I got into American comics fandom over a year ago now, and doing it terrified me. Many women have told horror stories about their first foray into a comics shop. Although comics as a fandom has taken many steps forward in the last few years, there’s still a tremendously long way to go to make a community where everyone feels safe and welcomed. The plethora of stories about awful misogynistic comic book store staff and patrons being rude to potential female customers was nearly enough to scare me away.
In the end, my desire to not let assholes control my behavior (and my desire to hold a copy of Hawkeye in my hands) trumped my fears, and it turned out that my local comic book store was staffed entirely by friendly, welcoming people.
It would have been nice to know that beforehand, though, and that’s where haterfreewednesdays comes in.
From their description:
Comic shops are notoriously hit and miss when it comes to being inclusive of women, lgbt, PoC, and other minority comics fans. This tumblr is for you to share your positive or negative comic shop experiences, so that fellow comics fans can find friendly local comic shops, and be warned of which shops to avoid. (x)
Wednesday, if you didn’t know, is when the new batch of comic books for the week becomes available in stores. The haterfreewednesdays Tumblr makes it its goal to provide a reference of safe spaces for comics fans who aren’t straight white guys to get those comics. It’s a great way to ensure that people like me, who want to get into fandom, don’t have to worry about discrimination on top of the nerves that come along with joining any new group.
The Tumblr page takes recommendations of shops where women, LGBTQ+, and PoC customers have been treated with respect, and compiles them into a master reference list of safe stores that includes stores both in the U.S. and several other countries. They also go the extra step and list stores that are confirmed to be unsafe spaces so potential fans can give them a wide berth. You can check out their main page here if you’re hoping to find a good comics store around you. Their list is a work in progress, so if you discover that your favorite shop is not on there (or just want to second a positive review) feel free to submit your own recommendations as well!