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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 

Wolverhampton store manager sugarcoats reality

The Wolverhampton Express & Star spoke with the manager of a local comics store who doesn't acknowledge reality:
We’re speaking to Scott, aged 40 from Wednesfield, in Wolverhampton’s Forbidden Planet, aka Mecca. It’s two floors of comics, action figures, T-shirts, toys and everyone from seven-year-old Doctor Who fans to Twilight tweens and 60-something Spider-Man veterans.

“Of the 52 weeks of the year, I’d say I was in Forbidden Planet for 50 of them,” laughs Scott, the assistant manager at The Works in Wolverhampton. “I’m still buying them obsessively.

“I have thousands at home. I got rid of some and invested in hardbacks – in a bid to look a little bit more like an adult – but you still can’t move for comics and memorabilia in my house.

“I appreciate it on a different level now though. You appreciate the stories, the design. There’s a recognition for the work of the likes of Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction, they have a massive international following. Comics are rock and roll now, look at Way and Ian and Hill.
Another store manager who acts as though the business is booming, and thinks Fraction and Hickman are popular and have popularized the mainstream. But low sales, even overseas, contradict this.

And which stories do we appreciate? The older products, yes, but newer ones like Fraction and Hickman's nonsense, no. Sometimes the design - presumably the art - can't be appreciated either.
And the hitherto geeky image of the comic book collector?

“I think it’s changing. Superheroes are cool now – look at the big blockbuster movies these days. There’s also lots more female fans and characters and that’s great to see. People have this misconception of Captain Sweatpants from Big Bang but it’s not like that. Honest!”
The image has not improved, and he may not be helping it either if he collects the works of Brian Bendis, Dan Slott, Geoff Johns, along with some of the other names he mentioned. There may be more women reading comics, but I'm guessing a lot of them are more interested in manga and comics that don't come from DC/Marvel.
And Scott thinks people’s love for comic books and superheroes boils down to one all-important factor.

“It’s the escapism, isn’t it? It’s an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of the real world. You can lose yourself in these fantastic worlds and characters.
Yes, that part is right. But if it's modern mainstream output, it doesn't amount to escapism at all, and they don't clarify that part.

Some store managers can be the most disappointingly superficial people on the subject.

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Whistling in the dark.

As a Btir I think I need to clarify the article for some international readers.

Scott is not the manager of a comic book shop, he is a customer of the comic book shop.

The article state he it the manager of a shop called The Works. The Works are a chain of discount book and art supplies shops. Forbidden Planet is the comic book shop he visits.


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