Phone rings. Ominously.
Random Caller: Hey, do you have the Fantastic Four comic?
Me: Sure, we have a bunch.
RC: The one with the first appearance of Black Panther.
Me: Ooooh. I don't know. Let me check.
RC: Is it cover price?
I laugh. Because that's fucken funny.
Me: Noooo. If we have it, it's way more than cover price.
Me: Because it's worth a lot more than cover price.
RC: Well, I was hoping to get it for cheap because I hear it's going to be valuable.
Me: You're about thirty years late to get it for cheap. Even a torn up copy is worth fifty bucks. If it's in good shape, it's over a grand.
RC: Well, I was looking to pay about--
Me: We don't have it. And nobody is going to have it for under a couple hundred dollars.
RC: That's a rip-off, you guys sh--
Me: Well, that's the price that it sells for. Sorry if it's not what you're looking for. You can get the same story in a couple of different collections that run about $20-$40 but they're not ever going to go up in value, they're just for reading. So if you want to just read the story, you can do that. But if you want it as a collectible for cheap, you're going to have to find someone who has absolutely no idea how valuable it is. It's possible but very, very, VERY unlikely.
RC: Where could I get it for about five bucks?
I hang up the phone.
I am thoroughly unsurprised when someone that I've always found unpleasant (in this case, Mr. Goodie Box) decides to open a conversation with bizarre misogyny disguised as small talk.
I've got my iPod on shuffle, and Bonnie Raitt's "Real Man" is playing, and he opens conversation with "At least she's honest. You know before she takes all the guy's money."
Mr Goodie Box: "That's what they do. Women. They love you, they leave you, and they take all your stuff."
Me: "That happen to you a lot, does it?"
MGB: "Not me. But I hear things."
Me: "I bet."
Random Loiterer: "I love the X-Men, do you have any X-men books here?"
Me: "Of course. We have some issues over here, and some collections over--"
RL: "Oh, you have vintage comics! Man, I grew up reading these. I had every issue."
RL: "I think the only one I have left is #84. The first appearance of Silver Surfer. How much is that worth?"
Me: "Um. Well, #84 was a reprint. All the issues between 67 (I think) and 94ish were reprints."
RL: "No. 84 was the first appearance of Silver Surfer."
Google google google.
Me: "So, Silver Surfer's first appearance was Fantastic Four #48. Is that what you were thinking of?"
RL: "No. Look up X-Men #84."
Type type type.
RL: "Can I see the cover? Yea. There. The Silver Surfer."
Me: "That's Iceman actually."
RL: "Why is Iceman in an X-Men comic?"
Me: "Um. Well. He's one of the original X-Men. He was in almost every issue."
RL: "I don't remember him. I'm pretty sure that's The Silver Surfer."
Me: "It's not. They do look similar, but Silver Surfer rode a surfboard. Iceman created an ice slide. See?"
RL: "You're telling me that's not Silver Surfer?"
Me: "I am telling you that's Iceman."
RL: "When did Silver Surfer join the X-Men?"
Me: "As far as I can remember, he never did. I might be wrong. A bunch of characters have been in the X-Men or The Avengers for a couple of issues, but he was never one of the main characters in an X-Men book that I read."
RL: "Are space books valuable right now?"
Me: "There are some books that take in space that are popular right now, sure. Saga. Guardians of The Galaxy. Uhhh--"
RL: "What's bigger space or time travel?"
Me: "Well, space is infinite. We don't know if the same is true of time."
RL: "I mean in comics."
Me: "Space, I think. There are more dimension hopping stories than time travel right now."
RL: "Like" names a movie I've never heard of?
Me: "Maybe? I haven't seen it."
RL: "How do you work in a comic book store and you haven't seen" movie I've never heard of"?"
How did you grow up reading X-Men comics and not know Iceman was in the X-Men?
Me: "Just lucky, I guess."
RL shakes head and leaves.
Random Loiterer: "Do you guys have the Danzig comic?"
Me: "Henry & Glenn Forever? I think it's unavailable right now, but it's amazing."
RL: "The one that he writes?"
Me: "Oh. NO. I forgot he wrote a comic. We haven't ever carried..." google google type type "Verotika."
RL: "What's Henry & Glenn Forever?"
Me: "It's about Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins' queer relationship, Glenn's sweet and overbearing mother, and their Satan-worshiping neighbors, Hall & Oates."
RL: "And...he...wrote that?"
Me: "Noooooooooooooooo. Glenn Danzig Hates It. But Henry Rollins thinks it's hilarious."
RL: "That sounds about right. So do you have it?"
Me: "It's unavailable right now."
RL: "Not Henry & Glenn. Do you have Verotika?"
Me: "No. Nor, do I imagine, will we. But as soon as Henry & Glenn is available, we'll have that."
RL: "Comics are weird. I'm going to go get a sandwich."
Regular Customer: Could I grab a plastic bag? My app says there's 100% chance of rain on my way home.
Me: 100%? That would mean it's raining now.
Looks out window.
RC: My app is my eyes.
