.

For the record; I admire his guts for choosing to do it.
He’s willing to forgo some profit on behalf of his ethics.
A noble choice.

@hugeknot

This was not an op-ed piece. This was a straight news story reporting something that happened

But, I’m guessing you’re confused about other things as well

With all of the shops available in NYC, the customers who don’t pre-order can just go elsewhere. This isn’t as big an issue as say a very rural retailer in New Hampshire deciding not to order copies of a series. Hanley’s, Forbidden, Midtown, etc. will all have copies. I don’t know how big this store is, but I doubt this one group of books will cripple his business.

Jacob Sareli

May 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I can understand decisions like that, every retailer has the freedom to choose what comics to bring to his shelf. i read an interesting opinion written by Brian Wood a few weeks back about his comics not getting into large part of comics retail shops, it sucks but its part of the industry. moreover, it’s not like he don’t allow his subscribers to orders the books, he prefers not to put them on shelf, he is his own boss and that’s okay.

that said, Before Watchmen, in my opinion, is a great way to attract new and returning costumers and bring them into comics. i work in a comic book store in Israel and every time a big event (mainly from the big two) is in the horizon we can see that there’s a growing interest from people, we see new faces and that’s great. Watchmen regarded as one the greatest pieces in the history of the medium and going back to this world can bring new blood to the struggling shops everywhere.

@Jacob

Ok, so you don’t care how creatively bankrupt or morally fuzzy a comic project is – as long as it brings cash into your struggling shop

I think it’s their store and their decision and if they gain credibility and customers as a result, then good for them and if they lose money and customers as a result, then they have to deal with it. As for the Before Watchmen “issue” in general, I think a lot of creators are pointing to a larger problem than just this event…if you’re going to throw a fit over this, then there’s a whole lot more that’s happened over the years that you should be throwing fits about.

To my mind, this isn’t about people’s “right to read” but about an embarassing (sp?) cocktail of hypocrisy, naivete. For example, I find it suspicious that Roberson decided to make a stand re: Watchmen JUST as his work with DC was coming to a close; it’s not like Moore’s issues re: Watchmen are new. You can argue that BW is a(n extra) slap in the artistic face, but I don’t buy it, given the history. Perhaps I’m cynical (seriously).

this is how change begins. if DC and Marvel are ever to respect creators’ rights, it’s people like tucker stone and chris roberson who will by example encourage others to make a stand for the right thing.

Retailers are continually getting screwed by the publishers and Diamond.

They really all need to band together cuz the industry is going to crap.

AvX is terrible, the New 52 is withering and Diamond’s service is TERRIBLE.

Demand good stories.

Either he decided it based on his beliefs on the subject AND his costumers feedback (I mean, if I had a comic shop, I’d be DAMN sure my costumers wouldn’t buy something to decide something like this), or he did it for the free marketing. Either way, it’s not going to get anyone fired, and it’s going to be forgotten in a couple of weeks.

Wow, THAT ladies and gentlemen is the text book example of a dick move.

they are effectively censoring themselves and removing the choice from the casual buyer. It’s not up to them what people buy or read.

From a business stand point it’s actually retarded.

What Eric T. said: no reader’s “rights” are being trampled here.

THE BUCK STOPS HERE FOLKS! Come ooon! The retailer has his rights and his customers still have a choice. Someone has got to stand for something-that is a right too. NOT EVERYTHING GOES anymore for just a feww additional dollars and cents!! PLEASE LEAVE THE DUDE ALONE!

So the store will sell it to anyone who wants it, just not off the shelf?

Not much of a statement of defiance.

Jacob Sareli

May 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

@outofideas

We are doing fine, thank you for worrying!
but that’s not it, I just like seeing new people getting into comics and if “BW” can do that so be it. and yes it’s sad that Moore was ripped of by some DC executives in the 80’s but this event is happening and we can benefit(again, new people that can start reading comics from every company, not money issue) from it.

Christopher G

May 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I can certainly understand the store owners who may feel like DC shouldn’t be publishing Before Watchmen because of their own PERSONAL views. However, as a consumer, if I shopped at their store and went to purchase those books, only to find out they weren’t carrying them because they don’t think DC should be publishing it, I would find this unfortunately and assuming, on the part of the shop owners. To make the decision for me, as the customer, on what I will and won’t want to buy. I would take that as a message saying “we don’t want your money here”.

