Random Loiterer: "Look, I may be a super gay lesbian, but Conner Kent from Young Justice can GET THIS."
No word on what "THIS" is. I assume it's her frequent customer punch card from a coffeehouse.
"Ten friends are invited to a mysterious home on the remote Isle of Man by the mysterious Mr. Iman. A closely knit group as children, they drifted apart as the world turned them into jaded, cynical... adults. Charles, Lucille, Sally, Patricia, and the rest are in danger, though. That jaded adulthood has taken its toll on the group and they have done horrible, terrible things. As they pay the ultimate price, one by one, will there be enough time to call for help? Will they be able to Dial P... for Peanuts?"
I rarely read the graphic novels or comics whose descriptions I post under the "There Are Comics For Everyone" banner. But I did read this one. And I hope, if you are the sort of person who enjoys this type of comic, that you find it. I suspect many of us that opened it up were not Whoever The Intended Audience was for this ... sa ... tire?
UNICORNS ARENT HORNY GN VOL 01
A hilarious interspecies comedy about a modern virgin and her roommate: a virgin-loving unicorn. Esuyama Emuko is a twenty-something virgin by choice. In fact, she's never had a boyfriend in her entire life. Her roommate is a unicorn, a mythical creature known for its attraction to virgins. This unicorn, named Sea Urchin, adores Emuko, but sometimes Emuko wonders what she might be missing by avoiding romantic love. And does Sea Urchin love Emuko a little too much?
I'm lucky that I've had a job throughout the Pandemic. I go in four days a week, taking the T to meet my coworker, and then we drive to Beverly.
In March, I lost my Charlie card. The cards save about forty cents per trip. Experience had taught me that, short of going to Downtown Crossing during business hours, you can't get a Charlie Card anymore. For years, I've asked T attendants and been shot down.
Since it's just one short trip a day, and I don't currently have to shell out for the commuter rail, I've just accepted it.
Today, I bought my ticket, and In was stopped by a guy who was cleaning the windows. "You take the T every day, don't you?"
"Pretty much." I said.
"You're always reading cool graphic novels."
I smiled but he couldn't see it because I was wearing a mask.
He reached into his pocket. "Take my Charlie card. Do you know how to use it?"
"Yea. I just lost mine a few months ago."
"If you lose this one, let me know. I have dozens. They each have a couple of rides on them. And thanks for getting me to read Hellblazer."
I had never spoken to this person before.
Today's typo for the ... long stretch of time ... I got an Ebay message that said "Tit will be for Spawn booms."
I had to stare at it for about thirty seconds to realize that they were trying to communicate that they'd sent me money and "It will be for Spawn books." which is a totally logical and accurate statement.
But I'm thinking of ending all conversations now with "Tit will be for Spawn booms. McFarlane be with you."
Comic collectors have, for decades, laughed at all those jamokes who were holding on to their Spawn comics, thinking they'd be worth money. But now that there's a toilet paper shortage, Who Is Laughing Now?
Random Loiterer #1: "Oh, cool. Spider-Man."
Random Loiterer #2: "Yea, that one has Tarantula in it."
RL 1 throws the book to the floor. "AHHH! Why?"
RL 2: "It's a Spider-Man book, and Tarantula is a Spider-Man villain."
RL 1: "OH! I thought you said it has TARANTULAS in it. Like free with purchase or something."
RL 2: "You have to be my stupidest friend."
After about fifteen minutes of perfectly reasonable discussions about collectible comics, a Perfectly Nice Guy says "Hey, I was in a store the other day and I saw this Deadpool issue with two girls on the cover that I wanted. Do you know the one I'm talking about?"
Me: "No. Who were the two female characters?"
PNG: "They weren't specifically Marvel characters, it's just two generic women, and Deadpool is giving the peace sign."
PNG swipes on his phone. "Oh, here it is. Sorry, it's a variant cover for Seige #3."
Coworker: "I don't remember that one."
Me: "Because you never had it. In order to get it, you had to destroy fifty copies of DC's Blackest Night and send it to Marvel."
CW: "You're joking."
Me: "I'm not. I had to go through four different stores to find enough issues to send back for a former employer. I think we ended up with three of those variants. They sold for about $500 apiece, I think."
PNG: "No. It was cover price."
Me: "You should have grabbed it then."
CW logs into Ebay. "Wow. Someone sold one last month for $3,000. There isn't a single sale under $1800 since...I don't know."
