Friday, December 19, 2008

The Cliques: The Hero-Clix Gang

So I thought I'd start another series to talk about the groups of people that would congregate in our fair store. It'll pad out the narrative as well as give people the opportunity to compare and see if any similarities lie within their own groups.

Before I get to it, I will say I'm surprised that I have 7 followers, but a little dismayed to find people so adverse to commenting. I know it's easier to read-n-run, but when you comment you really let me know there's someone else out there. Plus, it'll give you guys a chance to connect and maybe start discussions amongst yourselves.

Which brings me to a new point. As things wind down (as they eventually will. I have the ending posts pretty mapped out so in my mind we're kinda closer to the end than to the beginning) I'm thinking of starting a new blog/forum based around the industry called something like "Comics Suck". It'll basically be a big bitchfest. Now, I don't think comics suck. I actually told a smoking fox French study partner that I was on the upper floor of Barnes & Noble wrapping up "Civil War". How can I be such a mack? Practice. Plus, I went to Urban Outfitters recently and saw some cool little Mighty Marvel Mugs. So I still like the culture of comics, especially the part about how if you look somewhat normal (ie under 450 lbs, somewhat washed and fashionable) that no one blinks an eye when you let your nerd out. Thank you, "The OC"! But I do think there's a ton of crappy comic stores, customers, and Diamond is still out there making lives miserable so there's room for a spin-off. I swear I'll never know how Diamond built an empire on being a bloated, inefficient middle-man.

Back to the point: every Friday night our shop would host Hero-Clix tournaments. Hero-Clix is a collectible miniatures game that came out in 2002. It's tiny little plastic figures of comic characters with stats on the dial and powers to modify what they can do and you battle it out. And even though I disparaged it earlier on my customer complaint on the Mole-Man... I gotta say, it's kinda fun. Me and my buddy (the cokehead) got into it when it first came out, and even stayed at the store until the wee early hours of the morning playing it. And this was the summer when we hung out with the college girls in their off-campus apartment watching them get drunk on Arbor Mist and going to free radio concerts. Ahhhh, the summer of '02. Why did you ever have to end?

Even back-er to the point: A series of regulars would go to these games. And despite being held on Friday nights, these were generally the most normal gamers of the bunch. I geniunely liked a lot of these people. Now the bad apples were superbad, but most of them were cool, like outside of comic shop cool, even!

There was a guy I'll call D-Rock ('cause someone else did) who was built kind of like a pro wrestler. He was tall, blond and athletic. But most appealing of all was his natural sense of ease and good-naturedness. He just exuded a confidence rarely seen in our neurotic little world. He made frequent jokes, chewed tobacco and married an Asian nurse.

His sidekick and the guy that ran the tournaments I'll call D-Rock Jr, because he was shorter, skinnier and still blond. The big boy from New York didn't really like him because he thought he was smug and caustic. I dunno, I got along fine with him.

There was another guy I'll call McEnroe because he once grew out his curly brown locks into a McEnroe-like 'fro. He was in his late 20s and divorced, and talked about his ex-wife a lot, which was weird. He was a decent looking guy. He also seemed baked out of his mind every minute of every day. He later moved and I have no idea what happened to him. Never got confirmation that he smoked more weed than Seth Rogen, either.

A guy that recently emailed me is someone I'll call Shogun. He was a comic customer first, and would bring his young son in when he picked up books. Now normally, I can't stand kids. Oh I can be civil, but I recognize that at least right now they're not for me. However, this little guy was pretty cute, I admit. He would sing "Ain't No Sunshine" and would run around the store. All of this is making me seem about as normal and manly as Pee-Wee Herman, but trust me. The kid was awesome. If you didn't laugh at him, a part of your soul undoubtedly has died.

I've mentioned Sack Ofshitskin (I ironically encouraged him into playing rather than just collecting) and Mole-Man. There was another troublemaker I'll call Dickhead. Dickhead was disliked by everybody, not really for any big reason, just little, small, subtle ones. He just carried himself in a very dickhead manner. He was in his early 30s, paunchy, and had a perfectly cute fiancee that no one could understand the attraction was. D-Rock joked that he should sleep with her just to spite Dickhead. He should've.

Ponytail had a life that was either the greatest or the worst. I had actually met him back when the Star Wars CCG was popular almost 10 years ago. He had a cute, goth-ish girlfriend who went to a local college. He had a ponytail and worked at Michael's, the craft store. Sarcastro would kind of give him a hard time, but Ponytail seemed to take it well. Before I knew it, he disappeared and my apathy remained. He returned when Hero-Clix took off and came back with a stunning blond girl. And when I say she was an 8, I mean an 8 in the real world. Not an 8 in the comic world, which would be a 4 in the real world. She was thin with a nice body, blond, and a pretty face. And for some reason she was devoted to Ponytail. The guy that wrote an 8-part movie epic involving Atlantis and evoking "Tango & Cash". The guy that ran out to puke on the sidewalk on several occasions. She would fight with him and sit next to him on Friday nights as he played miniature games. Ponytail lived at home. Past 30. I have no indication to believe he might have moved out. He apparently has an 11-inch penis that dispenses Arbor Mist and new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy".

There were some odds and ends. There was one guy with a super-southern accent but actually said some clever things, so it taught me never to judge someone by their cover. No it didn't. The last guy was the first guy to run the tournaments. I shall call him Unibrow Johnson, and I shall get to him later. He was the guy that "bought" the store.

So there they were. These brave champions of Friday night, that would battle until 10 at night. These men with cute girlfriends and normal social lives. Some things are just a mystery, man. Some things are just a mystery.


creature said...

Diamond got big simply by outlasting everyone else in the game. Capital City, Marvel/Friendly Franks, whoever, they just out lived them sadly. I always liked dealing with the Capital City reps more then Diamond when I worked at a shop.

It's kind of sad when you think about it, Marvel fucked over the industry and Diamond won. I have to wonder what would happen if some major book distributor came into the comics arena and got DC or Marvel to sign with them, and maybe got a couple of the other biggies to sign with them, would Diamond just blow away in the wind?

Seethe Rogers said...

I remember our Diamond rep was literally never there. I ended up talking to other people more than the one assigned to us. Until your post I had blocked that out.

Maybe I'm dumb and/or a bad memory-haver, but I can't seem to understand why Marvel and DC (the major companies, at least) couldn't just start small shipping divisions and ship directly to the stores, lowering prices for everyone and thusly, hopefully, selling more stock as a result. I seem to remember that store owners voted against the ability to send books back like how most stores send back magazines and books.

Is this ringing a bell with anyone, or have I gone Joker crazy?

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