Sure Before Watchmen may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are PLENTY of series that are published that I may find objectionable or pointless (Avengers Assembled I’m looking at you), but people still want to buy them.

Luckily for me (!), I switched to buying my books all digitally about 2 months ago so I don’t have to worry about the pesky store owners tell me what I can and can’t buy. And I will definitely be buying Before Watchmen.

@outofideas,I’m sure I’m confused about many things; as Jacob said, it’s sweet of you to be concerned. I was commenting (broadly) on the “morality” of publishing Before Watchmen which, not-so-coincidentally, is what this piece is about (specifically, it’s about one retailers opinion on said morality). My commentsare addressing the POV represented by the retailer and some of our fellow commenters. I brought up Roberson to help explain my position on the furor, since he’s stoked the flames most recently. Sorry if *I* confused *you*!

@Jacob

you just repeated back to me in different words what I said about you

@hugeknot

Hint: op-ed stands for opinion and editorial. Neither of which was employed by the writer of this article

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

Actually, op-ed is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page.”

@outofideas, I see I DID confuse you! My off-the-cuff comment on an internet message baord was clearly too rambling for you–mea culpa! My “op-ed” comment was just giving background on where I’m coming from. Good for you for ensuring that, in the midst of the Before Watchmen scrum that has engrossed most of us on this thread, no one loses sight of what an op-ed is, and thank you for being SO tenacious in your promotion of knowledge that I had to go back and read my own damn post to figure out what you were on about! Again, apologies for the confusion, and I look forward to seeing what other unrelated subjects I may have accidentally brought up in my attempts to discuss the issue at hand!

Jacob Sareli

May 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

@outofideas

well that’s because i think that i am right about that and i don’t really want/have to force my opinion on others. just wrote down my two cents about this from my point of view.

For those of you who don’t seem to “get it”, what they are doing at Bergen Street Comics is serving their customers who definitely want the books by ordering it for those who specifically request it (and not forcing those loyal patrons to have to go out of their way to acquire it), but by not stocking any shelf copies, they are not actively PROMOTING the book to everyone else.
I think that is a fine compromise. They get to have their cake and eat it to. I don’t find it to be hypocritical at all.

Whatever. I’d just go to the next store and buy it. Really, all this guy is doing is costing himself money.

Keep it up and his casual customers will get accustomed to not finding what they want on his shelves and they’ll get used to going to the other guy who will happily sell it to them. I know from experience. My LCS only orders enough books to fill his subscriptions and usually only has a few extra issues for his shelf. I walk in there every Wednesday, an hour after he opens, and every week something that I want is already sold out. I’ve watched him sling numerous copies of the book I want into his subscription boxes and then tell me he’s sold out. I could get my own subscription but I’m not inclined to pay a $30 deposit. I mean, I’m in there every week, he knows what I buy, buy a few extra. I can’t be the only guy walking out empty handed every week.

I’ve been strongly considering going fully online for my purchases but I want to support the ONLY comic shop in the area where I live. Its just things like that make me sorry some weeks for bothering to spend the gas.

…and that’s why brick-and-mortar comic book shops continue to die every year in this country. Smart retailers leave their personal politics at home, where they belong. This is a heavily promoted and talked about release from DC Comics (not some fly-by-night publisher) that may result in some new sales from those that may be curious about the direction of this series. Any retailer that takes up an elitist attitude towards this series by refusing to stock these books is absolutely leaving money on the table.

I thought this was kinda a stupid, selfish move. It’s one thing for you to not buy and support the book, but to not allow any of your customers to have it either?

Then I read “Tucker Stone”, and it all just…clicked in my head. “Oh, yeah that seems like something Tucker Stone would do”.

