As most know by now, that multi-chain behemoth store of books, dvds, music, cafe, among other stuff, Borders, is closing shop. Makes me wonder if Fox Books Store would've had the same fate had it really existed (+10 points if you know that movie reference WITHOUT googleing it!)? Personally, it's a topic that kind of has me a bit divided.
You see, Borders was pretty cool. It was. You could get pretty nice discounts and have some tea while you flipped trough you latest book or graphic novel buy (or coffee for those caffeinated people). It was interesting as a hanging out place, too. Sometimes my friends and I would go on any given weekend and all enter the store, and we just all vanished, but somehow always manged to find each other at the same time when we were going to leave. It was almost like "Ghost Recon", but with books and mocha-latte. And it was always cool to go out on dates there, too.
Hell, it WAS at Borders that I actually sold my very first script of New Wave to Manuel (true story, REALLY!). And sometimes I could also get those hard to get movies, like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. I bought that as a Christmas present for my mom and sister, and we all watched that movie for the first time in like maybe 15 years, first time we watched it since we moved from New York to Puerto Rico. Was it a bad movie? It was HORRIBLE! But....it's one of those movies that are SO bad, they're great! And growing up in New York, it was a family tradition to get that cup of cocoa with a marshmellow (or a piece of "queso de papa", I have no idea how it's called in English, potato cheese? It's this thick, yellow cheese), all of us huddle up in the living room or bedroom, and watch it on TV when it was October. So yeah, Borders had it's GREAT points...but at the same time...it was sometimes so damned annoying! XD
Sometimes, it was like book armageddon in there (bookageddon? Armabookon?)! Books laying around. Comics with covers torn. Tripping over/stepping on some otakus that always read manga at random places but never bought it. And even though I personally never had any problem with an employee, you kinda miss out on the personal touch that you can only get at your local comic book store or those smaller, "mom and pop" bookstores. Hell, some of those smaller venues closed up faster than the "Little Shop Around The Corner" (yes, another homage to the same movie referenced at the beginning of this blog, continuity!) when Borders opened. Like that now legendary Visual Arts Book Store here in Puerto Rico. That place was THE BOMB.
It was owned by this french couple. So it was soooo cool to say hello to them and hear them in their french accents. Music blaring in the background, ranging from techno, to j-pop, to rock. This nice rocker girl that worked there whose boyfriend always came early to pick her up, just to pretty much hang around the place before leaving. That place was a smorgasboard of graphic novels, manga, indie comics, local comics, anime soundtracks, rare indie movies, European and Asian movies. Figures from Batman to Neon Genesis Evangelion. All that, AND service ALWAYS with a "hello", a warm smile, and a "see you later". God, those were the days! It was a VERY sad day to see that store close shop. And even so, that last day I was there, with the remains of the left over stuff from the huge liquidation sale, they still had that same smile. It's the same with the other comic book store that is pretty much THE institution of comics here in Puerto Rico, Metro Comics, which thankfully, has survived everything that has been thrown their way.
-Alvaro "Lance Danger" Cortes Ortiz Jr