September 16th, 2009

Tea or poison?

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. 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.