Brick-and-morter shops are dying all over because one shop in Jersey doesn’t want to sell one comic series?? Wow, I’m glad I get my info and analysis from the Internet

I’d love to see one rational argument why a shopowner should not take an ethical stand when he/she wants. But I know I’m asking too much

TheHolyTarim

May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Funny most of the stores I’ve gone to in my 19 years of collecting haven’t regular stocked the books I wanted to buy. Not only that, but even when I’ve started a subscription or asked a shop to specially order something they’ve either failed to follow through or refused outright. I’m not the only indie collector I know to experience this. Meanwhile the same shops buy boxes full of the latest event books only to have them sit on the shelves unsold and on their way to the dollar bin. Meanwhile the retailers tell me they don’t have the space to stock anything that isn’t franchise driven. The industry is broken and it’s the publishers, distributor, retailers, and customers fault.

Good for him!

Unfortunately, most retailers come from the pool of misanthropic fans that want creators to have NO rights or respect as long as they get that next issue of some crappy Spider-man or Green Lantern comic.

The bIggest problem with the comics industry is that 90% of the people who sell the product of “comics” are fanboys first and business people a distant, DISTANT second.

This is a fanboy decision, and ANY decision to leave money on the table is not a business decision.

Never mind the hypocrisy (Wookie please, you gonna stop selling Superman, X-Men, Avengers, Batman, and basically 90% of the stuff from Marvel and DC which was obtained originally through unfavorable contracts? No? Then sit the heck down).

This is just bad business.

I won’t be buying Before Watchmen. Each retailer is free to sell the books in the store as they see fit, and if they choose not to support a book (and they already don’t support HUNDREDS of different books) their call. They should, as a retailer, let their customers know it, offer to order it for their subscribers (which I see from other posts they did) and then stand by their guns.

Naturally….you are not a bad person if you buy Before Watchmen. I do think you are supporting a Bad Corporate Policy, and behavior by DC, but in the end….every person gets to make that call. if you want the material, you will be able to get it.

I will buy 10 issues of each BW comic if it will explode alan moore’s head

Each retailer definitely has the right to carry or not carry whichever titles he or she chooses. We don’t even need to know the reason. It’s his store, so it’s his decision. Just because an author has the right to free speech does not mean that a retailer is obligated to to sell it for him.

In my 33 years on this planet, I have been the customer of NO LESS than 8 different comic book shops within my local area. Every single one of those shops (with only one notable exception) are now long gone. Some went belly up due to the speculator bust of the 1990s, but ALL of them put their own self-interests before those of their customers. Too many hobby shop retailers view their business, not to mention the rest of the industry, with a fan’s perspective. These are shops that encourage loitering, such as setting up tables for gaming and other non-profitable activities. They should be putting those very personal feeling aside and focus on developing methods that will bring them new customers, satisfy their current clients and drive sales in order to produce a successful business. A retailer that tells us, “Well, I don’t like it, so I’m not ordering it,” is a retailer that may soon count themselves among the thousands that have failed within this industry.

@outofideas, I think most of us are looking at this in the context of an ongoing debate, so this shop is somewhat symbolic. Further (and more specifically/germanely), I think we’re all just offering opinions on the shop’s stance, as opposed to calling for some kind of legal action to force the shop to stock the books.

I think every shop is well within its bounds to not carry the books, but the cognitive dissonance I suffered when he acknowledged Marvel’s bad behavior but declined to stand on principle when dealing with those books, well … the dissonance hurts. Obviously, the guy would have a hell of a time running a shop if he didn’t carry Marvel in its entirety, but I’m underwhelmed by the moral stand he’s taking so publicly (as reported, he volunteered the information at a public event) even as he acknowledges he could find cause (and, by this reasoning, should) to take a stand against Marvel.

What is all this talk about Kirby? Kirby’s been dead for almost 20 years. Where the hell were you people when he was alive?

Kirby’s dead. I don’t give a **** about his kids. His kids didn’t do anything. His estate can kiss my ass, my admiration of Kirby does not extend to them, as they haven’t done anything worthy of anything. Except sue because they think they know better than Jack did. Jack created one of the first creator owned characters in the 1950s he knew the possibilities. He also knew the market.

Alan Moore is alive. I care more about the living than the dead, especially the dead whose status is clear and without argument. Kirby is the King of Comics. Giving his kids money won’t make that any more true. They’re just greedy. But I won’t boycott anything to support the greedy kids of anyone, even Jack Kirby.

