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A Matter of Life or Seven Dollars - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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September 16th, 2009


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08:06 pm - A Matter of Life or Seven Dollars
Today I found myself engaged in a heated battle between my cheapness and my principles.

My comic book store is Dr. Comics and Mr. Games on Piedmont. I've been going there for over a year, and I really like the staff. Especially the two cute girls. They make my week better. But that's neither here nor there.

I do not buy comics. I'm not a collector, and I can't spend three or four dollars on something that will take me ten minutes to read. I buy trades to keep and treasure forever, but I want to keep up with the stories live because there's a certain excitement in that, even if I don't have a lot of people to talk to about them. So I read issues off the shelves, slightly surreptitiously even though no one has ever said anything. But in order to support the store, I do buy things occasionally, especially when there's a sale. My comic book store in Ann Arbor had used trades, so that was right up my alley. Dr. Comics doesn't have used trades, but they do have a discount table, and they do have sales every few months.

There's one guy with whom I've discussed comics a lot. Just today, we talked Daredevil, and he showed me the trades they had, as well as The Losers by Andy Diggle, the new writer for Daredevil, and Sin City since we were talking about Frank Miller. "Sir," I did not say, "you have mistaken me for someone who regularly buys brand-new books at their full retail price." There is, of course, no logical reason to pay full price for a book that you can buy discounted on Amazon.

In the past, we've talked about Brian K. Vaughan. He thinks that he tends to start out strong but then fizzles out, losing his interest. I disagree, but that's neither here nor there. On at least two occasions, he has recommended to me his favorite work by Brian K. Vaughan, Doctor Strange: The Oath. Since it's a five-issue miniseries, it doesn't suffer from the fizzle-out factor. I am not that familiar with Doctor Strange, but I do love BKV, so I resolved to buy it one of these days on his recommendation. That day has not arrived yet, as I usually have other things I want or need to buy when sales roll around.

After I left Dr. Comics, I went to Spectator Books to check their shelves of used graphic novels for anything I needed to buy.

To my horror, there on the shelf was Doctor Strange: The Oath. For seven dollars. Half-price.

I grappled with the dilemma. I could buy it, saving myself seven dollars, and read it and love it and thank the guy for his recommendation. But the only reason I wanted to read it was because he recommended it to me! If it were a matter of reading it, I could just get it from the library. Buying it here proved nothing. But...seven dollars. Maybe only four, if I bought it on a sale day. Why should I pay more when I could pay less? But I had resolved! I didn't make the resolve face, but I had resolved! It was a very appropriate thing to do, buying something that was recommended by an employee at his place of employment. Even if it did cost more and I could have gotten it for less elsewhere. Of course, the truly appropriate thing to do would be to buy all the trades of comics I read on the shelves, but—hey, hey, we're getting off-track here. No, no, of all things I should buy from the store, it should be a thing I had not even heard of before. I would support the store as I had promised to no one in particular. Whenever the mood struck me, I would buy Doctor Strange: The Oath from Dr. Comics and nowhere else.

It really was a tough decision! But I am pleased that my principles won out. Sometimes I stick by them, money be damned!

Instead I bought Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede and The Witches by Roald Dahl because they were like two bucks each. Come on.
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Manchester Orchestra - I've Got Friends

(28 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:darlingviolenta
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
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Instead I bought Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede and The Witches by Roald Dahl because they were like two bucks each. Come on.
Great choices!
[User Picture]
From:hecubot
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
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If you don't buy comics from the good comics store with the interesting conversations and the cute girls it will go out of business.

True fact. The bookstore on Haight Street that just closed specifically mentioned that people browse the shelves for titles and then bought them for less off Amazon.

But now that bookstore is gone.

Dude, you can afford to support your store. It gives you a lot and asks but little.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
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The bookstore on Haight Street that just closed specifically mentioned that people browse the shelves for titles and then bought them for less off Amazon.

But now that bookstore is gone.

That sucks. I was actually worried when the store announced new hours because I assumed they would be shortened, but in fact they've actually extended their hours and are open later. That's a good sign, isn't it?

Dude, you can afford to support your store.
I know! That is why I still buy things from them that I could get cheaper from Amazon. I like supporting them. In fact, I once had the idle thought that if I had a lot more money, I would probably buy a lot more comics.
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
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What if it were recommended by the cute girls rather than the guy?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
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You always ask the tough questions.

(There would still have been a dilemma! But...it may have been an easier decision.)
From:scifantasy
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
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Huh! I bought The Oath just last week, mostly on the strength of Vaughan's name and recommendations from MightyGodKing.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
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Well well! Hope it's good! Don't tell me either way because I want to go in on just one opinion and not be influenced otherwise. On principle and stuff. (I did glance at the Amazon reviews, which were mostly positive.)
From:scifantasy
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
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Don't tell me either way...

You got it. I'll save my thoughts for the inevitable writeup post. *smirk*
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:September 17th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
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You know a good way to get a discount on comic books? Be a cute girl and giggle a lot. Dr. Strange is a fun character. I hope you enjoy him whenever you end up reading it. (I say this having most recently read of him in the original Secret Wars from the 80s. So by now he could be lame I guess.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
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Well, he made a few appearances in Daredevil, and he seems like a cool dude.

You know a good way to get a discount on comic books? Be a cute girl and giggle a lot.
Unfortunately I cannot do this.
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:September 17th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
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Next best thing: send a cute girl into the shop with your money and have her giggle a lot.

