Perspective: How Truly “Inclusive” Can These Oregon Comic Shops Be?


The Eugene Weekly gushes over the opening of a specialty store in the Oregonian city that puts a big emphasis on social justice pandering:


The comic book market is changing, says Andrea Gilroy, owner and operator of Books with Pictures, which opened in early March in downtown Eugene. It’s a sister store to a Portland comic shop of the same name.

What’s changed, Gilroy says, is inclusion. Although sales of traditional comics have slumped — think Spidey and X-Men — the overall market has grown, driven primarily by graphic novels, which are more diverse in terms of gender and sexual identity.

That diversity is what Books with Pictures is all about, she says.

“We carry all the cool stuff,” says Gilroy, who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a degree in comparative literature and a dissertation focused on comics and identity.

That includes superhero comics and more, she says. “We want to pay special attention to folks who often feel uncomfortable in more traditional geek and nerd spaces, especially women, LGBTQ folks and kids.

“I curate the stock to reflect that everyone is welcome and deserves to see themselves in stories,” Gilroy adds. “We are very intentional and explicit in this inclusive message, because enough folks have been damaged by the more toxic elements of gatekeeping. I don’t think just being passively inclusive is good enough anymore.”


Naturally, this is quite a laugh for anybody who’s a realist. Any and every specialty store can sell items like those, and has for many years now. The market changed years ago. And how odd the manager of this store chooses to complain of gatekeeping, when that’s exactly what their fellow leftists in publication are doing now, banishing as many conservatives as possible (Chuck Dixon, Ethan Van Sciver, Jon Malin), with more expected to be thrown under the bus in time. The store managers are clearly imitating the right-wingers and other anti-PC advocates using the term, without doing much to prove they’re also opposed to PC.


Bestsellers at the store since opening reflect diversity. There are usual suspects, like Batman, but also Dana Simpson’s fantastic series Phoebe and Her Unicorn, John Lewis’ graphic novel memoir March and The Adventure Zone series.

“But our single bestselling book is Maia Kobabe’s fantastic memoir Gender Queer,” Gilroy says.


Batman a usual suspect, you say? Based on all the observations I’ve made of recent on how the Masked Manhunter is being built up ad nauseum in the wider medium, at the expense of almost any and every comic with a brighter, more optimistic viewpoint, I gotta say, that sounds pretty accurate. It also suggests quite a bit about the people buying it at the moment, despite having assigned writers who’re no better than Brian Bendis, of recent assigned to Superman.


Anyway, if they want to open a specialty store geared to certain “niche” genres, so be it, but it’s ludicrous how they’re damning “nerds” and “geeks”, or acting as though women really like this particular stuff they emphasize, or believe kids should be reading these particular themes at a young age. Indeed, noticing the part about kids being a coveted segment, one has to wonder if they actually do provide stuff that’s suitable for children when there’s such a heavy emphasis on LGBT themes. One sure thing, they can’t be expected to sell material aimed at right-wingers so easily.
And if not, why bother saying it’s for all?
Originally published here.

Avatar photo

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1