Book Review: Our Valued Customers: Conversations from the Comic Book Store
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Perigee Trade
· Tim Chamberlain
by R.J. Carter
Published: June 17, 2012
Be careful what you say in your local comics shop -- especially if Tim Chamberlain is behind the counter. After years (nay, decades!) of struggling to remove the stigma of being a comics fan, of trying desperately to wash the four-color ink from our hands and be accepted in society, Chamberlain lays bare the fact we -- and the rest of the world -- have always known.
And we're not just dorks. We're the kind who talk about imaginary characters as though we may meet them, have dinner with them, impress them, and become like them. And Chamberlain captures it in all its ignominious glory with these single page caricatures, themselves as unflattering (because they're true to life) as possible.
Comics writer Dan Slott says it better than anything in the blurbs of this book. "And then you'll hit that one horrible panel where you'll realize, "Hey! I've said that!" I'm not going to reveal the number of times that happened to me while reading this. I will say that I've recognized a number of my fellow comic store patrons, especially the one who laments, "Real-life girls don't ever look as realistic as girls in comics." Pretty much sums up the social life of many I've met. Or the young "lady" who got so worked up over the New 52 Batgirl, she invoked "Not to be dramatic, but seeing Barbara Gordon walk makes me wanna kill myself!" (Take that, hope for the paraplegic!)
If you're a comics shop employee, or spend enough time in one to be confused for one, you'll spend hours laughing over this one, putting names to faces and denying yourself in any of them. To you, I say: Give it up. We have met the dorks, and they are us.