Monday, March 26, 2007

Product Placement on BoingBoing

Search for the phrase "Secret Headquarters" on BoingBoing, and you'll discover that Cory Doctorow has been awfully enthusiastic about the comic store of that name in Silverlake lately. In fact he's mentioned it in no fewer than 15 entries since August of last year. How does he describe it? Let's see, in chronological order:

8/18/06: my local comic shop, the incomporable [sic] (and wittily named) Secret Headquarters

9/15/06: Cory's new favorite store, Secret Headquarters

10/24/06: My favorite LA comic shop, Secret Headquarters

10/25/06: badass comics store Secret Headquarters, which is definitely worth a visit if you live in LA

10/29/06: My new formula for graphic novel goodness: walk into LA's Secret Headquarters, buy any three books on the recommended new release table, go to funnybook heaven

1/3/07: I don't read a lot of Japanese comics, but this came highly recommended by Secret Headquarters, my local neighborhood funnybook emporium, whose proprietor, Dave, has yet to give me a bum steer. It's a real treat living near a great
comics shop.

1/15/07: you can get signed, personally inscribed copies of [Cory's] book shipped right to your door... get in touch with Secret Headquarters in LA

1/22/07: Secret Headquarters, the best comic shop in LA

2/1/07: Secret Headquarters, the best comic shop in town

2/11/07: My Los Angeles book-signing is coming up this Thursday, Feb 15 at LA's Secret Headquarters comic shop

2/15/07: Secret Headquarters, the best comic-store in town

2/26/07: (another great find from the recommended table at LA's Secret Headquarters comic shop)

2/27/07: This was another find from the recommended table at Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic shop, and they just keep steering me right. If you're in LA, they're the best place to go get your brain inverted.

3/12/07: Secret Headquarters (best comic shop in town!)

3/23/07: Secret Headquarters, LA's best comic shop

Wow! This place must really be something for Cory to be promoting it so much. Either that, or Cory is just heaping praise upon praise again on something that happened to hit one of his many easily-hit sweet spots.

I decided to check it out for myself on Sunday, and you know what? This place is tiny. It's one small room with a few new issues, a few bookcases of collected editions, and one table of recommended stuff. It's pretty much the minimum comic book store, with a mix of mainstream and independent comics. And the guy behind the desk was nice enough to let me see some of the full broadsheet-sized prints of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland that they had.

I wish them well. For its size, it's pretty decent, and the proprietor was helpful. And comic stores are such marginal businesses that I don't begrudge anybody the publicity they need. But seriously, come on, Cory. In no possible way is this the best comic store in L.A.

I challenge you, Cory: Can you tell me with a straight face that this store is better than Meltdown, which probably has eight times the stock, a knowledgeable staff, three locations, and rotating exhibition space? I haven't been a serious comic collector for several years, but I could still easily name a bunch of local stores with several times the stock: Golden Apple, Comics Factory, Amazing Comics, Geoffrey's Comics (with a special event coming to raise funds to Save Darfur), Hi De Ho Comics, etc., just to name a few.

It looks like Cory is floored by the books that Secret Headquarters' proprietor recommended. Which is great, but keep in mind a couple of things: 1) Any comic store worker worth his or her salt will recommend things to you, and 2) Cory is, to put it mildly, not exactly difficult to amaze. Secret Headquarters is a nice little store, a good fit for its neighborhood, and I'm sure they could use the boost. But by pumping them up so much, Cory is 1) shortchanging the other great stores around L.A., and 2) setting prospective customers' expectations way too high. Go ahead and recommend the store, promote the store, and vouch for the proprietor's taste, but seriously, don't treat us like idiots who've never seen the inside of a comic store before.

3 Comments:

At Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 9:50:00 AM PDT, Anonymous spaz said...

oh snap!

You tell 'em, Media Guy!

 
At Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 7:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mike said...

I'm glad you're trying to keep the Doctorow kid honest. Don't give up.

 
At Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 7:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous mrad said...

Yeah, "wittily named"? 99% of young American males could rattle off dozens of equally witty comic book store names at the drop of a hat.

(Hell, "The Android's Dungeon" was witty OVER 10 YEARS AGO, and that was already a parody of a well known phenomenon.)

Shills, beware! Villani is on the march.

 

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