(Preface: I penned this prior to the cinematic release of Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s series of SIN CITY graphic novels.)
…I was chuffed to see the new Dark Horse editions in my local bookstore…copies of THE HARD GOODBYE, THAT YELLOW BASTARD, THE BIG FAT KILL, and TO HELL AND BACK (among others) leapt out at me from the racks, surprising me like the business end of a pistol in the small of my back.
(Yeah, I know, but if I can evoke that noir feeling, why not?)
Here’s the thing, though: they were stocked in the bleeding SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY section. Hard-boiled crime fiction, as per Chandler and Spillane, stocked alongside ‘effin LORD OF THE RINGS and ‘effin STAR TREK…because, you know, they’re comics, and comics are for kids and illiterates. *sigh*
I go to the counter, determined to counter such rampant stupidity. I ask the nice lady, why are the SIN CITY books placed with the likes of Terry Brooks and William Gibson?
"Oh, because that’s what head office specified we should do, since we don’t have a graphic novel section."
I cite the fact that SIN CITY is noir in the vein of Ellroy and Hammett; surely, they’d be better placed in the crime section?
"Oh, the customers who purchase crime novels won’t even look at them. They’re not interested."
Well, it’s no bloody wonder, since they’re in the sci-fi section, and not in the more sensible crime section, where they can see them & decide for themselves? Ye gods and little piglets!
I am then informed, they’re fantasy books anyway, so it doesn’t matter. I rejoinder: “That’s a very loose definition, and besides, anyone picking these up expecting space battles and whatnot is gonna be disappointed. They’re more Raymond Chandler than George Lucas.” The nice lady just shrugged her shoulders and thanked me kindly for my suggestion. I withdrew, bowed by the store’s
idiocy uninformed opinion, but unbeaten.
Why is it that the customers know more about the bloody books then the people selling them? ‘kinell…
(Originally posted Jun. 8th, 2005)