Sunday, August 25, 2019

Classical CDs Listened To Recently, August 25, 2019

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Edgar Bergen Show, Starring Marilyn Monroe

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Four 1950s Three Suns EP Covers

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Magazines I've Read Recently, August 14, 2019

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

1954 Ad Announcing the Production of the TV Video Tape Recorder

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Found My Colored Pencils

#FF #IAintBenAnymore
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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Challengers Play The Man From Uncle Theme

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Climax Molybdenum Company

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Recently Read: Comic Shop, by Dan Gearino

Dan Gearino's Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture is a fine addition to recent comics industry history books, a snapshot of the industry at the time it was published, and an addictive read. The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon even supplies an introduction.

Gearino's story starts in the early '60s and, by capturing memories of primary sources, gives a more complete picture of comic shop history than any yet written in book form - especially helpful is his biographical sketch of direct market entrepreneur and all-around advocate for comics Phil Seuling. I would have liked to have learned more about early comics dealers and distributors, though, like Robert Bell for example, and especially the mysterious Schuster brothers and their Irjax/New Media. I'm surprised there weren't more memories accessed from longtime dealer Robert Beerbohm, a veritable fount of retailer experience and knowledge. I do appreciate the inclusion of '70s photographs of the scene.

Comic Shop gives a good summing-up of the mid-'90s comic distribution war, which, while reading it, seems like yesterday. I'd argue the monopoly (effectively, if not legally) Diamond Distributors maintains over the comics industry has not been in retailer's or reader's best interest, but it's probably here to stay until the end of comic shops.

A good section of the book is spent describing shops the opposite of what I prefer as a browser. Hipsterish, bright shops which under emphasize back issues are the future for the industry, I know. What I love are old, dimly lit, crowded shops  that smell of pulp paper and carry a dense treasure trove of artifacts to search through. Shops like these were my earliest memories of buying back issues and are the kind of shops I search for. Gearino intersperses the history of comics retailing with the ups and downs of one particular shop, The Laughing Ogreapplying the microscope to its origins, employees and survival tactics. Anyone considering opening a comic book shop should read these sections, incorporating 
a wealth of advice and caution.

At 250 pages, I think that more could have been written about the '60s-'80s and less about what's happening now. I know that's on me. I was awaiting, for example, the point in the story when retailer Chuck Rosanski discovered what became his Mile High collection, something I'd love to read about in detail, but it's only mentioned in passing. I'm also very interested in learning about early dealer Howard Rogofsky (only mentioned on one page) and I'm surprised retailer Jake 'Buddy' Saunders' censorious conflicts with publisher's subject matter, affecting what was available for purchase in his chain of Lone Star Comics shops, wasn't mentioned (the conflict continues to this day on Saunders' MyComicShop.comwhich recently stopped selling a Garth Ennis horror series).

I understand that my interests in the history of comics retailing differs from others and no one book can completely cover sixty years (and more) of a retail industry. Comic Shop is a good book, a well written book and a needed book. I believe, though, there's more to be researched and written about the subject. Maybe there's an even more expanded version or a sequel in the future. I'd buy it!
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Albanene Tracing Paper

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