PNG: "Who would pay that much for one issue?"
Me: "Not very many people. It's also an almost unmemorably Bad issue, which is probably why they had to do the silly Deadpool publicity stunt."
PNG: "Can you get a copy for me?"
Me: "Do you have three thousand dollars to spend?"
A man walks in with aroma of retired debate club arrogance. He walks over to the back issues, side stepping the CLOSED sign blocking the only reasonable path.
"Sorry," I say, "that section is closed."
"Oh, no. Really? Why?"
"I'm putting away this week's books." I say.
"That's okay. I want to look at your Iron Man and Captain Americas." which are the comics behind me when I work at the computer, in the open portion of the store.
"Sure." I say, handing him the stack.
"Are these prices firm?" He asks. "I like to haggle."
"They are." I say. "You can discuss prices with the owner but he prices them at the lower end of the spectrum because, like me, he doesn't like to haggle."
"You can't knock off, like," he swats at the book, not in a damaging way, "five bucks on this."
"Nope They're not my books to knock money off of."
He makes a face. "See, I go on Ebay, and I see these books starting at ninety-nine cents."
I make a face. "They're probably reprints. This is a fifty year old book. I can't imagine they'd start the bidding at under twenty bucks."
"They go up to eighty or ninety before I give up. I don't have that kind of money for a comic. I read them for the-- mind if I open this?" he asks.
"I read them for the stories. I'm not one of those.." he pulls the comic out of the bag, flips it open to a page, and sticks his nose All The Way In to the binding, loudly sniffing "people who buy the books for the money, I" flips to another page, sticks his nose in, and sniffs loudly "I like them for the stories."
Today is never going to end.
"Have you considered getting the collections, then? They're sturdier, you get more story."
He stops mid-sniff to shake his head disapprovingly at me.
"You kids" I'm a kid now! "trying to tell me how to collect things. I've been collecting since I was a kid" back before humans knew how to control fire, back when they viewed women as property and not people, so you know, any point in history up to this point, "I know more about collecting than you" who work in a store that specializes in the thing that I collect "could ever know. Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiifffff."
"See this one has a tear, so you should knock off a few bucks. That's how they do it on EBay. But I don't like to order from there, you never know when they smell like mildew."
"True." I say. "The thing is, the owner *has* knocked off a few bucks. He's a certified expert on grading comics. I'm not. It's why I don't haggle. But he's been working for this store for almost as long as I've been alive. And he's owned it for over twenty years."
"The Black guy?" he, of course, asks.
"One of them." I say.
"Glasses and a paunch?"
I inhale. But not deeply. Not like I'm sniffing for mildew. "Sure. So he knows all about pricing. He's one of the foremost experts in the country." This might be hyperbole. Who can quantify that skill?
"This one has a little tear in the corner, though."
I nod my head. "I know. He knows, too. If it didn't have the little tear, it would be more expensive."
"I think I could find this for ninety-nine cents on EBay."
"Then you should get it there." I say, reaching for the pile.
He says, "You're a tough negotiator."
"I'm not, though. I don't have the authority to negotiate, as these aren't my books, and this is not my store."
He pulls one of the issues back. "Alright. I'll get this one."
"That's twenty dollars, please."
He gives me a twenty that smells of mildew enough that I don't have to put it up to my nose.
"Can I have a bag?"
"Sure thing." I say. "But I have to charge you for it. It's Cambridge law."
"Oh yea. I keep forgetting that. It's a dime, right?"
"It starts at a dime." I explicitly lie. "But can go up to about three dollars depending on the quality of the bag. Ours are a quarter." you asshole.
An Erudite Man enters the store. "Well, isn't this just perfection. You work here, correct?"
EM: "My daughter is a graphic novelist."
Not Yet A Graphic Novelist: "No. No. I'm a children's author who is thinking of getting into graphic novels."
EM: "Yes. Well." He gives me the eyeroll. "If, let's say, I was a person who read real literature and thought graphic novels were just a failed rebranding of comic books to intimidate adults into foolishly investing their money in comics until they died. What would you say to me?"
Me: "I would say you sounded so convinced in your argument that it would be a waste of my time to try and convince you otherwise."
EM: "Oh, I like you."
EM: "Gun to your head, what's the best graphic novel in the store."
I look to my left.
Me: "Daytripper. It's a book by two Brazilian twin brothers. I don't want to spoil the joy of reading it, so I'll just say that it's a story about family focusing on a young man whose father is a famous novelist, but he writes obituaries and is trying to find his voice as a writer."