Comic retailers buy their product.

For months now any time Before Watchmen has come up for discussion on Robot 6, critics have been told in the comments thread repeatedly to just not buy it if that’s the way the feel. Speak with your wallet.

A retailer decides to do just that. (They’ll put in an order at a customer’s request but they aren’t going to purchase any extra copies to put on their shelves) and they are called stupid fanboys and their decision pointless.

Yay Robot 6 comment threads.

Glenn Simpson

May 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Maybe I don’t understand the dollar value involved in stocked books. I assumed that most of a shop’s sales came from subscribers, so not providing the book to those few people who wander in doesn’t seem like that big a sacrifice.

Maybe I’m out of touch, though. I don’t really go to the shops much.

“the grossness they did to Kirby”. Please excuse my ignorance, but what is he referring to?

Don’t you dare talk about Kirby’s kids like that.

This may come as a shock, but there are a lot of comics I want to read that comic stores don’t order.

While it may be unfortunate that the contract that Alan Moore signed was, in hindsight, not that great for him, at least he still gets compensation for that property. Kirby and other creators at Marvel are in a much worse position when it comes to payment for continued use of their creations beyond the initial publication. From articles I’ve read over the years, DC does a much better job of crediting and compensating creators for use of their creations in other media. Many creators were paid for use of their ideas and stories in the recent Batman movies. Steve Bissette was paid well when Constantine was produced. Alan Moore has refused his part of the rights money on his creations, but at least it was offered.
Instead of doing what’s right, Marvel prefers to minimize the importance of the creators(unless you think Stan Lee created everything in the Marvel Universe), and fights tooth and nail to squash anyone with a claim to royalties of their playthings.

It is the retailer’s right to order what they choose to of course. This does have a risk attached to it of course. Anytime your force a customer to seek what they want somewhere else, you risk them liking that other option beter.

If I was one of their competitors I’d try my best to steal that customer of theirs who comes in looking for BW. Offer a special deal, be especially attentive, etc. So that they don’t feel the need to go back to the other shop.

I don’t get all the anger, I love watchmen and Im on board for this. They aren’t even original heroes, they were meant to be the Charlton heroes, so why are they so taboo to write new stories?

The comic retailer is an idiot. Plain and simple. And is only doing this for publciity.

He’s standing on a chair and shouting “LOOK AT ME!” and everyone is falling for it.

The guy is just as much of a lunatic as Alan Moore is. And I am glad it’s upsetting both of them so much that they have to throw public wobblers about the situation. Someone needs to pick up the pacifiers they spit out of the playpen and give it back to them. Plain and simple.

Exactly Cory…

Alan Moore’s Watchmen is just a different take on someone else’s work….

So there’s not a damn thing wrong with DC choosing to do more with those characters.

Alan Moore needs to go back to living in his cave and quit thrusting his crazy on the world.

I just wanna hear more about The Squid comic.

Got to say…if you won’t carry BW because of creator rights issues then you pretty much have to stop stocking anything Marvel or DC publish as all of their staple characters originate from an era in which bad contracts were the norm. Anything else is just bluster.

Christopher G sez…
“To make the decision for me, as the customer, on what I will and won’t want to buy. I would take that as a message saying “we don’t want your money here”. ”

There’s no comic store that carries every single title published or every merchandising/licensing tie-in.
So, every store is “making a decision” for you, to one extent or another.
Does that mean you won’t spend your money in any of them?

@Atomic Kommie: Well, except for the fact that MOST retailers DO order based on their markets’ needs. Where I live, retailers can’t sell manga to save their lives–except to the SPECIFIC customers who pre-order the titles. Therefore, they don’t stock those titles for the shelves.

Similarly, adult comics (like the Eros line) don’t make it to the shelves–not even in those specially designed covers (the little “black bags” that allow only the book’s title to be displayed)–because the area is too filled with “morality police” and the books would be confiscated and the retailers would be facing criminal prosecution (and, it should be noted, that almost every incident of a comics retailer being prosecuted in the last 30 years for selling adult comics was the result of selling an adult comic to an adult). A savvy retailer will continue to make those titles available to adults who desire such books but the retailer also has to be careful when that customer is making the actual purchase (such as being careful that a minor isn’t at the register when the customer’s checking out).

