Sunday, April 22, 2007

New comic shop in Adelaide

I only discovered that Tony from Adelaide Comic Centre had sold his shop to some new owners. I have no idea who they are - rumours i've heard

  • South Africans
  • a couple of Tony's largest customers
not that it matters.

i checked out the new store and its moved from the dingy John Martin Plaza to a perferct nerd storm vertex next to a Trading Card shop, across from a Movie Madness Memorobilia Store and Gamequest store. Of course this adds a bit of competition to the stores book/poster/card/gimmick sales but this sort of grouping of similar stores tends to increase customer window shopping because it becomes destination shopping. (two furniture stores next door to each other in a small town creates more sales if there were just one or if they were in opposite sides of town).

Anyway, the store itself seems a lot bigger and there is a lack of a fine layer of dust that seems required in a comic shop but it is early days yet. What did piss me off is the "bags by front counter" which i ignore because it simply shits me. I went to find a new issue Birds of Prey and a back issue of Starman #2 or the Kyle Baker Shadow. I couldn't even find the "S" section. Why can't the simple use of the alphabet and dividers be employed? Why can't the backissues of a particular title be ordered by issue number? Simple shit like that is so easy but I can understand chatting about which way Superman's spitcurl should loop is important.

The shop had been there for 2 months and shit was still splayed out everywhere. Sigh.

The Australian comics were in one row alng the bottom in the middle of the shop, still the same issues of Easy Cliches (which i should buy sometime) - the newest books waspleton Experiments #5 (it could have been #6 but i was dazzled by too much stuff). I didn't see to much manga but i wasn't looking that hard.

The store is slightly better than when Tony ran it, which is not that hard.


owen heitmann said...

A guy I know from punk shows told me his uncle owns the shop now. I've been in once; I concur with your points pretty much. My main problem with most comic shops is that they don't have a "Comics Owen will like" section and a "Comics Owen doesn't give a shit about and doesn't want to have to wade through to get to the good stuff" section. I kept my bag on too.

Mark Selan said...

Yes - i think Pete's set up of New for this week, Cool kids (alt/indy), Nerds (superhero), geeks (classy superhero/genre stuff) and manga is a bit more manageable.

Wading seems to MO of most comic shops.

Sometimes when i see 'leave bag by the counter' signs i feel like stealing something for the sake of it.

Danny said...

As opposed to a store that's dark, dank and if the owners or employees don't know you you get treated like shit and generally ignored?

I think you're being highly unfair to both Peter and Michael, but considering that you're aligned with their opposition it doesn't surprise me at all. It's a pity that people can't just put their petty differences aside and just get along, but then Adelaide is a town of bitchy people.

For your information - the new owners are Michael Baulderstone and Peter Spandrino. Two very decent and friendly guys who have a genuine love for all comics. They're still finding their feet and arranging the shop and seriously - if you went in and actually (*gasp*) spoke to them and voinced your opinions they'd listen and take it under consideration. Think about it Mark, I'd have thought you were above this kind of crap.

Mark Selan said...

HAHAHAHA oh Danny thank you making me laugh so hard, i find it most ironic, even straight out crazy funny that you should suggest talking with a business over my concerns rather than blogging about it. Oh seriously, after the shitstorm of your hotel escapade (those outside the loop, danny ended up on A Current Affair after badmouthing a hotel on his blog because he wanted to party in his hotel room on NYE with non-guests), you must be taking the piss!
I would have felt like the biggest twit in the world if i went up and went "Ahem , excuse me, sorry for interrupting your conversation, I've been wandering for about 15 minuyes and wonder, if it is at all possible that you could maybe put your backissue comics in order". Am i given them a hard time? Maybe, i expect a certain level of professionalism in any shop i walk into - according to the sign in the old shop they moved in that new retail space 3 months ago and yet there was no order or rhyme to the layout. MAybe next time i'll start calling people bitch and maybe even shrieking. Casting asperations on the competitors' personalities.

Oh ho ho ho ho, hilarious

I have never heard Peter be rude to anyone, he's probably a lot nicer to new people than anyone else - just look at the effort he puts on for Free Comic Book Day, the comic drink ups where anyone is invited, his work with libraries or the art exhibitions.