Two Flat Capped Sullys came in to tell me that they've never read "comical books" before, but that we couldn't be one of the oldest "comical book stores" because DC opened the first comic book store back in World War II. They are pretty sure there was a DC store at the end of their street. In South Boston. But they never went in it because, SHOCKINGLY, neither of them read very much.
They referred to Saga as a "High End Japanese book." (It is a perfectly affordable book by two North Americans: An American and a Canadian.)
They walked around for about fifteen minutes, not even really picking anything up, but asking the usual Get The Fuck Out Of the Store Questions:
"What's your most expensive comic?"
"Is this your store? No? Do you read comics, then?"
"What kind of people buy comics?" "But they started when they were kiddies, right?" "Adults? Get Out Of Here. Adults read this crap?"
I hope some of Whitey Bulger's retired friends run over their fat, hairy, toes before the end of the week.
I feel like I should have a permit that allows me every week to kill one rich person who tries to get out of paying ten cents for a fucken bag. Particularly when they hear me explain the bag tax to the very nice, reasonable person in front of them, and then act shocked that the law also applies to them.
Random Rich Taint: "Well, he gave you a quarter and said to keep the change. That covers me."
Me: "No. That gets saved for children who can't quite afford their comics. If I don't charge you ten cents, we get fined."
RRT: "Well, that's ridiculous."
Starts to walk out of store.
Me: "It is. Which is why you still have to pay me ten cents."
RRT: "Sorry, I'm in a hurry."
Me: "I'll adjust your credit card then to cover it."
Me: "Really. I'm, not getting fined because you are in too much of a rush for the law."
And nobody would ever have to deal with him or his Maroon Sweatshirt again.
Because of Labor Day, my schedule is a little off, so I decide to make up the New Release Board today, but because it is somewhat busy, and I am by myself, instead of doing it over by the back issues, I clear off the counter and do it by the register.
A Random Loiterer comes up just as I've written down the month, and leans on the board, smudging the date that I just finished writing.
Me: "Please don't lean or put anything on the counter. I'm writing on this, and I don't want to have to start over later."
RL: "Of course."
He wanders around the store a bit, grabs a Humanoid book (which are the few books that don't have prices on them), plops it on the words I have just finished writing and asks "How much is this?"
Me: "29.99. Could you please not touch this board I'm writing on? This is the second time I've had to redo something because you put your book or your arm on something I just finished writing."
RL: "Of course."
He puts the book down, wanders around the store for five minutes, picks up another book, and walks toward the counter, putting the boo--
Me: "DON'T PUT YOUR BOOK ON THE BOARD."
--k in the middle of the board, smudging the entire thing.
RL: "Sorry. How much is this?"
Me: "A Thousand Dollars."
Me: "Really. Forty dollars for the book, nine hundred and sixty dollars because this is the third time I've had to start this over. Don't. Touch. The. Counter. Don't. Put. Your. Books. On. The. Board."
RL: "Sorry. I didn't know."
Actual Customer: "Dude, he told you at least three times."
RL: "I guess I wasn't listening."
Me: "Well, as long as you don't put anything on my board again, I'll discount the book back to $39.99"
RL: "Oh, I don't have any money with me. I'm just making my Christmas list."
He leaves, leaving the book on the board.
I wait until I see him walk by the window before saying "You get nothing you Naughty List Dwelling Motherfucker."
AC collapses with laughter into shelf, knocking over a Batwoman Action Figure.
AC: "Oh shit. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Me: "It's cool. That was clearly an accident, and partially my fault. You're still on the Nice List."
AC: "That's not what my girlfriend's going to say if I come home with this book."
Last night, a woman who, last year, bought a ton of books I recommended for her children, came back with her sister, hoping I could recommend a new swath of books.
They picked up Brave, the Olympians books, some Marvel Star Wars, and Wrinkle In Time. I suggested, if they could find it, to pick up Princeless Volume one, and went back to some computer work.
Nice Customer: "Anything else we're missing?"
NC: "They're a little old for Archie."
Me: "A few years ago, I would have agreed with you, but the new stuff isn't all malt shops and sock hops. And instead of the trope of a doofus guy who women are fighting over, Archie and Betty have been dating since they were really in their single digits, and they break up at the beginning of the book, just as Veronica moves in."
NC: "So it has a backstory. That's interesting, I guess."
Me: "It's also cool because, unlike the old series, the new one has consequences."
NC, somewhat sarcastically: "What kind of consequences? Their parents take their phones away?"
Me, somewhat too intensely: "No. Betty is in a WHEELCHAIR now."
NC: "That sounds a bit much. What's this BIg Nate book about?"
Me: "Wedgies and basketball."
NC: "That sounds better."
Random Loiterer: "Where do you keep your Independent books?"
I guide him to the appropriate section.
RL: "Which of these are used?"
Me: "None of them. We have some used back issue comics, but no used graphic novel section."
RL: "Who in the area does?"
Me: "The Harvard Book Store, but most of their used graphic novels are DC and Marvel."
RL: "I've been there. They have nothing."
Me: "That's the only place. Sorry."
RL: "I just hate paying full price for things."
Me: "Life must be very challenging for you."