My local retailer also sells sports cards, but primarily baseball and football. They’ve tried carrying other sports cards and there are occasional requests for those other cards (most often basketball) but when someone comes in looking for those, they apologize for not carrying and EXPLAIN why they don’t. I’ve been in the store when people have come looking for basketball cards and almost every single time, the customer has been a visitor to the area–usually just passing through.

You are right that retailers don’t carry everything (but, then again, Diamond doesn’t actually make everything available) but SAVVY retailers will carry those books and merchandise that their customer base may show some interest. I’ve not been able to get some gorgeous variant covers because the company (whether DC, Marvel or Dynamite) has set the order threshhold too high and, while I could afford to pay the cost my retailer would charge, I don’t feel it’s responsible to make him order dozens of copies that will just sit around the store, taking up space.

I’d also point out that this “making a decision” also applies to OTHER retailers–not just comics stores. Hell, not even iTunes offers everything. (Looking for Glenn Frey or Kid Rock or even Bob Seger’s back catalog? You won’t find very much of it–if any–at iTunes. Planning on buying one of those artists’ CDs? Good luck there as well. Some stores might have a few selections, but you pretty much have to go online to get a particular title–even then, you might not find the title you want.) Want a particular book at B&N or Books-a-Million? There are lots of writers whose books aren’t available (and an online store may not be much better). A convenience store isn’t going to offer the same variety of cereal or bread or produce that you’ll find in a grocery store. Are c-stores “making a decision” for you or are they basing their stock on what they feel serves their particular market?

The BIG difference, though, is that you don’t expect a comics retailer to simply take a position that “I won’t carry __________ because the concept offends my sensibilities.” If this guy chose to do this because this was the “will of his people” (ie, customers), that’s one thing. But to do this for what appears to be some type of personal distaste, that’s NOT the hallmark of a smart retailer.

@Andrew K.
tell that to Siegel Fam.
DC aren’t much better that for sure

Does DC own Watchmen, legally?
Yes?
Okay, then, what’s the problem? They can do what they want with THEIR property.

Period.

As a NYC based comics reader who has been to Bergen St. Comics, I can say that it’s probably in the top 5 percent of comics stores in the world. Want to find a store where Jaime Hernandez has done a signing in the last six months? Bergen St. Comics. Want to go to a store where Kramers Ergot and Asterios Polyp are top selling items? Bergen St. Comics. Want to pick up every underground comic you’ve ever heard of, plus a bunch no one knows about, and have them all displayed like they were flying off the shelves? Bergen St. Comics. Want to pick up every single shitty superhero exploitation book put out by DC and Marvel? Well, sorry, for that, you’ll have to go to a normal comic book store. You know, like those ones that are always going out of business because their main clientele is 14 and below?

Instead of chastising Bergen Street Comics for not carrying this one shitty mainstream comic, how about chastising your local comic book store for not carrying all the incredible underground stuff that Bergen Street has? Be honest, you wish your local comic book store was as great as Bergen Street, and if you don’t, then you just won’t understand what separates highly successful businesses from the average herd mentality.
Next thing you know, you’ll be criticizing chefs for not serving McDonalds-style french fries in their French restaurants. I mean, geez, they’re just throwing money away by not giving people what they want, right? What could possibly be the benefit of not catering to the lowest common denominator?

I always love reading how (a) if you agree with Alan Moore’s stance on creator’s rights it’s a FACT, and (b) if you don’t, and happen to think along the same lines as Jim Lee and Didio you are issuing an OPINION, and an incorrect one at that apparently.

Personally I think at least 50% of the people supporting Moore don’t even care about creator rights and are just using the opportunity to “jump on the bandwagon” of demonising a comic company once again. I couldn’t care less, but I’d love to know how many of the “staunch defenders of creator’s rights” went and saw Avengers last week, or are going to this week, and/or also have Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America tucked away on Bluray at home. Perhaps also DVDs of “Avengers Mightiest Heroes’ Animated etc. I guess Jack Kirby isn’t owed the same kind of “wannabee” worship that Moore seems to gather? 50% are likely genuine (I’m probably being WAY to generous) but 50% of you are just a bunch of blowhards.

