I picked up my comics this week and had a mild surprise when the fill-in clerk handed me my larger-than-usual stack of books in a white plastic bag emblazoned with the Free Comic Book Day logo. A bit dispirited, I paid and left.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Free Comic Book Day. It involves comic books and freedom, so it really covers all the bases. And it didn’t bother me too much that this particular bag advertised the 2006 FCBD, which already happened.
What peeved me ever so slightly was the very nature of the bag: white plastic. This is a very minor part of the comic book experience, but I’ve grown very accustomed to my shop’s use of little brown paper bags that slip ever so perfectly over a stack of new material. I couldn’t find a good photo, so here’s as close as it gets:
With every retailer now using almost all plastic sacks, these paper bags have taken on a classic, rare feel. Just like when you go to the grocery store, buy ice cream and they pull out the paper bag to keep it cool: paper only comes out for something special.
Then there’s the mystery. Just what is inside that bag? It’s opaque, though obviously shaped to fit something flat and in the 8.5 by 11 inch range. Maybe it’s holding… DOCUMENTS! (RIP Mitch Hedberg) Toting around this slender brown document case, I feel a bit like a hobo with his paper-bagged booze. You don’t know what he’s drinking, but it just might be urine. (OK, really, really bad analogy).
At my old shop (which some of the Doomers still frequent) they used to wrap everything up in recycled Wal-Mart bags. While I’m all for recycling, there’s just nothing enjoyable about carrying comic books in a non-special bag that doesn’t even fit them well and, to boot, makes you look like a cheap-o.
So, clearly, there’s no real point to this rant. But if any retailers are reading, you should use brown bags. They’re cool.