C4P34 – Swept – MOKO Press presents: LeyLines, a Fantasy Adventure Comic by Robin Childs Skip to content
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C4P34 – Swept

C4P34 – Swept published on 39 Comments on C4P34 – Swept

Mizha took a pretty Damsel-in-Distress role for the first portion of this train debacle. She’s not a physical fighter. She has no training, little physical strength, but in her own dreams, in the right state of mind, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Got involved in a discussion on Twitter about how brick-and-mortar comic stores could be made more “girl friendly”. My response was A) Clean, well-light, and well-organized, and B) staff that I don’t have to “prove” myself to. Lots of people weighed in, and it was a really interesting discussion with some really cool ideas (my favorite was “Ladies Night”). I was wondering what the ladies in my audience thought. What makes a store “friendly”?

39 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Aw yeah, Mizha! It’s your time to shine!

I think friendly service definitely makes a visit to a store an excellent experience 🙂 That’d be my number one.

Go Mizha!

As for comic book stores…well, I’d really love a dedicated section to Indie and even local comic creators. When I walk into stores, all it is Marvel, DC and collectibles. Which, I don’t care about. Though I’m not sure if that’s because I’m a woman or just because I’m a webcomic person. Maybe both!

Yeah, I hear ya on the indie stuff! My favorite comic shop growing up had a fantastic selection. I soaked up so many local and independent books, which served as a HUGE inspiration to me. It was like having a whole store and community that said “you CAN tell your own story and explore something different!” I don’t think I ever would have gotten into comics without those books. Unfortunately, another person bought the store and over-night ALL the indie books vanished. It was wall-to-wall DC & Marvel books. And I quit going to the shop. I miss Marshak’s!! 🙁

Mizha certainly wins the prettiest little harpy medal this fine day. That wing/sleeve design is absolutely lovely by the way.

Ah, stores. I have real life founded opinions about this! We don’t have many comic book stores over here, I can name two in the capital and that’s about it. But it’s my experience that both of them are visited by all genders. I’ll start with Faraos Cigarer (named after a Tintin album) since that’s the one I visit most often.

The thing Faraos does, besides recently haven gotten a lovely new building with a much more open floor plan, is that it doesn’t treat girls as anything special. I cannot stand the idea of that. There’s nothing remarkable about me being present in a store that sells stuff I’m interested just because of my gender in damn it, so don’t treat me like it is. They also have at least one girl staffed, so I suppose that can make it seem more natural. And they have a range of different things that isn’t entirely superhero oriented as well as staff that doesn’t mind to chat a bit if they’re not too busy. But that last thing is probably just me.

Fantask, the other store I know of, is much more cramped and located in a (well lit) cellar-ish location. They have both books and comics, friendly staff that knows what they talk about and a varied selection as well. Really though, the trick is to treat your customers with dignity and just drop that “omg girls read comics too wtf” attitude. Which I’ve never actually seen in real life anyway, it’s like the fabled “comics aren’t respected by the public” attitude that I’ve yet to see as well. That’s really all it takes to get me lured in. Sometimes not even that, I’ll visit any store that sells comics anywhere in the world if I’m there and notice it, from the cramped, dim and small (Spain and England) to the large and roomy (Norway). If I choose to buy something is a different matter, but that’s mostly a question of them having something I want at a price I’m willing to pay. And that’s a very different discussion.

/drive by short story length comment

Every time you tell me such things, I want to move where you live. I would love a store that treated me just like another customer! I’ve only encountered that kind of dynamic in about 1/3 of the shops I have visited. And I’ve made a point to return to the ones that treat me well!! Even if you only have a few where you live, they sound like good ones to keep going back to!!

Heh. I might make it sound a bit better than it really is. The disadvantages is the travel time to get to those stores and the prices which are a bit on the high end. But that’s what bargain bins are for, there’s some delightfully obscure stuff in those sometimes, which is all kinds of neat. But yeah, the feeling is definitely right when you go there. And talking with the people who works there is usually interesting. Recommendations and comments that something I’ve picked is enjoyable is always nice. Good times in general, so I keep returning. I would wish buying self published stuff wasn’t such an issue over here though. Print editions of webcomics for example. The shipping is expensive to begin with and then the cost of actually getting the packages handed over is atrocious. But hey, you can’t have it all.

Yeah, I know from shipping things back-and-forth from relatives in Austria how frustrating international shipping can be. IF it arrives at all, which often was not the case!! I AM trying to find internet shopping carts that support international orders at least! Since there are quite a few people from Germany, Sweden, and the UK reading!!

Go Mizha! Look at all those lovely blues. This page is gorgeous. 🙂

And you managed to surprise me, you magnificent bastard you. I was sure you were going to be brutal about things.

Brutal? Me? When have I ever been cruel to my characters? Except for, you know, (almost) all the time? 🙂

EXACTLY. 🙂

I was rather hoping the mirror would crack but not break and we’d get to see the fun consequences of that.

Those wing-sleeves are very cool.

Not being female, my opinion isn’t useful on the main question.
But like Kez, I like a store that has a lot of indy stuff, as I generally find the mainstream hero books to be less than interesting these days.
I am fortunate in that my local store does indeed stock a wide variety. I often see families browsing the all-ages section.
It is clean, well-lit, has welcoming friendly staff (some female), and is just about perfect in every way. 🙂
So here’s a shout-out to Atlantis Fantasy World in Santa Cruz.
Though, like Topios, I enjoy visiting any comic shop that I come across.

