Strange days indeed!
So, i heads off to Crazy Al's comic store down in The Mission, only to find on arrival that he's been evicted(!?!) and will have to move from his current storefront at the end of this month... and like all San Franciscans ...what do we do when we get a kick in the teeth? Why we throw a party, of course! As Al himself said to me yesterday, "If i don't have a new space lined up, it'll be a wake, if i do it'll be more like a roast" (7.00 pm Monday Jan. 30th at the store - 491 Guerrero St. SF). Al's been at his current space since '89, and was the first comic shop i ever went to in SF, and to top it of, he's as nice a guy as you'd ever meet. If you live in the Bay Area and want to help out, you can get more info at his website (www.alscomicssf.com).
GHOST MANOR #13 or here too!
Al was also the bearer of even sadder tidings - it seems that Gary Arlington (owner and proprietor of long running The San Francisco Comic Book Store, and #1 EC Fan-Addict of all time, bar NONE!) has run into some very serious health problems, has closed the store under the exigent circumstances. From my limited understanding of the situation, he's currently in Laguna Honda Hospital recoving, so any get well wishes should go to him there. Also, it is with a certain sense of pride and humbleness that i wish to thank Ron (Last Gasp) Turner, for quickly stepping in and picking up the pieces in the aftermath. Ron - You are a saint - thank you for this act of caring and kindness, you are truly a star in my book!
So that just goes to show you, just when you think your life sucks... things could ALWAYS get worse..... ALWAYS! So it would seem that the universe will gently remind us of what's important just when it's needed.... i guess that's a good thing, right? Sometimes i can get to hatin' this town, with its glacial cool and hipper-than-thou B.S., but
sometimes i just LOVE this crazy city we San Franciscans humbly call "The City"... but it's more the people that call this place home that really ring my bell.
GHOST MANOR #15 or here too!
Three other things of interest (in no particular order)
1 - Grumpy jerks that run comic stores can kiss my lily white ass : i recently went to a local comic emporium after seeing online that they had a sale going on..... so i go there (which i usually don't, because the head honcho and his #1 off-sider pretty much treat you like sh*t if you're not buying what they read - hipster redux only - Gaiman, Ellis, Vertigo... you know all that "cool" stuff... just go in there and start talking about Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko and watch them start rolling their eyes.... and i've talked to many of their EX-customers, and it's not just me) - so i go there, drop a substantial amout of money (over $100) and get treated like sh*t! In other words, we hate you, but we'll take your money is the prevailing attitude. Well "dudes", i got two little words for you JERKS - and they are CUSTOMER SERVICE! Return business is your BEST business, therefore visible condescention is probably NOT a good idea..... and since the comic industry is just BOOMING right now, you won't mind if you never see me (or my money) ever again. Ever. Never ever. If you losers had the LAST comic store in SF, i would get on the train and go to the East Bay, that's how much i love you guys.... as counterpoint, when i was at Al's, some very loyal customers came in with some leads on new spaces... that's what happens when you're nice to people... they're usually nice back... as Stan "The Man" sez - "Nuff said!
GHOST MANOR #16 or here too!
2 - You never know your luck in the big city : As i was walking past a bar this morning (i probably have spent way to much time in my younger days at the "Early Opener", so i still have a soft spot for bars that open at 6.00 am.... now THAT'S customer service)... anyway, as i walk up to the entrance, a guy walks out with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other, looks up at me and offers me ( a TOTAL stranger) the hot one (at 8.45 in the am no less!), which i tactfully declined (as one does), but still, it was the thought that counts, not to mention the fact that i can't think of too many other American cities that are as... uh... "relaxed", shall we say, as San Francisco!
GHOST MANOR #17 or here too!
3 - i know that's it's been said over and over "Don't hate the players, hate the game" but if it's OK with everyone, i'll continue have a deep loathing for both... after all, would there even be any "games" without "players"? i think not. Without the support of individuals, any (and all) abstract structures cease to exist except as a potential. This applies uniformly to almost every example i can think of.
GHOST MANOR #19 or here too!
Oh yeah... i should say something about comic books, right? Well, let's see.... i was cheered to see some comics on the magazine rack at my local 7-11, which made me very happy, and i also saw a spinner rack (remember those anyone?) at the Virgin Megastore, so maybe all is not lost.
HAUNTED #1 or here too!
Now, about these books up here, what can i say... Primo Ditko (especially Haunted #1, an all-Ditko ish) plus more of the same...
Look, i promise next time that i'll excuse you from my mundane day to day dramas and gripes and try to be a good little comicologist, but sometimes the real world is gonna bleed through the membrane, and you get to see the mess... i am a real 3 dimensional type person who (fortunately or unfortunately) has a life, with all the travails and complexities that come along as baggage... and if we can't have a little vent now and then... well, let's say it could get ugly and leave it at that.
all i know right now is that's it's nice to be nice, and the world is a weirder, kinder and more wonderful place that we'll ever comprehend... heck... these lyrics by Alan Price from the theme song for Lindsay Anderson's WONDERFUL film "Oh, Lucky Man!" (one of my all-time faves) starring old Alex himself, Mr. Malcolm McDowell... well, they sum it up better than i could about now....
"If you have a friend on whom you think you can rely
You are a lucky man!
If you've found the reason to live on and not to die
You are a lucky man!
Preachers and poets and scholars don't know it
Temples and statues and steeples won't show it
If you've got the secret just try not to blow it
Stay a lucky man! A lucky man!
If you've found the meaning of the truth in this old world
You are a lucky man!
If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls instead of chains
You are a lucky man!
Takers and fakers and talkers won't tell you
Teachers and preachers will just buy and sell you
When no one can tempt you with heaven or hell
You'll be a lucky man!
You'll be better by far to be just what you are
You can be what you want if you are what you are
And that's a lucky man!
Oh yeah, a lucky man!
And that's a lucky, a lucky, a lucky man!
A lucky, a lucky, a lucky man!"
HAUNTED #2 or here too!
...so sometimes i need to get hit on the head as a reminder, but when i stop to think about it...
i am forced to realize that i am indeed, a very lucky, lucky man....
HAUNTED #3 or here too!
lots of love from that strange attractor, weirdo magnet and king of the freaks,
hyper dave (the datajunkie)
So, how are your folks?