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Monday, July 16, 2007

Five Questions from Roger Green -- You can also view this at Roger's blog, but I wanted to get these up here as well: Five questions for me written by Roger.

1. When you tell people that you do criticism of comic books, and they giggle or say something inane, after you sock them in the jaw, what quick-and-dirty response do you give to explain that comics are worthy of serious exploration?

Maybe I only tell people that already know or respect me, because I can't remember ever feeling I have to justify comics being worthy of criticism.

2. You used to listen to Q-104 in the day, didn't you? If you did, explain to someone who never heard it why it was such a great station? (And if you didn't, why the heck not?!)

I did. I think what made it a great station was the sense that the DJs had some input into what music they were playing. The closest I think any station in the Albany area comes these days to that era is probably WEQX.

3. You've been writing about customer service, et al., in comic book stores. How would FantaCo have fared?

I don't remember anyone ever being anything other than friendly and helpful at FantaCo, except maybe toward the very, very end of its run, when unfamiliar faces were manning the cash registers. Not a week goes by that I don't wish the store was still there, so that's got to count for something.

4. How many FantaCo publications did you own, and how many do you still have?

Whoo. At one point I probably had 75 percent or more of them -- I bought all the Hembeck, Chronicles, Gates of Eden and stuff like that. The horror magazines/books never really appealed to me. I still have most of the Chronicles, which I find to hold up really well, and Gates of Eden #1, which more than anything really takes me back to those days, when it seemed like anything was possible in comics. Kind of like now, except back then there was far less evidence.

5. Beside the counterfeit Cerebus story, what are two or three of your fondest FantaCo memories?

The first day I shopped there, I was 15 years old and my family had just moved back to upstate New York after living in Florida for most of the 1970s. When I told whoever was working that day (might have been Mitch and Raoul?) that FantaCo was the first place I wanted to go when we got back in New York, and that FantaCo had seemed like Mecca to me from the ads I saw in comics, I was more or less treated like royalty.

Also: Being amazed that cartoonist Raoul Vezina had to work in the shop; I thought he'd be living it up off the huge profits from SMILIN' ED COMICS. Little did I know what the realities of comics were!

Also: The copy of World War III Illustrated (#1 or 2, I would guess) that I had in my pile when I checked out on my first visit in 1981, only to find somehow I left it behind in the store. It would be nearly two decades before I crossed paths again with the work of Peter Kuper.

Also: Seeing Wendy and Richard Pini at a signing there and being surprised at how normal they were. It was as if the people who made comics were just, you know, people.

Also: The copy of Metroland I would always grab from the left side of the door on my way out every week; FantaCo is gone, but Albany's free alternative newsweekly is still chugging along. I wish I was still picking it up at FantaCo every week!

Thanks, Roger!

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