You don’t have to have a specific gender to have a valuable opinion. Besides, the things that appeal to men might appeal to women in the exact same way! In fact, it sounds like that is definitely the case! Well-lit, indy stock, variety, welcoming staff. Man, now I want to visit Santa Cruz just for their shop!!

Fantastic page, Robin! (I’m jealous!) :`D

Comic Book stores? Saw the discussion on Twitter, but only “listened” at the time.

I’ll go along with Indie comics more than the Big Three. Serialised graphic novels and print versions of webcomics (#lfwc). Being treated with respect is awesome and also having a knowledgeable female salesclerk helps.

Thank you! I’m glad you like the page! It was a favorite of mine to work on, and I’m very happy with how it came out!

It seems like most LL readers are Indie fans, although that’s not a huge surprise considering you’re on this site! I’m a big buyer of print versions of webcomics too! I think about 1/3 of my collection is webcomics, and that is steadily growing!!

I had to sell my whole collection of (mostly Marvel and some DC) comics -about $2K worth back then (1976-ish), for $50, cause I had to move and would have nowhere to keep them safe. Traumatic! Since then I have only started buying comics again, but only from indie creators, the majorty of whom create long form web comics.

I’m looking forward to adding yours to my collection. :`D

Mizha is a superhero!

I don’t think there are any comic book stores around where I live, so I wouldn’t know. And in most of the discussions of comic-book-type things I’ve had, I’m usually the one with encyclopedic knowledge talking to casual fans. (It’s not because I tend to read comic books, although I have a fetish for trade paperbacks. I just write too much fanfiction.)

Back when I was in high school, comic book stores were about the only place one could hope to find manga. I was pretty much ignored except when I handed the cashier my money for my Sailor Moon comics (of which I had several). But even anime/manga was kind of hit and miss from shop to shop. When manga moved to Borders/Barnes & Noble and I got old enough to drive to the Japanese video and book stores downtown, I stopped going to them entirely.

If I had any faith that comic book shops cared enough about the things I liked to keep them stocked and stay knowledgeable about them, that’d help. But you know, the internet is more stocked and knowledgeable than any comic book shop can hope to be, has lots of stuff that artists are begging you to read for free, and updates its stock far more often. So the only thing I think a brick-and-mortar store could do better is the opportunity for social interaction. Game nights, parties, shows of some kind? Not exactly something they have the room or budget to do, typically.

I made a similar transition from comic shop to book store & online. The prices, selection, and lack of judgement were big influences in that decision. Although there have been a few stores in other places that I’ve lived that I would go to often, just to support them, because they had such a great vibe and customer service. Sometimes good service CAN make up for a lot. Unfortunately, in my experience it’s been pretty rare. I have noticed that some of the better stores have been trying to incorporate things like the game nights and shows like you suggested. I definitely think you have to sell customers on an experience now, not just a product.

I’d never thought about a webcomic update as “updating stock,” but it’s a really good comparison! That, and online comics can be a unique experience too!

I came to comics over the art (DevArt, to be precise) and never read any comics besides online comics. At free-comic-day I ended up at my favorite fantasy-lit-store being the only one there about books. Got to admit, as much as I love online comics, I’d never buy a regular comic, mostly because they are too short for my liking. I want to spend time diving into a story. Can’t do that if it’s all over after thirty pages, and I don’t like getting up all the time to change the comic. If it takes me less than two hours to read through it I won’t buy it. There are a few online comics I might buy if they ever came out in like a collectors box.
So yeah, I got a great shop with great staff (husband and wife) just around the corner (don’t really know about the indi part, obviously) and all I ever buy there are paper-backs and hard-covers.

I’ve heard more and more people that started reading comics purely online. And I’m with you on the collections. When I was a kid I had singles, but they’re 20% ads, really fragile, and a pain to move. A book is just so much sleeker — a much better reading experience! I’ve even found that some webcomics I prefer to read in book form than online (DRIVE is like this for me). It all comes down to how the story flows. You can’t really get a flow transitioning from one 20-page single to another!

Wow, this page is beautiful O.o It’s nice that Mizha’s role in this part has changed, even though there’s nothing wrong with having a character who fills the damsel-in-distress role. Sure, some ‘damsel-in-distress’ characters are really annoying but that’s not the case with Mizha. I think she’s a very complex character and very interesting to watch. I think more people should try to write female characters like that.

As for ‘friendly’ comic book stores, my local comic store is quite nice because its small and not usually that crowded, and because its a small business, the regular customers get to know the staff quite well. Though other comic book stores I’ve been too I can see why others might think of them as ‘unfriendly’ as they are quite crowded.

Thank you so much! A lot of people have criticized Mizha for being “too feminine,” but I actually view that as being a very sexist comment. There should be nothing wrong with being feminine, if that’s how the person is! I know several women that are “girly girls” and all that means is they have different challenges to face than their more Amazonian counter-parts. Mizha will never have the action-heroine skills, as she has no interest in that area and no aptitude. And that should be okay. The important thing is that she does have areas of strengths and weaknesses, grows over time, and learns to self-actualize. None of those things has anything to do with how many butts she can physically kick. And the measurement of how “good” a woman is shouldn’t either. If a lady is an amazing cook with a sweet temperament, that should be just as acceptable as a high-powered business-woman with a black-belt in karate and taking names.

All of which is me saying: Augflbl somebody noticed that just because Mizha’s more classically feminine doesn’t make her flat! Yay!!! Hugs! Hugs for everyone! Break out the cake! 🙂

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