Northern New York 360 reports that a comics store in Oswego is closing as the owner retires, and this time, it doesn’t look like she’s even going to continue selling online, unlike a couple in Phoenix:
Arlene Spizman has learned her Ecclesiastes.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.”
Her Comic Shop is closing. She is retiring after 27 years in a business she came to almost as an afterthought, a sideline that became the main event, in a historic building on the city’s eastside, that has created its own history now over generations.
“I’m getting older. I’ve got grandkids on the West Coast, and I don’t want to be restricted in my ability to go visit them,” she said of her decision to close.
“Retail sales being what they are in this day and age, it’s time.
“I think if you talked to any person who is in retail, they would say, ‘yes, of course,’ everybody shops online nowadays. That’s just the way it is now.” Things change.
But she feels people are reading comics as much as they ever were. “The industry is still strong. That’s not a problem.
“I accomplished what I wanted to do here in Oswego with my shop,” she said. “I gave people a nice alternative store that they could go to, and I have a lot of great memories, and I’ve made a lot of great friends. I feel like I raised a generation of kids. It’s time.”
But why did she get into the industry in the first place? This is the stunner:
She’s grown to be a big fan of comic books over the years. “I wasn’t when I opened the store, but I am now. I was selling antiques, and I got a lot of comics from houses that way, and people were coming in just for the comics and buying them, and it was a good time to jump into the industry because (SPOILER ALERT) Superman had just died, and I decided to try that for a while. And it’s been very successful, and I’m very happy with it.”
I’ve wondered before, and will again: what kind of people are these, who think the alleged demise of a famous creation is perfect reason to enter the business? To me, this is a real groaner, especially when you consider what a negative impact the Death & Return of Superman had on the speculator market, with some collectors doing what they could to hoard tons of related issues in hopes it’d be worth trillions some day, and nobody considered the likelihood that, if the story inside the cover was pretentious and dreadful, it could actually decrease the value in the long run. If the lady got into selling the medium based on a publicity stunt that led into an even worse publicity stunt (Emerald Twilight), it dampens the impact of how dedicated they are to the medium.
Closing, she said, “is very bittersweet, it is. I love it. I’ve met some wonderful people, made a lot of good friends. I feel like I’ve raised a lot of kids, but it’s my time. My original customers are bringing their kids in now.
I hope they’re bringing them to buy books that are suitable for kids. I’d strongly advise them not to buy much of modern Marvel/DC, what with where they’ve gone for over a quarter century. Though even some of IDW’s so-called kiddie comics aren’t suitable for them, if we take Jem & The Holograms as an example.
As she said in her farewell essay sent out to many and posted on her store’s Facebook page, “Many of you who know me are aware that I have a 4-year-old granddaughter who lives on the west coast. In June I will be a grammy again. I need to be able to spend time with these little ones so I can teach them about how responsible Wonder Woman is, how cooperative Superman is, and what a good citizen Batman is.”
Any chance she’d be willing to teach them how irresponsible, uncooperative and what bad citizens the DiDio-led staff running the store where the famous Trinity is published are by contrast? Sure, the characteristics of these superheroes are something we could learn to aspire to, but if we don’t study the MO of the people behind the scenes, we’re not learning enough. I think it’s sad another store’s shutting down, but it’s regrettable if the motivations for getting into the business were based on ludicrous events, and I believe it’s far better to enter based on genuine dedication to the best the medium can offer, not on negative elements.
Originally published here.