Confessions of an independent bookseller and unrepentant book nerd
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A comic moment
I've had graphic novels even more on the brain than usual since last weekend's SPLAT! symposium at the New York Center for Independent Publishing. Not only did I get to speak on a panel with some of my book industry heroes -- Rocketship owner Alex Cox, Diamond rep John Shableski, PW Comics Week editor Calvin Reid, Jim Killen, the graphic novels buyer for Barnes & Noble, and freelancer/friend/fellow geek Evan Narcisse -- I also got to listen to Scott McCloud wax poetic with guys from the superhero and manga worlds, AND sit in on Brian Wood's session on place in graphic novels (where he talked about, among other things, using Park Slope in his Local series).
Favorite quote from Scott McCloud: "For years it was like we were beating a dead horse with this comics thing, just beating it and insisting 'no, there's life in that horse!' And then one day the horse opened its eyes and got up! And then SEVEN THOUSAND HORSES came running over the hill!" It's a great, funny metaphor for the sudden rise to prominence of my favorite genre/format/medium/category, and it was a thrill to be around so much good energy about it.
So, the ALP is always bugging me to read Comic Book Resource, which is where he gets all his good comic book info, and finally this week I went to the site. Because I'm lazy I was hoping for an RSS feed, so I wandered to the site's blog, Comics Should Be Good (an admirable notion, right?). And the blog had a link to a piece in Bookforum about Rocketship, which is really my favorite local comic shop. Amid the info about how Alex Cox and Mary Gordon founded and run the shop (which should be a how-to for anyone wanting to open a contemporary bookstore: cater to your local clientele! make it friendly! do events! support artists! make room for strollers! know your books! quality over quantity!) was this surprising bit of info:
"A 2007 Village Voice readers poll named Rocketship the best comics-book store in New York (this, among some seventy). "
Dude, there are SEVENTY comic shops in New York?!? That's like, more than all of the other bookstores I know of in the city put together. I know of maybe half a dozen comic shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan -- apparently that's less than a tenth of what's out there.
I am the co-proprietor of Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood with the ALP (Adorably Literate Partner), who reads everything that I don't. Here, I'd like to write some strictly personal thoughts about books I've read.