Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett shares his observations from a Saturday at the comic store.
For someone who regularly claims to be a 'retail services consultant' I have to confess that most weeks I don’t actually see the inside of a comic shop let alone my comic shop. And even when I do manage to get to Super-Fly Comics & Games it’s usually on a hit and run mission; I pop in, get my comics then pop out. Given how irregular my days off are these days and the premium price that I have to pay for free time I might just as well be still working full time at a comic book shop.
But last weekend, miracle of miracles, my 'weekend' actually coincided with Saturday and Sunday (twenty-four years in retail and I can count the times that’s happened on one hand). I had the luxury of an entire Saturday off and I elected to spend the afternoon at Super-Fly Comics, perched on a stool by the counter which allowed me to read a pile of comic books while still keeping track of the traffic.
It was busier than expected for a January afternoon, thanks to some unseasonably (some would say unreasonably) warm weather and we soon had a steady stream of customers of all sorts. I got to see some of the old regulars I hadn’t seen in entirely too long who were mostly men in my age range, but there were also kids. Little kids, big kids, teens, hipsters, gamers and yes, *gasp* girls. Actually every variety of female person was well represented. As usual there were a couple of middle aged women who couldn’t even get past our threshold--they opened the door, took a quick look inside and suddenly decided they had to be anywhere else immediately.
And of course there were the usual assortment of girlfriends, wives and mothers who had been dragged there against their will; it doesn’t take long to recognize their put upon taken prisoner expressions. But there were quite a number of girls and women who actively wanted to be there, one who actually worked there. Some happily roved the store in packs, picking up comics, happily shoving stuffed Daleks into each others faces and audibly squeeing at every sighting of Doctor Who.
I know this is an unnecessary digression, but I believe that I’ve been a good sport about the world changing around me without my express written permission; I have even gotten used to living in what increasingly appears to be a Philip K. Dick novel. So while it doesn’t make much sense to me that twenty something guys are now heavily into My Little Pony and women are tattooing their chests as if they were 19th century circus strongmen, I’ll go along with the gag. But even that makes more sense to me that what had once been a clunky Boys Own Adventure SF series having a considerable female fan base. And I won’t even entertain the notion that the current incarnation of Doctor Who is considered to be a hunky heartthrob.
So, my point is, yes, there were women in abundance at Super-Fly Comics & Games that random Saturday afternoon in January. Which kind of puts the lie to "The Bakersfield Expedition," the January 10th episode of The Big Bang Theory which became instantly infamous in fans circles for its 20-second trailer. It revealed that weeks b-plot involved the female cast members venturing into a comic book store with the tagline "Where No Women Has Gone Before."
I thought about writing about this the week the episode aired but the truth is, I’ve written entirely too much and too often about The Big Bang Theory already. I can understand why lots of people were upset by this, seeing as how it’s an offensive and outdated stereotype, but me, I can take a joke. Well, I can take what’s clearly intended to be a joke, but then, sitcoms of all kinds deal with all kinds of convenient bite sized stereotypes. This one just happens to bite us.
So, I’m in fine with this. However, I would very much like it if those going to Comic-Con would go to the The Big Bang Theory panel and tell the cast to their faces that while they might consider such things just good natured ribbing, we didn’t much care for it. I don’t expect this to change anyone’s minds you understand, but if we can make a bunch of attractive, highly paid actors slightly uncomfortable for a moment or two, well, I’d consider it a job well done.
So it’s nice to hear that someone takes us seriously, even if it’s just radio talk show host Alex Jones, the man who wants to deport talk show host Piers Morgan for his views on gun control. He recently had this to say about nerds...
"I’m telling you folks, nerds are one of the most dangerous groups in this country, because they end up running things. But they still hate everybody because they weren’t the jocks in high school, so they play little dirty games on everybody. They use their brains to hurt people."
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
January 23 2013 @ 1:35 am CT
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