Collecting comics is mostly a solitary thing.
Sure, the Internet makes it easy to discuss comics with fellow aficionados but offline?
The movies and TV series based on comics have made being a collector more socially acceptable but it’s not like you can have a deep conversation with most people about Bendis or how DC would be a better company if you ran it.
The main offline outlet for regularly discussing this thing we love with like-minded people is the local comics shop. Not only is it a place to meet other fans but the best owners and staff — to my mind — are those who know their store is a social hub and spare time to engage their customers in conversation about the medium.
For the past 18 years, Rob Charpentier, the owner of Comics’N’More, was who I had those conversations with nearly every week.
We sometimes discussed running a small business (something we also had in common) as well as the issues that Life presents us all.
But mostly we talked about comics. While there were times he was cynical, he never lost his love for them.
Others have talked better than I can about the kind of man he was and the kind of example he set. He was a leader in the community — contributing and doing what he felt he could to help. Everyone considered him their friend and he was.
Rob died recently and collecting comics has become that much more lonely without my friend to talk to.