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Retailer apologizes for ripping up copy of ‘Pretty Deadly’ #1

Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

A retailer who last week ripped a copy of Pretty Deadly #1 in half in front of customers, triggering heated online reaction as well as responses from Image Comics and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, has apologized for his actions.

“A small group of long time customers who know me well asked me what I really thought of the book,” Steven LeClaire, owner Comics Ink in Culver City, California, explained in a post on the Bleeding Cool forum (it was deleted and made into a standalone article). “For dramatic effect, I ripped a copy of the book after giving my review. I personally found the book lacking a coherent storyline and the art too muddy to follow. That was my opinion. The book was still on the shelves for sale for all those who wanted it. I made a mistake of thinking I was having a private talk with a small group of friends. I apologize for my actions.”

The incident was first mentioned Thursday by CBR columnist Hannibal Tabu in “The Buy Pile,” where he wrote that he agreed with the retailer’s assessment of the issue — by DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles — although he didn’t mention LeClaire by name. Word of the comic’s destruction quickly spread online, with Zero writer Ales Kot questioning whether the act was prompted merely by “anger about the product, or also by misogyny,” and leading Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson to offer to take back the remaining copies of Pretty Deadly #1 from Comics Ink and have Diamond Comic Distributors cancel orders for subsequent issues.

In his apology to both the publisher and the creators, LeClaire clarified, “That the book was done by a female creative team did not encourage my actions nor was it meant to be misogynistic or anti-female creator. I do understand that it takes time and effort to create a comic book. And while I didn’t enjoy what I read, it was and is in the best interest of my store to sell the books I ordered and not destroy them. Aside from the small group of regular customers who did witness my actions, Comics Ink was and is selling copies of Pretty Deadly to all who ask for them.”

With the matter seemingly resolved, it’s worth referring back to the statement DeConnick made on Friday, in which she stressed “THAT ONE DUDE IS NOT THE STORY.” No, she pointed out, the story is that a debut issue they expected to sell somewhere between 9,000 and 12,000 copies — with an outside chance of reaching as high as 20,000 — ended up selling out of its 57,000-copy first printing, leading to a second.

“The book — our weird little book that has surprised and defied us at every turn — came out Wednesday and surprised and defied us yet again,” she wrote. “The same site that ran the piece that started all this gave us 4.5/5.0. We got 3 reviews that gave us 10/10. We’ve gotten tons of great mail already, beautiful fan art and it’s starting to feel like there’s a Pretty Deadly community burgeoning.”

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27 Comments

Please. Molehill > Mountain.
The merchandise is bought and paid for, the guy can do what he wants with it.
Also, he’s allowed to have an opinion.
Eric Stephenson trying to do an end run on the guy and get Diamond to cancel his orders is a dick move.
And Ales Kot playing the misogyny card is also weak. There was no evidence of that at all.
If we’re going to assume people are misogynists without any credible proof, I’m going to assume Mr. Kot is also misogynist and and maybe an unrepentant racist as well and now I’m not buying the Secret Avengers relaunch.

It must suck to have this be the thing people are talking about w/r/t your first creator-owned book instead of the content/story of the actual book.

By the same token, Kelly Sue Deconnick courts and certainly gets an extreme amount of favorable press and it feels almost like the “Buy Pile” story was a reaction to that on some level. But I still don’t understand why aren’t people talkibg about what’s in the actual comic? I guess the sideshow and “marketing” campaign are what’s most interesting about this?

Wow. Yeah, someone doesn’t like a book that happened to be written by a woman? Well, let’s throw out the word “misogyny” before we get any further info. Makes sense.

i wonder how many commenters on this story who say “it’s his store and he can do what he wants with the merchandise” were all up in arms when various retailers boycotted the Orson Scott Card Superman story earlier this year…

MxDx – it’s the same thing – retailers get to say what they want or don’t want in their store.

@MxDx

Completely different situations. If he were refusing to carry the book, then I would think there would be cause for concern and you should probably question his motivations or why he is a retailer in the first place. But he simply said he didn’t like a book and ripped a copy of it that he paid for. There’s no story there, unless you’re crazy and are trying to start some kind of witchhunt.

“The merchandise is bought and paid for, the guy can do what he wants with it.”

Of course he can do what he wants. Subsequently, other people can criticize him if they want. People are allowed to have an opinion about his opinions.

The guy is, indirectly, in business with Image Comics. Most companies would not appreciate it if a business that was supposed to be selling their products instead publicly denigrated it.

If, hypothetically, Comics Ink invited DeConnick for a signing event, and she spent the whole time time telling customers not to shop there, do you think the owner would be justifiably upset? And that while DeConnick may indeed have a constitutional right to freedom of opinion, it would also be a jerk move?

Im going to say this once, if a retailer ripped MY copy of a book that was on MY pull list Im going someplace else. I don’t care how bad the book is or who the creator is, I want the book and as a retailer it is your job to provide it for me. If your a retailer it’s not about your tastes it’s about what your customer wants. No ice cream place made money only selling chocolate and vanilla and the ones that really make money offer butter pecan.

For retailers if a book isn’t selling then only order copies for those who like it. You can also order copies for people to give people that read similar books. If they don’t to try it put it on the rack and order less copies next month.

However, it is unfair to call the retailer who ripped the books mysogynistic. The creators have been around for awhile and there are quite a few books with female leads and creators. If he is constantly ripping those books then you may make that argument, otherwise it’s like saying the Catwoman movie failed because it had a female lead. Ridiculous.

I like Pretty Deadly. It has a cool Vampire Hunter D vibe to it.

