The owner of the Cyclopsorama in Indianopolis doesn’t understand why people seem to hate his store.
Source: ThanosCopter Newswire
It’s Wednesday at 4 PM and the large, spacious aisles of the Cyclopsorama are nearly empty. Owner Bernard Arrenshall, a local businessman born and raised just outside the city of Indianapolis, stands at the counter, with a concerned look on his face. “I don’t understand it,” says Arrenshall, a tall, balding man with a wispy beard. “Sales have just crashed over the last few months.”
X-Men paraphernalia dot the walls of the store, many focusing on Arrenshall’s favorite character, Scott Summers, for whom the store was named. “I love Cyclops,” the store owner says with a smile. “I’ve always been a fan of team leaders like Cyclops or Leonardo (from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Leading your friends and making the right choices is actually what inspired me to open up this store.”
Arrenshall explains that he opened Cyclopsorama in the early 1990s, right before the great speculator collapse that nearly broke the comic book industry. He stuck with the comic book industry through its lean times and has been heartened by increased interest in comics from movies such as Iron Man, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Sales at the store peaked in the mid 2000s when fans flocked to the store to read Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, which gave Cyclops new depth and a surge in fan interest.
However, starting in April of this year, he noticed that his sales began to dip slightly. While it wasn’t too bad for a couple of months, sales really began to slide in June and July, coinciding with increased hostility from his once-loyal customer base.
His store has even come under attack recently, with a vandal breaking in one night and destroying a large cardboard cutout of Cyclops that sat in his front window. Arrenshall pulls out the cutout, which has been scribbled on by a black permanent marker. “I’m evil, a fascist and stand against everything good in this world,” says a word bubble hastily scribbled onto the cutout.
His reminiscence is interrupted by a customer walking in with a disgruntled look on his face. The customer’s name is Patrick L. and he’s come to cancel the pull list he’s had for over a decade at the store. Although Arrenshall tries to change the customer’s mind, Patrick is terse and unresponsive until Arrenshall finally pulls the customer’s file and throws it in the trash. Arrenshall attempts to make a few attempts at small talk, but is only met with looks of disgust. Finally, Patrick leaves the store, but not before shouting “I hope you and your crappy store get cancer and die!” as he leaves.
“That’s the eighteenth customer this week,” says Arrenshall after Patrick leaves. “I don’t know how much longer the store can handle such a rapid loss of our customer base.”
Reaching out to his former customer base, it becomes clear why Cyclopsorama is losing clients. “Shopping at Cyclopsorama is like shopping at the Nazi Gift Store,” says one ex-customer, who now downloads his comics off the Internet. “I refuse to support anyone who sides with oppression and evil.”
“There’s only three things worse than Cyclops,” says another. “Hitler, dubstep music, and Rob Liefeld.”
Arrenshall doesn’t understand the sudden hatred towards his favorite character. “Cyclops isn’t as popular as Wolverine,” Arrenshall says with a perplexed look on his face. “But he’s not some one-dimensional evil character with inconsistent motivations who only exists to give other heroes someone to fight either.”
However, Arrenshall admits that he hasn’t had the time to keep up with the most current comics. “I’m a few months behind,” he said. “My daughter had some health problems in the spring and I just fell behind. Still, it’s not like Marvel would just suddenly turn Cyclops into a villain, right?”
When asked about the recent Avengers vs. X-Men event, Arrenshall states that he was sure that it gave both sides a fair shake and was not “a masturbatory fanfest for popular characters like Wolverine and Captain America,” as he’s heard it described on the fansite www.cyclopsrulesscrewthehaters.net, which Arrenshall occasionally frequents.
Despite his recent problems, Arrenshall remains confident that his stores sales will recover. “Unless Marvel does something completely terrible and has Cyclops kill his common law partner or Professor Xavier, I’m sure the store will be fine.”
The Outhouse is sponsored by Cinema Crazed: Celebrating Film Culture & Pop Culture.
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