Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Annoying Store Owner
Michael Tierney, owner of Collector's Edition in Arkansas, is a man who has always annoyed me. His Trendwatcher write-ups in the ever-shrinking Comics Buyer's Guide and letters in the same place have made him seem like a reluctant moral crusader who is out to protect children from upsetting comic books (which is, when it gets down to it, the parent's job). Granted, since parents are lazy and since comic books have a bad history when it comes to "harmful matter" and children, some may see Tierney's advice and wisdom as a blessing. I differ.
In the December 2009 issue of Comics Buyer's Guide Tierney is once again featured in the CBG Trendwatchers section. Apparently he was profiled by his "state" newspaper. This brought him all kinds of publicity, which is great for a store owner. What really filled his heart with wholesome glee, however, was the parents.
"Most gratifying were all the parents," he wrote, "who came in to thank me for my efforts to provide them better content information. I felt like The Hulk on the cover of Incredible Hulk #279, where he's carried on the shoulders of a cheering crowd." I think that swelled head makes him more like the Leader, but I'll grant him his small victory. After all, he is in Arkansas and those people probably need someone to tell them what is safe to read.
When I managed Comic Castle I often had parents asking me what was "safe" for their children. I would give recommendations, but only after saying something like, "Well, I don't know your child, or even how mature he or she is. I can recommend some titles and tell you why I recommend them, but you need to look at what I'm recommending before you buy it because you know your child better than I do."
Parents seemed to appreciate that, and I had parents turn down Uncanny X-Men but at the same time pick up The Filth. (The mother who did that said she did so because the violence in the Marvel title seemed exploitive and there for no other reason then that's what heroes did, while the Vertigo title at least had a story with substance behind it. Interesting, as I enjoyed both titles.) I didn't feel like a crusader or hero, though. I was just doing my damn job. Tierney, it seems, likes his role as a moral barometer, and based on the recommendations he often gives, I would say he's knows what's safe if only because he is very familiar with boring.
I have never stepped foot in either of the man's stores, and probably never will. If the man runs his shops like I think he does, you will find nothing all that thought provoking or even erotic. It's his store. He doesn't have to stock those kinds of titles. They exist, however, and some comic book fans like them. Again, he may stock those types of things, but I strongly suspect that Vertigo and a few indie titles are about as thought provoking as he gets. (I doubt he ever carried Skinheads in Love, for example, but I could be wrong.)
Thanks for keeping America's children safe, Mr. Tierney. All the mouth-breathing parents sure appreciate it.