@Todd – he didn’t rip up the copies he had for customers who had asked for it.

Isn’t “Death fell in love with a mortal woman” a core premise in Hickman’s East of West (also a “western”)?

Comic books, and comic book fandom is mired in misogyny, the fact that someone throws it out surprises so many people, honestly surprises me.

The guy wasn’t being misogynistic he had an opinion. A ridiculously dramatic opinion but it is his book, and it is his opinion.

Everyone acting like misogyny doesn’t exist in comics and maybe questioning that there’s a slight possibility that that was what was in play in regards to the man’s opinion . . . now that’s ludicrous.

It got his store attention too . . . and why aren’t we starting a conversation about misogyny in comics and the portrayal of women in comics, or the unwelcome nature of female creators in comics? Noooooo, comic book fans wanna get all butthurt about molehills. Except everything is a molehill like racism isn’t prevalent in comics, or nepotism or favoritism . . . noooooooo all comics are created fairly by well paid individuals that get complete and utter respect by the companies they work for and the best books sell because they’re good not because they have Spider-man and X-artists working on. Comics are completely fair and unbiased in any shape and form, so let’s not talk about this or even begin to entertain the notion of villainy in our unblemished industry.

“The guy is, indirectly, in business with Image Comics. Most companies would not appreciate it if a business that was supposed to be selling their products instead publicly denigrated it.”

Retailers are not “in business with” Image or any other publisher. Publishers love calling retailers their “retail partners,” but they’re not partners. They’re customers. Retailers buy non-returnable product from publishers. When a publishers hails how many copies a book sold, they’re talking how many was bought by retailers, not sell-through to readers. This book is going to 2nd printing, but we have no idea how many retailers still have copies on the shelf. Maybe if they got to return unsold books that could be sent to the store that need them this wouldn’t need a 2nd printing. Or maybe it still would. There’s no way to know really as sell-through isn’t tracked.

Point is this retailer owes no one an apology. It’s his book. He bought it. He owns it. He has as much right to rip it or piss on it or whatever he wants as any end reader would.

And DeConnick was right in her statement about how much of a non-issue this is. In the column it was mentioned in the most off-hand way. Mentioned to illustrate a point and then forgotten.

Also, that Ales Kot guy is kinda a dick for trying to had a gender issue for no reason.

“Point is this retailer owes no one an apology. It’s his book. He bought it. He owns it. He has as much right to rip it or piss on it or whatever he wants as any end reader would.”

Has anyone seriously argued he didn’t have the right to insult & destroy the book? Because I haven’t heard that argument. Rather, I have heard people argue that he is a poor businessman for doing so, and probably a jerk to boot.

But just as a store owner has the right to do what he likes with the books he buys, Image has the right to not sell him any more of their products, if they choose. They have the right to encourage fans to shop elsewhere.

Freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom from consequences.

Does the gentleman in question rip up ALL the copies of comics that he didn’t enjoy in front of his customers? Or was this the first time?

yup I don’t feel bad at all about the story being about the this guy than being about the comic. The writer stirs sh!t up like this all the time, about time it took away from her star.

As Hanibal represents the worst of comic store customers… reading and bitching about everything all at the retailers expense, while maybe buying one or two things. Comics Ink represents the worst of comics retailers… being negative and derivative more than supportive and critical, to the point of reducing sales and keeping those what they genuinely wish to experience… In all of this, I’m happy the two have each other.

I was already interested in the book. I am more interested now. Thank you, childish retailer, for helping ensure another sale for the creative team of this book.

One guy says it was misogyny and that is all anyone can harp on about. I am making assumptions about YOU now, that you may have some issues with women yourself.

Pretty soon we won’t be able to rip up the comics we have at home for fear of being called misogynistic. Another point – if it was a woman who ripped up the comic…would this have gotten any press?

Thank God it wasn’t a black female character or the guy would be called a racist as well.

Eh, I think it’s a bit much to rip it up. I mean, he could have done something else to prove his point. Yeah, he can do what he wants, but that doesn’t excuse being rude. And Image offered to take the books back, not demand or threaten, so I don’t know what some of you are talking about.

A retailer I knew took a copy of Flash fastest man alive and burned it in the store parking lot. Just because he did not like what they had done to hs favorite character. So some peoplee over react to make a point no big deal

“Comics Ink represents the worst of comics retailers… being negative and derivative more than supportive and critical, to the point of reducing sales and keeping those what they genuinely wish to experience…”

That’s too bad, Chaos McKenzie. I don’t know if you’ve actually been to the store, but if you have, you’d know that they’re also positive and very supportive about books that are actually a good read. My buy pile was always infused with weekly recommended reads. There’s no press about that though, is there? Of course not, only the negative non-stories to get the anonymous quoters bent out of shape and ruin a shop’s rep over a silly private gesture.

It wasn’t meant for public display in the first place, and the person who did put it up on this site should have known better.

In response to MxDx: OUR store chose not to carry the items by Card because we did not want OUR money going to a man who has openly said he hates people like our child…we did NOT destroy, tear up or burn copies. If you are too small minded to see the difference, you are part of the problem.

He shouldn’t have to apologize for having an opinion. Why are we so intolerant with people who disagree with us. It doesn’t affect the creators or Image comics. All he did was tear up his own copy. We have got to stop brow beating people for having unpopular opinions.

One torn-up book and some fake internet controversy and it’s already hitting 10 on ebay. Once again proving that the scummiest moves are the most profitable. I’m off to wash down half a puppy with some kitten blood to ensure my financial success in the coming year.

He might as well have lit is on fire while he was at it. Nothing wrong with a good ol’ book burning, right?

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