Pop Culture Gadabout
Thursday, March 22, 2007
      ( 3/22/2007 12:20:00 PM ) Bill S.  

SHELF DEATH – Because I haven't been visiting my local comics shoppe as regularly as I used to, I don't know exactly when the markdown at Acme Comics began. But, recently, when I visited the racks in the Normal store that had once housed two sections of manga paperbacks, I immediately noticed how much the space had been depleted. Attached to the shelves was a sign announcing that all manga were "50% Off!"

Speaking to Jim, the owner & operator of Acme, the reason for this decision was obvious. "You were the only one who came in regularly to buy them," he told me – and since I'd cut my profligate spending two years ago, those purchases weren't as regular as they'd once been. Then there was the matter of returns. Borders or Barnes & Nobel can return any manga books they don't sell, Jim asserted, but he couldn't. It just wasn't cost effective to keep on stocking 'em. "But if you've got any titles you want me to order for you," he offered me as a bone, "I can still do that." Since neither of the area's two chain bookstores stock Iron Wok Jan!, I told him I'd get back to him.

Wound up buying about twenty-five dollars worth of half-priced manga and told Jim I'd return later in the week once I'd checked the volume numbers on some of the series I've been reading. (Couldn't remember what book, f'rinstance, I was up to in Naruto.) To be frank, I wasn't too bothered by the man's business decision, though I still couldn't help pondering all those Acme regulars who I've seen crowding into the store on Wednesdays, willfully ignoring the wealth of good comics less than four feet away from the wall of new DC and Marvel releases. It's not as if nobody in comics fandom has been loudly working to promote good manga series – because the fannish writing is definitely out there. It's just that too damn many mainstream comics readers can't be bothered to venture outside their tiny little comfort zone.

I asked Jim how he planned to fill his soon-to-be-empty manga shelves. With kids' titles, he replied. Presumably this'll include copies of the Marvel Adventure digests. You know: those small color digests designed to look like manga pbs . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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