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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Proprietor James Sime & the Isotope Staff
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Saturday, July 16, 2005
Hey, Nora here. It's another beautiful day at the Isotope. Sean and I are hanging out, chatting with customers, putting up some new featured shelf items, and wondering why more good artists don't team up with good writers instead of going at it themselves. I cringe in anticipation of joining that stereotype-- assuming that first qualification will ever fit. :)
Further frustration due to the fact that my iPod won't hook up to the iBook here, meaning that I'm having to sift through James's playlists. This is no disrespect to James, but when I want to hear KRS-One, I can accept no substitutes. We spent yesterday having an awesome Michael Jackson and blues/jazz marathon with the satellite radio. I've spent the morning so far flipping through Wanted (good stuff), helping customers, and talking with the DJ about tonight.
It's funny, working retail at a comic store, especially one with as nice a vibe to upkeep as the Isotope, I find that talking about comics all day isn't anything like a strain for me. I've never been too much of a rabid fangirl (Ellis and Harmon notwithstanding), but I always loved chewing the fat about my favorite titles. And now, it's like someone's paying me (well, in spiritual capital) to talk about my favorite stories all day long. As if they were saying, "Tell me why you love your favorite band. And then go tell that guy over there. And then that girl. And feel that rush when they're just as excited about it as you are. Spread your particular brand of insanity." It's a great way to spend the day. You meet so many different kinds of people, all into comics for different reasons, and you start to realize what you look like from behind the counter. You see yourself as one of those people, pulled into comics by a specific gravity that is particular to you. They usually fall under the heading of "I love reading them" or "I love looking at the art" or "I can't wait to see where my favorite character is going"-- but people who come into the shop seem to see you as the gatekeeper to all of these worlds, and if you appreciate them as well, if you can talk to them about those worlds... it's fabulous.
Somehow the counter makes me feel less inhibited about sharing my love of comics with everyone who comes in the door. They're here for the same thing that I am. And I realize that a lot more fully now that I've seen how many kinds of people fit that description. Or maybe it's that I'm finally starting to realize why you would open a shop like this, what it means to be a fan AND a retailer, and how you could hardly be anything else. Or maybe, lastly, it's the feeling of seeing how all the roles overlap, like a shifting kaleidoscope: the comics creator who stays up nights cleaning her pen nibs with a toothbrush in the sink and playing god with the panel layouts; the retailer who opens up shop in the morning, letting the sun stream in the windows and handing customers a book that makes their eyes light up; the customer who comes into the store and searches out the issue she's been salivating over for weeks, then spends half the afternoon there looking at what her friends picked up and shooting ideas back and forth with the staff.
It could be that I'm just waxing rhapsodic because it's sunny outside and things here are going well. It's just that there's so much more to enjoy about running this store than having the keys to a swank place with curvy red walls.