Saturday, December 12, 2009
My Life With Comic Books: Part # 8
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP - Part Eight
After six months of dealing with comic book collectors, working by herself (with no telephone), driving a lousy commute through heavy traffic each day, and not really knowing much about the product she was being forced to sell, my wife grew to feel trapped in our first comic book shop. She had had enough. Because I was seemingly more interested in my business than in her, she also had had enough of me. She moved back into her parent’s house. I was shocked. Everything seemed fine to me. I enjoyed my full time job at the computer factory and I loved working at the store on Saturdays. I had continued selling at the monthly comic book conventions one Sunday each month. I made time for everything I enjoyed except my wife! After a few days of separation, I explained to Mal that my commitment to her was much more important to me than comic books. She agreed that when we got married, it was a commitment to God and me and that it was forever. Our marriage wasn’t based on just “feelings” or “moods”. I told her we’d obviously get rid of the comic book store. I convinced her to come back to me and we decided that it was time to make some changes in our lives. We thought it would be good for us to get away from the “comfort” of our families and friends so that we would have to rely on each other more. I quit my job at the computer factory. I remember the “exit interview” given to me by my boss. He said (in a condescending tone) “You need to face the facts and grow up…you’ll never make any money selling comic books.”
Since we weren’t working, we thought we’d take advantage of the free time by going to Disney World and I convinced my whole family to go, my Mom, Dad, all six kids, and Mal. My brother Jay had married Annette and she came too. We drove down in three cars and camped in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We all had a great time. In fact, it was so much fun that Mal and I decided that we would move to Florida so that we could work in Disney World. It seemed like such a happy place!
After we got home from this vacation, my brother, Jay, decided that he was moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since Mal and I were still not working, we loaded up the van with his stuff and helped him move south. We figured we’d go from Tennessee to Disney World to apply for work. Jay and his wife Annette, were headed to Tennessee to join a group of “believers” in a commune-type life. Mal and I ended up staying with them for almost a month. We enjoyed being around the members of this “group” of people who really seemed to care about each other.
One of the men living there had some old comic books from the early 1960’s that he wanted to sell so he could donate the money to the group. I had gone to a local flea market and heard about an upcoming comic book convention so I decided I’d sell the comics as a favor to these nice people we’d met. After a little investigation I contacted the organizer of the convention and rented some table space from him. I figured it would be a fun way to spend a Sunday. Little did I know how pivotal this day would be!
Next chapter: We meet the hardest working man in the comic business: Gary Walker!
Picture: My wife, Mal