Comic Store in Your Future: I Love This Store, I Hate This Store

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics, writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

Comic Store in Your Future: I Love This Store, I Hate This Store
Credit: Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

I love this store.

I hate this store.

The store is just right.

The store is too small.

This store is mostly about comic books; that's great!

This place doesn't have much variety; I'm disappointed.

Too much DC stuff, not enough Marvel.

Too much Marvel stuff, not enough DC.

The owner is a big fan of comics.

The owner seems to know too much about comics and doesn't know much about manga, TV shows, or other things that interest me.

I could never just abandon my pull box and hurt the store's business.

Screw the store. As a business owner, he has plenty of money to absorb the loss of me just abandoning my pull box.

The owner must be rich to have a small business.

The owner must be hurting for money because he owns a small business.

The store has a professional feel to it; they don't allow outside food and drink. I like that since I don't want a food smell when I walk into a comic store.

Those jerks wouldn't allow me to bring in my slice of pizza and soda. They said they sell soda there with lids on them so people are less likely to spill — like I don't know how to drink. Why would I want to waste 30 cents more on a drink when I can buy it cheaper at the grocery store?

They greet everyone when they come in and are very polite.

I wish they wouldn't talk to me.

They actually monitor gaming and take an interest in the gaming at the store.

They need to mind their own business.

The owner of the store seems like a good person.

The owner of the store seems like a jerk.

He writes great Bleeding Cool articles.

He writes terrible Bleeding Cool articles.

Large groups of people will see and believe in different things. When I first opened the store, I tried to make everyone happy. I was new and worried the store would bleed out money and that I needed every penny. I was wrong. I thought I had to get everyone that came through the door in a happy mood; a buying mood. But that is not possible with large groups of people. I learned to stop trying to making unhappy people happy after giving it a try for too long.

Gaming groups, I thought the more the better. I was wrong. Some people do ruin it for everyone else.

Some people like the store because it is small. Some don't because it is small. Large groups of people are never going to agree on everything.

Perception is the way it is, even if it is not that way. In high school I had a teacher tell us that. We basically shrugged it off knowing that wasn't what perception actually meant. We actually blew off what he was trying to say: Even though people might see the same thing, they can see the same thing differently.

I really enjoyed the Batman v Superman movie. Not everyone did. Why did I enjoy it? I am a long-time comic book fan. The movie had a lot of material from the comics I never dreamed I would see on the big screen. However, Marvel's Civil War disappointed me. I was all fired up when the prison, the Raft, was introduced. I thought there would be a lot of Avengers foes shown that would otherwise never make it to the big screen. I was wrong; it was just a place to hold the Avengers. Only one scene from the comics made it into the Civil War movie. While I was disappointed, millions of people enjoyed the movie. One of my favorite movies is Stardust, which came out in 2007. Stardust is based on a novel by Neil Gaiman and wasn't a huge blockbuster movie. This doesn't mean I am wrong for liking it any more than others who did not like it would be wrong.

I have written for years on my store's website. Many times what I meant to be the point of my writings has come off completely the opposite to some readers.

Often times when I talk with other store owners, they call the columns I write "common sense" about owning a store. I have learned things may seem normal to those that own a comic store, but new to others that have not had experience in retail.

The owner of Comic Force in Branson, Missouri stopped in. I thought he was a great person and enjoyed talking with him. If I make it to the Branson, Missouri area, I want to stop in and check out his store. He saw the newest Bombshell and Green Lantern statues we have in. He said he didn't have the demand for statues but was doing well in other areas. He mentioned it must be great to be able to sell statues. I chuckled and said we are lucky enough to sell statues, but the Green Lantern one was ordered for someone who decided they needed to save up for a new car instead. The person who ordered it had bought a lot of Bombshell statues through us in the past, so it wasn't an issue. My impression of him was positive and he was a good comic store owner. He said he liked my store and hoped to return.

My father had his own business many years ago. He supplied video games, pool tables, air hockey tables, jukeboxes, and more to bowling alleys, bars, restaurants, and other businesses. As a kid, I enjoyed it a lot. What's not to like about a garage full of video games? At the time, I did not know how lucky I was. Times change, though. Dragon's Lair and Space Ace were expensive new games at the time and didn't last long. Home game consoles became popular. As needs changed, it no longer became a profitable business for him. I would like to think I learned some things about having a business from him.

When I was a kid, I visited my uncle in Texas during the summer. He owned a pharmacy, The West Columbia Pharmacy. He made a good living and was one of the best human beings I have ever known. I am sure the time I spent at his pharmacy, along with the hours spent playing the Spider-Man pinball game, influenced me a lot. One of my regrets is never telling him what a positive influence he was on me as a kid. I hope he knew.

Just like everyone's past influences them, my past influences what I think of things. How I respond. How I plan my business. My assumptions. I fill in the blanks with assumptions for any professional field that I have never worked in, like a miner or a doctor.

Right or wrong — people fill in their own blanks. As a store owner, I try to convince people to believe the store is a good place to shop. Not everyone will believe that. My job is to make as many people as possible believe it.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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