Simon DelMonte

May 3, 2012 at 6:51 am

It is worth noting that if someone in NYC really wants to buy a paper copy of BW, it’s only a subway trip to Jim Hanley’s or Forbidden Planet or Midtown Comics. And Tucker knows that. He also knows that his customers could choose to leave his shop for those bigger (or at least more glamorous) shops at any time. So I would guess that he knows his customers pretty well and isn’t likely to lose business. He only won’t gain any from more casual readers. And I think he can tell you how many casual readers he gained from The New 52 and FCBD and so on. And would say that he didn’t get many.

I disagree about the specifics of the case. And do wonder if and when he might consider dropping Superman comics, or anything not creator-owned. (It would be an interesting test case to see if a comic shop that doesn’t have DC or Marvel could find a different audience.) But I will not call out anyone for sticking to principle so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.

Free market economy = these guys can stock or not carry whatever they feel like

Anyone that has a problem with that can feel free to move to one of the many far left totalitarian countries around the globe. Hope you like cold food though.

George Bush (not that one)

May 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

But can I buy BW in Northhampton?

I was in the audience of the panel where Tucker spoke. He didn’t do it to draw attention to his shop’s moral stance or anything, but to illustrate a point about pull lists.

How many comics shops don’t stock adult comics? Even the critically acclaimed series, like “Omaha the Cat Dancer”?

How many don’t stock Archie Comics?

How many don’t stock manga, or Tintin, or Asterix, or Cinebook titles?

How many don’t stock comic strip collections (which are national bestsellers, and have a wide local audience via newspapers)?

How many comics shops don’t sell Marvel or DC? (I know of a few. Desert Island in Brooklyn is one.)

Is it because they don’t sell?
Is it because the owner doesn’t like the material, or doesn’t know how to sell it?
Is it because of the clientele?

When I had a subscription box at Big Planet Comics, I would supplement that with a monthly special order list from Diamond Previews, to be certain I would get what I wanted. Joel did a great job of stocking the store with stuff to browse, and he had a wide selection of comics and books. (Still does, but I haven’t been there in a few years.)

Bergen Street is an awesome store. It’s more of a comic BOOK STORE and less of a COMIC BOOK store. They know what they’re doing, and doing it well.

For those arguing that the Watchmen characters aren’t original because they were inspired by the Charlton heroes. I suppose you believe Superman and Batman are wholly original characters.

For those who pull out the “Alan Moore is crazy” card. It would behoove you to think a bit more about your argument rather than mouthing this old, tired, and wrong “sound” bite.

For those who feel that standing up for one’s principles is stupid or wrong or not worthwhile, please go back under your rock and let the adults have a discussion.

And for those in the above comments who were level-headed and as considerate of others’ opinions as those opinions would allow, what are you doing on the internet? There’s no place for sensible dialogue here. (he said sarcastically, for those unable to “catch my drift”)

Perhaps the decision to not order the series is based on the need for shelf space in their constantly moving product. If only five people even expressed interest in the series then it hardly makes sense to be stuck with a crate destined for the back issue bin. Of course their move to not have it here does limit the curious buyer from picking up a copy. The latecomers to the series might be put off that this title is not there and just do the bulk of their buying elsewhere but in the end its the shop owners decision on what to stock or not stock in this financial time we are in. Personally I am not 100% behind the idea myself but I am curious and am interested in offering up thoughts on them in my sites blog for my readers to see. In that I hope its at least passable.

His store, his choice. Simple as that. Some will celebrate it, some will shop elsewhere.

struggle for comics fans? If you want to read watchmen 2 you can (and should) be called many things, but i don’t think comics fan is one of them.

Stewart Grant

June 26, 2012 at 8:17 am

So they’ll tolerate the Avengers books because that would be leaving TOO much money on the table but they won’t carry Before Watchmen because they won’t lose all that much and they can look cool doing it. That’s just great. The kind of constantly shifting moral view that only makes sense to hipsters in Brooklyn.

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