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Best Comic-Book Store

Guy walks into a comic-book store with a pile of comics in his arms. It's junk, mostly, and he knows it: Late '80s and early '90s Classic X-men (reissues, not the original Byrne/Claremont ishes that are actual classics), that whole cheesy Death of Superman series, and a few of the lesser graphic novels. And this isn't just any comic-book store but the joint that has been the strip-mall-based center of Broward's comic-book, collectibles, and role-playing-game universe for more than a decade. But the guy's thinking maybe, just maybe, this heap of non-cardboard-backed, non-plastic-bagged dreck will pass muster with the übergeeks at the gate. Not bloody likely. First off, there's two of them: one big and doughy, one small and wiry, both clad in faded T-shirts referencing manga so obscure that our hero -- who grew up on Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets and discovered marijuana just in time for Akira, Vampire Hunter D, and Tank Police -- feels like a lame-ass, Dragonball-Z-come-lately fanboy. Still, he gamely proffers his unwanted comics to these paragons of anticool behind the cash register. The big one stands mute, allowing his companion the perverse pleasure of dropping the hammer. The small one shakes his head, his face a mask of contempt. "They're not taking anything after 1970," he announces. "Your best bet is probably eBay." Where all of the other lame-os peddle their weak-ass shit, he doesn't say but likely thinks. The guy slinks away, crap comics under his arm and tail between his legs, wondering when exactly it was that he became not quite a big enough loser to be welcome in this particular treehouse.


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