LET'S LEVEL WITH LEE!

By Lee Hester, owner of Lee's Comics of California.

Monday, July 14, 2008

26th ANNIVERSARY SALE

The 26th Anniversary Sale was a smash. We were mostly working like the dickens to serve the customers, but we had a chance to take some photos at both stores. Let's have a look, shall we?


We'll start in Mountain View, were I was setting up. This year, we erected a canopy to protect the shoppers (and us!) from the harsh glare of the sun, as we roasted at many previous events. Wouldn't you know it, it was mild and overcast. I got the canopy at Costco for around $200. That's a lot of money for me, but I really like it. It's a snap to put together. It will be nice at future outdoor events.


We were scheduled to open at 10:00, but we started setting up at 9:00. We decided to give the early birds a break and start selling early. This shot was taken at around 9:30.


As you can see, it was really busy at first. Lots of people apparently wanted first picking at the best bargain books. We had tons of 26¢ comics, and $2.60 graphic novels. People also came early to claim the $10 Lee's Comics gift certificate. (The first 26 people got one.)


In this and the last shot, you can see my buddy Mark Arnold. He often helps me out at sales and conventions. He's a good worker, and he knows more about pop culture stuff like comics, music, cartoons, and movies than just about anyone.


Yep, it was chaos for the fist couple of hours there. You really can't control it, you just have to relax and go with the flow.


This year, we were giving out prizes every hour on the hour by random drawing. You had to be there to win. The winner was presented with some flashy neckwear with the prize name emblazoned on it with a labeler. The winner got to strut around showing off their bling bling. Here's the first grand prize winner. He won a Pure Hero Shirt. He chose a Venom crew shirt.


Here's another winner, our buddy Jim Reil. He's keepin' it Reil. He just won a drawer box, which he'll be keeping his drawers in.


Here's another happy winner, and a very lovely gracious person. I didn't take down all the names. I'm a comics dealer, not a reporter!


Here's my buddy Ron Murry. I'll see him again next week, as we share a booth in San Diego. Ron found out about my Anniversary sale on the Collector's Society Boards, and stopped by to help us celebrate.


Another happy winner.


Ditto.


Here's a closer look at the award idols, purchased at great expense at the local Dollar store, and labeled with a P-Touch. This was really a fun way to give out prizes. Everyone had a blast!


A grand prize winner.


This young man really, really, really wanted to win. We were almost as happy to see him win as he was.


It looks like this picture was taken by accident, but I kind of like it.


Here's long time customer, Gary Rubin. He won the grand prize. I bet he'll make good use of a Pure Hero Shirt!


Another prize winner. Between the 2 stores, we gave out 60 prizes. If you visited either store, your chances of winning were very high!


It was fun to see people win our 2nd prize, the Toon Tumbler. They got to pick their favorite cup. This gentleman choose Ghost Rider. You can see, he's pleased as punch!


And now our view turns to San Mateo. Marvelous Mark Crane was master of ceremonies. You can see the loyal San Mateo comic book fans gather for the fun and bargains.


The San Mateo fans are a hardy, and loyal bunch. We love 'em!


The excitement builds.


Here's a series of shots taken in the interior.


If you have the chance, make sure to check out our San Mateo store.


There is a different selection and layout at both stores.


We re-arranged San Mateo recently so we could fit more Graphic Novels.


Well, that ends out tour of Lee's Comics on Saturday July 12th, as we celebrated our 26th Anniversary. Thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

LEE SAYS

Treat all guns like they're loaded, and all mikes like they're live.

That way, you avoid shooting your mouth off.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

ALEX ROSS-WILL HE SAVE COMICS-OR RUIN THEM?

How does this picture look to you? If you are like most people, the answer is "Pretty darn good!" Believe it or not, there is a small but highly vocal group of people that don't care for Mr. Ross's artwork. That's okay, different strokes. Now it's reaching a fever pitch of absurdity.

Before I go any further, I must disclose that I had the pleasure to host Mr. Ross at my store some five times. He also created my store Logo. That would make me seem like a less than impartial observer in this comedy. I also want to state that I am a big fan, and was before I ever met the gentleman. I believe that I would still be a fan if I had never met him. Full disclosure over.

Here is a blog that makes the claim that "No one has done more harm to the form than Alex Ross." In the comments section, a gaggle of Ross-haters comes out of the woodwork. I posted a comment in defense of Ross, but I didn't want to linger too long to argue with the Kangaroo court calling for Ross's head for comic book art crimes.