And i'm hardly aligned with any comic shop - anymore more so than i buy more comics there and they sell Sureshot Presents. I don't think i was that mean; i don't like the Bag sign, the disorganised back issues or spill of comics covering up a whole shelf. If that turns someone off and they lose a customer, then wow i am powerful. I don't think i'm being highly unfair at all.
Peter and Michael may have a genuine love of comics, but love doesn't make good shops. I think one of the worst things in comics retail is when fans run shops, sometimes it works sometimes it becomes the comic shop from the Simpsons.

thanks for the laugh

Shane Lockwood said...

Before arriving at the Grace Emily (an hour late) Lucas, Jess and I went in to have a look around the new comic store.

We had to get out of PFC because it was CRAM PACKED with people.

The new store was pretty much empty.

I had my trepidations, you know, from having to put up with years of insults from Tony. Insults that I won't taint your blog with (having posted here more than I should've already).

Outside the store we encountered a young friendly guy who turned out to be a friend of Lucas'. He was ultra friendly, happy in a 'Stepford Wives' sort of way.

He told us that he'd dressed up as Batman and that the store was "packed" up until 2:30pm.

I entered the store to see his "Absolute Batman" (which I'd recommend to any serious Batman fan). But I still felt uncomfortable.

We got to the Grace Emily and I told someone what we'd seen and they said:

"Bullshit! We were there at 12:30pm and it was empty!".

Sure, these guys are trying to find their feet, but you just can't compete with good service.

It's not about "my comic store is better than your comic store".

It's about knowing that when you walk into a store, there is a good chance that your bag will be pulled out and a list of it's contents read to you, before you've even had time to say
"Hi Pete!".

As opposed to waiting 15 minutes (on a good day).

It's about knowing that you can SIT DOWN in the store and read a comic without feeling guilty or even insulted.

"Are you gonna buy that?".

While there are things that I am unhappy with at PFC, they are only minor concerns.

As a consumer, I have a right to request good service and to also state when it's clearly lacking.

So, Bravo to you Mark.

"Sometimes when i see 'leave bag by the counter' signs i feel like stealing something for the sake of it."

(Off topic)
When I see "We don't give change for vending machines (or laundromat)" signs it makes me wonder how sane these people really are.

I mean, it's not like they are losing money. How stingy is that?

Anyway, I digress. The new shop is still finding it's feet, as said above, but it'll take time to repair the damage done by it's former owner.

It took Pete time to establish himself and I hope that these guys can do the same.

Danny said...

Gosh you're a bitter person sometimes Mark. For the record: I never mentioned PFC - you're the one who automatically assumes it's the 'dark, dank' store I wrote about. Sad isn't it? For the record I was refering a certain shop in Brisbane - you can do the math from there.

As for the hotel thing...perhaps one day you might want to get the full story, or is it that you believe everything you see that's negative.

As for the bag thing. Mate, if that's the worst thing you can find about a store then jeez...what can I say? Most stores have a bag sign - do you refuse to go into places like Myers or Coles where they check your bags at counters? When I enter any store - including PFC - I drop my bag off as a matter of courtesy. Simple really. The truth is each and every store has it's own quirks - be it PFC, Wally or ACC. There's good and bad in each shop and people will make their own mind up as to which they prefer.

As for the customer service, well it was always going to be hard for Peter and Michael to lose the lables that ACC had left over from Tony - yes, the insults and the rest of that crap that went on. They'll get there, slowly. They can't be expected to know everyone on sight. Mate, I know I can walk into PFC anytime and no-one would know me but I don't get bent out of shape over it.

I do find it kinda disheartening that you feel, act and speak the way you do at times. As I said, I'd have thought you were above that kind of behaviour. You seem very happy to slag anyone off at will when the reality is that we're all working towards the same goals. You've clearly got some issues to work through - hey - I'm more than happy to sit down with you anytime and we'll chat face to face. At least that way you might learn the full story behind the hotel saga.

Mark Selan said...

Shane - yeah i walked past about 3 and it was empty as well. I feel sorry for the guys, Tony sure left a legacy that they'll have to make right.

Danny - first i'm biased, now I'm bitter, my behaviour disheartening and i should work through my issues? Wow - i'm not sure what i've done, give me examples and I'll tell you the true story.

Do i have high standards? yes. will i call people out? yes. And i expect the same back, criticism is useful. We need another good shop in Adelaide.

On a side note - which shop in brisbane; i've been to all of them and can't think which one you refering to.

