Wednesday, August 4 will go down in history for me, personally, for a couple of reasons. First, Proposition 8 was overturned, which gave me a little renewed hope for mankind. And even more hope for my lavish Star Wars-themed wedding where George Lucas himself walks me down the aisle, and all the straight people I’ve ever bought wedding gifts for give me a mountain of presents. So, you know…yay!
Wednesday was also new comic book day, of course, and I was very much looking forward to Brightest Day, since I heard a rumor that something actually happens.
I was also dying to see the “bathtub scene” in Secret Six that everyone was talking about on Twitter. So, with hope in my heart and comic book cash in my pocket, I marched into my local comic shop where my comic book guy was yelling at his kid, a girl I would guess is around 12 or 13. It’s not unusual for the kids to be there after school. I gathered up my loot, while he continued to yell at…then SLAP the girl. Right there. In front of me.
Now, I am no fan of children. That’s been well-documented by the media and local authorities. And most of my restaurant and airline experiences are ruined by parents who have no control over their kids. But I am completely freaked out on many levels here. First, don’t hit your kid. Second, don’t hit your kid at work. Third, don’t hit your kid at work in front of me, a customer. From what I could tell out of the corner of my eye, the girl was stunned, and comic book guy went back to helping customers.
Suddenly, I felt completely ridiculous standing there, holding comic books, while a tween was nearby nursing a hand print on her face. What the hell?! I don’t know what happened prior to me entering the shop, nor do I know what she said or did or what the yelling was about. Even if she had been doing something completely insane, I can’t think of a single reason for him to hit her like that. Or hit her at all! I have no idea what the context was. Maybe she was angry that Prop 8 got overturned and he smacked her. Would I condone or understand that?
Reading my books later, I was highly aware of the disconnect I felt towards the violence in comics versus how I felt seeing that girl get slapped. The violence in comics is so much more graphic, sure, but I yawn and turn the page. Whereas this slap is still bothering me almost 24 hours later.
I want to be 100% clear here that I’m NOT talking about Sexy Comics Monger, of whom I talk about often on the site. He’s my East Coast comic book guy and has never exhibited any violent tendencies, at least not around me. No, the hitting guy is my West Coast comic book guy. He’s even my second West Coast comic book guy, because my first West Coast comic book guy was a total homophobe. So, what the heck is wrong with West Coast comic book guys?!
In hindsight, I wish I had just dropped my books and left. Stunned, I just paid, avoided small talk and left in a hurry. However, as soon as I left I told myself I would never go back. Needless to say, the experience ruined whatever hopeful mood I was in just moments before and left me feeling very queasy about the whole thing.
I always thought geeks were supposed to be incapable of, or least somehow above, this kind of behavior. But with the pen stabbing at Comic-Con and now this, I’m beginning to worry. So…what would you have done? Would you ever go back? Would you talk to the guy? Would you call the police? Am I being too sensitive? Seriously, I’m at a loss here.