MIKE’S GOT ISSUES!
Anyone that goes into the Naperville store knows this. Yet this essay will not be about my personal problems. What I want to talk about is something close to all our heart: COMICS. Coming soon in November is our Winter Sale (Nov. 15th-17th with a pre-sale in our Naperville and Lakeview store from 7pm to 9pm). This is one of my favorite sales that Graham Crackers Comics run. Sure people come to pick up statues, toys, graphic novels and collectable card games. Yet the biggest seller during this sale and the summer one as well is the back issues. I will tell you why I love this sale so much and maybe give you something neat to look for in November.
Back issues for those who do not know are the bag and boarded comics that are in the boxes mark specifically. In the Naperville store they reside on and under tables in the middle of the store. The single comic issues age can range from a couple of months ago to the 1960s. Sometimes you might find some books from the 40s or 50s. Our stores try to have a variety of books in those boxes all depending on the room the particular store has. Naperville is a big store so we have quite a few boxes. We try as a company to keep those boxes in order but it is a Sisyphean task. Those customers who actually fix them for us, we appreciate you more than you can imagine.
Enough with definitions, what I enjoy about the sale is what leaves the store. I really like seeing what customers are buying. You see the usual Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, or X-Men issues being bought. The speculator customer coming in to buy something on the cheap so that they can flip it on Ebay or Facebook. Yet my favorite customer during these sales is the person who is filling the gaps in their collection. To the layman their pile looks like a random smattering of comics. Yet to the 24 year (25 in January) veteran comic retailer hat pile is full of little bricks that are building the wall of someone’s collection. I like seeing the face of those customers who have finished off a run or two comic series. It is a mixture or relief and excitement.
My absolute favorite job I have with Graham Crackers Comics is pricing back issues. To me it is a zen experience. I get to deal with books for all sorts of different eras. I get to look all the different cover art. Every once in a while I pop the books out their bag and boards and flip through them. or (please don’t tell the bosses) read them. Seeing the usual Spider-Man, Batman, or any other popular series is alright. Yet I love pricing what some call the oddball books. The ones you have to look up because you do not see them as much. These are the books that I love seeing people buy during our back issue sale. I will list a few that I really enjoy and maybe if you see them at one of our stores you can check them out. Remember they are half off.
SHOGUN WARRIORS– This is a licensed comic by Marvel about the giant robots combating evil. I sadly only had one of the toys but reading the comics made me feel that I had all the toys.
GODZILLA– Another licensed comic by Marvel that dealt with the big green guy. Sadly they did not have the rights to the other monsters but he could be in the Marvel universe. He fought the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Dum Dum Dugan, and a rat (you have to see it to believe it).
ROM THE SPACEKNIGHT– I love this book. I have a giant soft spot for this book. It went on for 75 issues and even wrapped up the story before ending. I can’t really explain why I love this book but I just do. It is just great comic book fun.
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES– I feel that not enough people have read the back issues of this book. There have been some great stories in the many runs of this book. People usually are turned off by the look of the heroes. Yet there was probably one of the best Darkseid stories in one of the runs. Bendis is doing a new Legion book so people should check out what he uses for reference.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN– Since Marvel has the rights back and started a new series, there is a new interest in the character. The original Marvel run was great in my opinion. It was as dark and gritty as the comic code allowed. If you are enjoying the new books check out the older run. There was also a Dark Horse run that was great as well.
WARLORD– This is a sword and sorcery book set in an underground world. I know it is a little Conan-like but I really enjoyed Mike Grell’s art in early issues and stayed on for the character. As long as you start with a storyline you should be able to start within the run.
DELL/GOLD KEY BOOKS- These are books that are usually from TV shows or movies. The years they range from aqre the 40s to the 70s. I love the war and western books but hey every once in a while you have to read a Beverly Hillbillies comic. I have one particular customer who comes in during the sale who looks for those books. I could talk to him for hours. It is not a fun sale until he shows up.
MARVEL REPRINT BOOKS- Marvel Tales, Marvel Super Action, and Marvel Super Heroes to name a few. They are reprints of some the Marvel comics that are classic or even iconic. They are a hell of a lot cheaper than getting the originals. For those who just want to read the issues.
JIMMY OLSEN/LOIS LANE- These are purely a guilty pleasure. The stories in these books are so outrageous that you have to love them. Their covers are worth the price alone.
NEXUS– This is one of the books I loved from the 80s Indy boom. Steve Rude’s art is fantastic. Set 500 years in the future, a superhero has to kill mass murders every “cycle” to keep his powers. Books from that boom also were American Flagg, Jon Sable, and Grimjack.
I could go on forever. Sometimes I forget about books until I flip through the back issues. Yet just remember I love all sorts of comics. I like variety and variety is the spice of life (and he who controls the spice controls the universe). A great deal of the books that I mentioned are not expensive and at half off even they are even less. With the sale try something different. Even if it is not something I mentioned. If it is only a couple of bucks try something new. You might appreciate it and with a three day sale you can come back and pick up more. If you miss out there will be another back issue sale in June (usually around my birthday. So bring cake because Fatty loves cakes). Once again thank you for reading my rantings.
Who will return to Naperville soon.