We call it “The inner circle”. I’ve always believed every comic shop has one. Folks that share a love of comics that goes back years. A traditional bond that has passed through childhood, into our teen years, and solidifies into a handful of strangers that goes to their local shop every Wednesday,the DAY new books came out ,not only to read and buy them, but to share the experience with guys(and some girls) who are just like us.You name a character..they know it.You name a storyline, and they know it.You name a first appearance…….and they probably know that too.You know 10 minutes after meeting them, usually confirmed with a casual glance to the rest of the group, …………..”They’re one of us.
I found out today we lost one of our own. I never really knew Fuji on a personal level to be completely candid. We shared casual hello’s every Wednesday. He was part of more then one comic discussion /debate, and he was always there every week for the new batch of books coming in. He was usually at the same spot along the counter meticulously going through his books for the week. He was quiet,(a lot of us are) but within seconds of him opening his mouth for a conversation you could tell that he had a fountain of knowledge about the industry.
I love watching the shop as John and I do the show….. to see who perks up when certain subjects come up on the podcast. More then once, from my perch, I’d see Fuji’s head slightly turn when we would breach a new subject. I had thought more then once to invite him over to the third mic, and bring him into the conversation. I always hesitated because he seemed a guy of few words, but I regret that now as I suspect he would have brought a master class of knowledge to whatever subject we happened to have been discussing. A missed opportunity indeed.
Like John and myself , the inner circle is usually made up of buddies that hit it off and have a blast hanging out and immersing themselves in comic culture. A fellow circle member Andrew was “Fujis” bud in that respect. I learned today that every Wednesday they picked up their books and heading over to Andrews house to read much like I and millions of other folks had done since we were kids with friends we knew had the same love for the genre that we did.
Andrew came in just before I left the shop tonight. There were just no words. I had no idea what to say. I simply can’t imagine the pain he’s feeling right now. I think I stammered something before I left, but I doubt there is anything anyone could say right now. He has my deepest sympathies though.As he does of everyone who knew “Fuji” on probably a more personal level then I did.
Every shop has an inner circle. Folks that know the comic industry inside out.I know it can seem intimidating ,but for the most part any one of us would answer questions for hours and would love every minute of it. Talk to us. You won’t regret it. It’s not going feel right in the weeks to come to be in the shop and not have Fuji there inspecting the weeks take. I do suspect more then one fond memory will be brought up that will only solidify what was a fact for the last 10+ years to the rest of the circle………………………You were one of us.