I'm sorry if i assumed wrong - i'm talking adelaide comic shops, and since we both live in adelaide i wrongly assumed that you were also talking about comic shops in adelaide. I didn't realise that - you were talking in general when i was talking specifics and got confuseded.

i think you are making a really big deal in my comments/review/opinion. the bag thing irked me - i wasn't horribly insulted or inconvenienced - no did i mutter "Never Again Adelaide Comic Store. NEVER AGAIN", just one of those little things that bug me - my blog is littered with examples. I never slagged them off, i never spoke about them personally - or made allusions of their character. The only example of that is by you on me. I just described a disorganised shop where i couldn't find anything - just like most of the comic shops i've been in Australia and California which have bugged me. Disorganised places always shit me. i didn't deal with any of the guys and i didn't make any comments about the level of service, so don't mix Shane's views and mine. It doesn't bother me if i'm just a nameless face.

I want a good comic shop in adelaide, i want 2 or 3 good comic shops in adelaide because that's a good thing for everyone.

Honestly - Danny i've had very little to do with you; we drank together once at the Earl of Aberdeen where you had an argument with Michael D, then i see the hostility around the hotel saga and now this to and fro'. Maybe i'm using a wide brush but you seem to me (from those 3 encounters) rather argumentative. i'm probably wrong and can happily accept coincidence, but colour me wary..

Shane Lockwood said...

Having another comic shop in Adelaide is a good thing. Don't get me wrong.

I heard that they were charging $1 for "free comics" and that they were also charging extra for Buffy cover variants.

Is this true?

I wish the new owners the best of success and I am sure that within, say, 6 months to a year they should be doing really really well for themselves.

They are right next to Kollectable Kaos, Games Workshop, and a sports card shop.

I know that there are efforts to strengthen the relationship between the 3 comic stores and I applaud that.

Who wins? Everyone does.

What is disconcerting to me is that Wally's store seems to be closing early now (even on Fridays) and I don't think was even open on FCBD.

Now that's a worry...

Danny said...

I had an arguement with Michael D? I can't recall that. I know that Michael got stuck into me because he felt it was wrong that I had interviewed American artists instead of himself and that I like Norm Breyfogle as an artist. It was hardly an argument and seriously, I don't recall it at all. Funny thing is, when I was speaking to a very well known Australian artist he asked had I met Michael D. I responded yes and he shook his head and asked did he start a fight with me. I said he might have tried, and the very well known artist proceeded to tell me how he won't take his calls anymore because all he did was phone and complain about everything. Michael is a very talented artist, don't get me wrong, but he had the ability to rub people the wrong way - perhaps he's a different man now. Mind you my bigest complaint on the day - and if you think back you'd recall this - was that he insisted on showing my then girlfriend his porno cartoons and then swearing at her when she said that she had no great affection for such work because to her it wasn't art, it was porn, something I thought was highly inappropriate. Perhaps I got him on a wrong day, but seriously, that's why I never came back - I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. Do you also remember that I bought several copies of your magazine, all of which I've since given away to people around the world to spread your word? If I didn't like you I'd not have done that now would I?

As for the hotel thing, well here's the juice my friend - if I was as bad as they said I was then why wasn't I kicked out? You'd have someone screaming abuse on NYE in a packed hotel? Of course not. Mate, they LIED! Pure and simple. Which is why it went no further when I told ACA to ask for the video footage that they'd surely have (and which they told ACA has been 'misplaced' - lol). I'd have thought you'd have gone past believing everything you see in the media.

No offence, but yes, you do seem hung up on the little things and it does across as you appearing like a bitter man with issues - the same as you see me as being argumentive I guess. To me it's no big deal - I know who I am, as you know who you are. But tell me, when you walked into ACC did they DEMAND that you remove your bag? Did they refuse entrance to you because you wouldn't? Nope. Those signs are mainly there to deter the little tea leaves that haunt all such shops - including PFC (I'm sure). Call it protection of sorts. As for the shop being empty, mate I've walked into PFC many times to see it devoid of customers - not every shop is packed.

The shop in Brisbane, well there are three that I've been to. One was good, the other smelt of kitty litter and the third was dark and dank and we were generally ignored, even after I stood there for a good ten minutes wanting to buy something. I ended up putting it back. Which shop? I'd rather not say in public, but rest assured I won't be going back in a hurry.

Tell you what - let's catch up, have lunch (shit, I'll pay if you want) and we'll hash out some, well, hash!

The other comments - Peter and Michael did not charge anyone for free comics on FCBD. Tony used to charge for them when he owned the shop, something I used to tell him was wrong. Tony used to justify it by saying that he needed to cover the costs of shipping. As for Wally, well he shoved his FCBD material in a box and was letting people take them BEFORE Saturday. Now there's a story for you.