It also seems silly to blame Ross for the sins of others. That's like blaming Jimi Henrix for all the bad guitar bands that came in his wake.

Ross has legions of fans. He is extremely successful. Any publisher would practically kill to get him to draw a book for them. That is because he takes comic art to a new level. He has never been equaled.

The detractors say "Comic Books should never be painted". Really? Why not? Who made these rules? I must have missed the meeting were everyone voted on what media comic artists were allowed to use. I would have voted to expand the pallet, rather than to diminish it.

This is a very simple point, but one that needs to be made: You don't need to be a fan of Ross's or even a comic book fan to see that his art is beautiful. All you need is a functioning set of eyes, a heart, and a mind. I don't mind the people that say that his art is not to their taste, but to call it ugly is absurd. All you have to do is look. It's about as plain as seeing a pretty girl, and knowing that she is beautiful. Let the light reach your eyes. Somehow the Ross-Hater's eyes are wide shut.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE A BLOG

Now and then, you just have a hankering to put a little of yourself out on the blogosphere. Lucky for me, there are a few poople out there scanning these little squibs now and then. I'm lucky to have any kind of audience at all.

I got interested in writing back in high school. During my senior year at Cubberly High School in Palo Alto, I was in a program called "Alternative School". I graduated in 1979, and they promptly shut Cubberly down. Alternative school had classes that met once a week. You were responsible for doing your own work. You figured out what grade you deserved. It was a real hippy-dippy notion, and mostly it was a colossal failure. It was mostly a magnet for stoners and slackers alike. There were a few bright people there, however; the two brightest guys that I ever met. One is now a professor, the other is an inventor.

I got interested in writing, and was composing a complete story or poem every day. The average length of my stories was 10 pages. Often I would lie in a hot bath composing on a legal pad. I felt inspired and wrote furiously. The words would come fast, and I would fill page after page. I was writing mostly adventure stories. I was inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was inclined towards his complex action packed prose. Everyone in Alternative School thought that I would go on to become a writer. As far as I know, none of my old stores survive. It's a good thing, because they are probably quite dreadful.

Now when I write, I write much slower. I am inclined toward more straightforward language. I try to get my meaning across as concisely as possible. I don't steer clear of complex words, but I don't insert them just to be fancy. I find that the first word that comes to mind is usually the best, as long as it clearly expressed what you were trying to say. I tend to put down a book that is full of obscure and impenetrable text. I don't think that reading should be an unpleasant chore. The author has to meet me half way by keeping the book flowing, and keeping it interesting. Sue me if I'm a lowbrow book reader. I'm not reading to impress the elite. I'm reading for my own enrichment.

One thing that I am doing now, which probably cuts down on my enjoyment of writing, is to edit while I go. It would probably be more fun, and perhaps create a better flow in my writing if I just put my thoughts down, and then went back and edited later. The impulse to edit while writing is very strong. That impulse is corrupting the development of the skill of getting it right the first time. (You still have to go back and edit later.)

The smart friends from high school were reading a book a day, and I had the same habit. I was mostly reading Edgar Rice Borroughs, and as I mentioned, I completely absorbed his style. I had a little game that I liked to play. You would pick a book, by any author. You would compose a paragraph in their style. You read your paragraph, and the paragraph of the author, and the people try to guess which is which. It's great fun. If I remember correctly, I think that I usually fooled them.

Since those days, my reading has diminished quite a bit. I find that I am reading mostly non-fiction, and I am writing nothing but non-fiction. I would like to try my hand at fiction again. I would like to create stories agiain, so I am trying to limber up my mind for that pursuit. I just finished reading "On Writing' by Steven King. It's a great book, and his #1 tip for a would-be writer is to read a lot. He writes for 4 hours a day, and reads for 4 hours a day. Would-be writers would do well to turn off that TV, and steer toward that easy chair, book in hand.

I have a small library at my house. I must have a hundred or so books. I don't really collect books. I mostly trade them back to the used book store when I am done with them. I have a lot of reference books because I tend to hold on to them. It seems strange to me if I visit someone's house, and they don't have any books there. It's like not having any windows. I always like to go over and look at the books that people have in their homes. It's invariably the thing that I do when I am passing time waiting for someone in their home. The books that people read tell a lot about a person.

- Lee

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Imagine a World with no comic books. Not worth living.

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