Don’t Be That Guy: Retailer Edition
I understand that this is the internet. I do. If you give absolutely anyone the ability to say absolutely anything with complete anonymity, some individuals will inevitably develop a sort of internet Tourette’s and start shouting out insults, sexually explicit comments, and whatever else pops into their head. It’s not surprising, or notable, or anything besides the nature of the medium, and I understand that.
But you know what I don’t understand? Actual comic book retailers at major stores who post things like this on their business Twitter:
The real problem with this isn’t that one individual is saying inappropriate, idiotic things, because that is every single day on the internet, times a million. The problem here is that this is a major retailer using his public web presence to announce to the world that all of the worst, ugliest caricatures of comic book guys are absolutely true.
It’s not an isolated incident, either. A recent “Market Report” at the Larry’s Comics website announced that “everybody loves Lesbo Batwoman,” and another gleeful Twitter update anticipated the new “Detective Comics” with a typical level of class:
When another user took issue with the use of the word “lesbo,” saying “What year is it?” the Larry’s Comics twitter — thinking the man was Iranian, as he had set his location to Tehran in an effort to confuse censors of Iranian protestors — replied: “I live in America, a free country. We can say what the f–k we want. You live in a douchebags police state. Sleep tight... watch out for scuds f–ko. I’m off to the mall and MCDOnalds f–k face.”
Aside from the fact that the updates are so riddled with spelling and formatting errors that understanding them requires a guesswork akin to translation; aside from fact that this sort of behavior is so wildly unprofessional that most normal people in normal businesses would face disciplinary action for it — or worse — it’s also a prime example of the outdated attitudes that help keep comics marginalized as a niche interest.
This is the sort of thing that scares off new readers hesitant to step into comic shops because they think they’re the exclusive tree-forts of anti-social, mouth-breathing freaks. This is what scares women away — as both customers and employees — and also in life outside the comic book store, in case you were still puzzling over the absence of females who are not two-dimensional or cast in resin.
Not to mention that fact that it reduces one of the most fascinating new characters in comics to little more than a sex toy, rather than the complex, sympathetic, and terrifying hero that Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams are developing.
Professional behavior like this isn’t normal, it isn’t cool, and anyone who cares about the future of comics should be shaking their head in embarrassment that a prominent member of the community is acting this way, because we are better than this — or at least, we need to be.