It's pretty important you not go in with her though. If you do, the comic book guys will be mean to her. (Probably not a problem with girls working at your store and all.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
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No, not a problem at all. There are girls in the store all the time being helped like regular human beings interested in comics.
[User Picture]
From:ashfae
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
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Awww, I've never gotten a discount by being a cute girl or giggling! Maybe I need to show more cleveage.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:September 17th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
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I know the feeling. I could get my RPG books a lot cheaper (and probably sooner) from Amazon than from the local gaming shop across the street. But I buy from the local shop anyway because I want local shops to still exist, and there aren't many left.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chrryblssmninja
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
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Doctor Strange: The Oath is fine. I got it from the library. I liked that one of my favorite writers and a character I'd always been interested in but never read much of came together in a fun way.


I actually went to the comics store on Wednesday and bought the latest of The Marvels Project and the Strange Tales Marvel thing that has the Junko Mizuno story of Spiderman. IMPULSE BUY HEADDESK
BUT I ACTUALLY LIKED IT
SO NOT QUITE HEADDESK
[User Picture]
From:kremlindusk
Date:September 17th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
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I thought this entry was going somewhere else entirely, since you mentioned reading the comics and not buying them. That's a huuuuge no-no in the comics stores I've ever been to, so I'm afraid to even glance at the inside of the cover for fear of being yelled at. Fun fact you may have already realized: I am, in fact, a total pussy.

It's funny that you don't want to spend $4 on a comic, though. I remember being thrilled when I discovered I could spend $20 on comics and actually get many comics for my money. I'm used to buying DVDs or books and buying like one or two things and spending $50 or more. Ughh, I wish they weren't so much. So yeah, when I'm feeling poor but I need entertainment, the comics store is my place to go. I can't even buy a Nintendo DS game for less than $20, usually, but I can get a small stack of comics for that much.

The long arm of Comic Store Guilt stretches far and wide - my boyfriend, who's been a comics geek for decades (I'm a newbie) has a certain comic store he'll never go to because he once had a "box" there (I guess he got comic subscriptions?) and never picked them up because he was broke, and now owes the store money and... yeah. Comic shop workers are intimidating and scary! *shudder*
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
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That's a huuuuge no-no in the comics stores I've ever been to, so I'm afraid to even glance at the inside of the cover for fear of being yelled at.
So far, I have not been yelled at, even at my old store. They don't seem to mind you reading things as long as, of course, you eventually buy things.

I'm used to buying DVDs or books and buying like one or two things and spending $50 or more.
Heh, true, but DVDs give you HOURS of entertainment! Hours!

my boyfriend, who's been a comics geek for decades (I'm a newbie)
Well, I have recommended many comics for you to try, newbie!

has a certain comic store he'll never go to because he once had a "box" there (I guess he got comic subscriptions?) and never picked them up because he was broke, and now owes the store money and... yeah. Comic shop workers are intimidating and scary! *shudder*
Eep! I kind of want a pull-list. I think I'll be buying the Psych and Guild comics to support them, so I might set up a "box" for them.
[User Picture]
From:ashfae
Date:September 17th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
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Patricia Wrede is always a good idea, and Roald Dahl even more so.

[User Picture]
From:lembeau
Date:September 17th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
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I approve of your book choices.

As for the cheapness thing, I started buying books from the discarded bin at the library for 50 cents rather than borrowing them (for free) because I would inevitably accrue fines on the bloody books that would be more than 50 cents, so it was cheaper that way, lol. You should've seen me on 4 books for $1 days. Madness. :OD
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I totally pick up books from my library like that! How can I resist?
[User Picture]
From:chrismarlowe
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
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I rarely buy TPBs. The only notable TPBs I have is Y the Last Man Series. I also like reading the TPBs from the library as well.

I make it a point to buy comics from the comic book shop not only to support my comic shop in general, but so I can check out new titles that I might not have run across any other way. It helps that I can pretty easily afford to hit the comic shop every week.

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
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I love TPBs. They're more portable, more space-efficient, more cost-efficient, and sturdier. They are annoying for two-page spreads, though.

I bought The Unwritten #1 because it was promotionally priced at a dollar, but then, of course, it went back to regular price and I read if off the stands, but then I found that it seemed to require a lot of close reading and would read better in trade anyway, so I stopped. Right now I'm following enough titles that I have one or two titles to read every week and one week a month where nothing I read comes out. I suppose if I bought all the titles I wanted to read, it would come out to twenty-something bucks a month, but my problem is that I like to buy trades, so then I'd be paying for the same issues twice. Which I know people do all the time, but those people probably also like collecting single issues, and that is not a priority for me.
[User Picture]
From:shamoogity
Date:September 18th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
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Manchester Orchestra! I just discovered them. So awesome live. Their keyboardist plays air guitar.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 18th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
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Does he? Awesome! And I read that they're great live too, and they will be playing here THE DAY I GO OUT OF TOWN. I only know the one song, though.
[User Picture]
From:shamoogity
Date:September 19th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
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I saw them open for Silversun Pickups and Cage the Elephant. Really great show. Cage the Elephant was really fantastic live too. SP was just ok, which is weird, because they were the reason I went to the show in the first place.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 19th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Cage the Elephant were...interesting live. I love Silversun Pickups and I've seen them live three times, but I could see how they're only okay.
[User Picture]
From:shamoogity
Date:September 20th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
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Ha ha, yeah, the lead singer was pretty baffling. He grew on me though. I kind of felt as though the rest of the band probably hated him just a bit. He must be rather tiring.

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