NYAGN: "Oh wow."
EM: "That was spectacular. I grew up in Brazil, where I was a journalist in a newspaper. I didn't write the obituaries, but one of my mates did."
NYAGN flips through the book. "I'l definitely be getting this."
We discuss different art styles, what she's looking for, and she mentions that she's in town to have a surprise conversation with an author she particularly likes, who happens to be a subscriber at our store.
EM: "You seem very well informed. About comics and literature. Do you know anything about poetry."
This is not going to end well.
Me: "Yes, I have spent a great deal of time working in the Cambridge area poetry scene."
EM: "Do you know" name I've never heard of.
Me: "No." I look up the name on the computer. "They are quite dead. And have been since before I moved here."
EM: "Gun to your head. Favorite living American poet."
Me: "Patricia Smith."
EM: "I've never heard of her."
I give him a quick rundown, and tell him to start with Blood Dazzler.
EM: "Do you know Sharon Olds?"
Me: "Not personally, but I love her work, and saw her read once, many years ago."
EM: "Seamus Heaney."
Me: "I'm familiar with him, but I don't know him. He wasn't precisely local."
EM: "Of course, of course."
I return to talking with NYAGN about her influences, and different graphic novel categories.
EM approaches me with a book. The Cantab Anthology, which sits on the front counter.
EM: "Are you Adam Stone?"
Me: "I am."
EM: "I read one of the Patricia Smith poems, and then one of yours. What makes this poetry and not prose?"
Me: "A local legend name Jack McCarthy once said that if you wrote or performed something that everyone agreed was poetry, then anything you write thereafter can be considered poetry." (I'm aware this is not the precise quote.)
EM: "But this is just formatting, then. And repetition. Hemingway used repetition. Would you call that poetry?"
Me: "I'm not a big Hemingway fan, so no."
EM: "So how is this" yeup "Drunken Conversations At Hampshire College poetry, and not just prose with line breaks?"
NYAGN: "What classifies anything in the 21st century? Do you have anything from the mid-seventies? That's when I'm setting the book, so I'm curious as to what comics looked like in that era." She says, saving her father from violent stink eye.
We continue talking about 70s art, and a Very Drunk Cantabrigian comes in.
EM, to me: "Is there a second hand clothing store nearby?"
Me: "The best option in Cambridge is The Garment District."
Very Drunk Cantabrigian: "And how."
EM: "How would we get there?"
VDG: "Take the fucken bus."
EM: "Um. Yes. Is there another way?"
VDG: "You could drive, but parking sucks."
EM: "That's fine, we haven't got a car. Could we walk?"
VDG: "Hoooooo. Could you walk? Can you?"
While VDG gives Horrible Directions, NYAGN and I talk about shipping comics to the UK. She ends up buying "Daytripper" and Guy Delisle's "Pyongyang". She and her father leave, taking down my info.
VDG: "I want a copy of the In The Wind 40th Anniversary Edition."
Me: "I don't know what that is."
VDG: "This isn't a place I could get it."
VDG: "It's a motorcycle magazine."
Me: "Ah. Yea, we don't have that."
VDG: "I know. I know. But where would I get it."
Me: "The Coop is the most likely place to have it."
VDG: "Of course! My mother used to work there fifty years ago. 'Til the towers went down. Then she started making butter soup and she sold my house to the communists."
VDG: "Right on the coast of Oregon, they got her to give half the house to the city to secure her legacy. And then Helen....you know Helen?"
VDG: "Sure you do. She works over at...over at...uhh...Charlie's."
Me: "Oh sure, Helen." No idea.
VDG: "She kicks me out all the time. I don't think she knows that Cheny was behind the towers. People blaming Bush. Barabara was a lovely woman. I never met her, but what a lady. If any of those boys ever did wrong. KRAK! Melania, if Trump ever goes nuts..."
VDG: "Think she'd...KRAK!...him? Helen never hit me or nothing, but you know."
VDG: "They called Barbara The Iron Lady."
Me: "Good old Barbara Thatcher."
VDG: "Get those communists....KRAK!"
Me: "Indeed. Well, I've got to close the store for my lunch hour. You should get to the Coop to get your magazine."
VDG: "What? Oh! The Coop. My mother used to work there."
VDG: "But rent got so expensive."
Me: "Uh huh. See you later."
VDG: "I'm always getting kicked out of places. Thanks for not using your foot."