TALES FROM A SMALL ROOM, WITH BOOKS


clip art from Craphound
SAM TOPIC V. 1: “Oh man I want you to blog about when you worked in the comic store” [via BBM]
In mid-1999, I had just moved to Portland, Oregon from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and for a while during the transition from East to West I had a part-time employment at the excellent zine/comic store Reading Frenzy. You should definitely go there if you are ever in Portland, aka the only place on earth where the internet has not bodied fanzines as a whole (thanks largely to owner Chloe Eudaly and her ilk and tireless support of the independent publishing community), and when you go there, you should spend a fukload of money.
When I worked there, Reading Frenzy mostly sold: fanzines on commission, independent comix (“serialized graphic novels” as the NY Times would discover like 19 years later), art books, Japanese stationery, poster art by people like Art Chantry, and really cute but specific tchotchkes i.e. tiny rubber baby keychains. Every month there was an art show and I recall the idea of “teeth” being a recurring theme. The store was tiny and the days I worked were not busy but there was a small portable stereo there so I would always listen to Chloe’s CD collection, which basically meant I listened to Wu-Tang and twee J-Pop. I can probably still sing every word to Takako Minekawa’s Cloudly Cloud Calculator. Basically my employment involved listening to music, reading every issue of comics like Eightball and Meatcake, writing stories, sweeping, trying to draw my own comics that inevitably came out looking like Cathy, and waiting for dog-parking crusty punx or zine folk to come through and drop a dollar fifty on the new issue of Cometbus or, if they were cool, the amazing graphic design/ clip art magazine Craphound (six dollars).
One day, though. I’m like chiling listening to whatever. The sugar voice of Takako chirping about her cat in alliterations, probably. When this old grey bearded dude comes in. He’s lingering for a hot minute by the Japanese porn section, where we stocked a lot of hentai with titles like “Nurse Faeries” and “Imaginary Boob Schoolgirl Hobbits” or whatever. So the store is small, I’m like three feet from this dude, and there’s lots of heroin dick-flashers in PDX so whenever a random person spends an inordinate amount of time at the porn bookcase I get kind of skeptical about their motives. But after awhile dude rolls up to the counter (rolls aka takes three steps) clutching like NINE STACKS of fanzines, Japanaporn (hentai), Craphound, comics, etc. He spends eighty bucks which is like BALLING in a zine store where most of the shit goes for $0.50. He hands me his credit card and I scan it and then I look at it and IT IS FUCKING MATT GROENING. I get kinda fan-nerdy and vaguely recall saying something stupid to hide it like “How do you like Portland?” and he’s like TOTALLY GREW UP HERE, IT WAS GREAT, LOVE READING FRENZY, GOING TO POWELL’s NOW. THANKS GUHL. I was younger then so I felt super embarrassed for not recognizing him in the first place and uttering something stupid when I did, but then again, who can point dude out of a lineup unless he’s wearing a yellow mask with spiky triangle hair and a fatsuit and saying “Doh”? I immediately called Simpsons-superfan Sean Tejaratchi (who makes Craphound) to tell him Matt G. totally just bought his magazine, and I think I quit like two months later to go be the Arts Editor of the Portland Mercury, with Sean as the Art Director.
Is this story even awesome? SAM MORE MYSTIKAL-LIKE TOPIC REQUESTS.

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2 Responses to TALES FROM A SMALL ROOM, WITH BOOKS

  1. mo says:

    Julianne can you PLEASE blog about the kitties. And post pictures??????

  2. Kelsi Rivera says:

    Dear Jewree. I miss you, I just got back from your moms house and remembered that.
    I liked the frida mints you sent her.
    Uber cool.
    Keep it rockin Gill fren.

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