We live in an undeniable era of mass separation. The permeation of the “us versus them” mentality is nothing new to human society, but it would seem, for a myriad of reasons, to be an all-time high. Red vs. Blue, BLM vs. The Thin Blue Line, Red Sox vs. Yankees, DC vs. Marvel, and yes… the mainstream comics industry vs. Comicsgate.
No matter where you look, be it fandom, politics, sports, or the dining room table, you are likely under a constant barrage of “pick a side.”
Then, the miraculous happens.
Fat Jack’s Comicrypt is the oldest Local Comics Shop (LCS) in the City of Brotherly Love. Established in Philadelphia in 1976, Fat Jack’s has recently fallen on hard times– a story all to familiar across the country, it would seem. An employee of Fat Jack’s set up a GoFundMe to help keep the store afloat on behalf of the owner (you can visit the GoFundMe here if you are so inclined).
A lovely if not uncommon gesture in today’s market. What makes this story remarkable, however, lies in the public list of donations. A number of prominent industry members have contributed, including Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Pak, Marc Guggenheim and Richard Starkings. Nick Barruci, head of Dynamite and childhood frequenter of the shop has pledged generous donations with more to come (see Bleeding Cool’s story from a few days ago here). Many others have risen to the occasion to help preserve this piece of our fandom history.
Among the contributors, however, we see the true power of the medium. Throughout the Comicsgate scandals, Mark Waid and Ethan van Scriver have come off as bitter rivals. Whatever side of the fence you stand on, the other is seen as a dastardly villain worthy of a four-color world.
Both creators have pledged money to help Fat Jack’s Comicrypt. The cynics among us may say it is merely a case of oneupsmanship or a desperate move to save face. But strip away the cynicism and you see a case where the LCS, our most sacred meeting place, the holy ground of our fandom, has a remarkable power– the ability to erase the arbitrary lines we draw among ourselves. Divisions over who said what melt away faster than a Bobby Drake iceslide and leave us all united to defend our space.
If Waid and van Scriver in the avatar forms they have achieved can set aside their petty squabbles in favor of uniting to preserve a cornerstone of this sub-cultural phenomenon we call comics, maybe… just maybe… so can we.
Philly’s Fat Jack’s Comicrypt Pulls Off Holiday Miracle
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