A retailer who last week ripped a copy of Pretty Deadly #1 in half in front of customers, triggering heated online reaction as well as responses from Image Comics and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, has apologized for his actions.
"A small group of long time customers who know me well asked me what I really thought of the book," Steven LeClaire, owner Comics Ink in Culver City, California, explained in a post on the Bleeding Cool forum (it was deleted and made into a standalone article). "For dramatic effect, I ripped a copy of the book after giving my review. I personally found the book lacking a coherent storyline and the art too muddy to follow. That was my opinion. The book was still on the shelves for sale for all those who wanted it. I made a mistake of thinking I was having a private talk with a small group of friends. I apologize for my actions."
The incident was first mentioned Thursday by CBR columnist Hannibal Tabu in "The Buy Pile," where he wrote that he agreed with the retailer's assessment of the issue -- by DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles -- although he didn't mention LeClaire by name. Word of the comic's destruction quickly spread online, with Zero writer Ales Kot questioning whether the act was prompted merely by “anger about the product, or also by misogyny,” and leading Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson to offer to take back the remaining copies of Pretty Deadly #1 from Comics Ink and have Diamond Comic Distributors cancel orders for subsequent issues.
In his apology to both the publisher and the creators, LeClaire clarified, "That the book was done by a female creative team did not encourage my actions nor was it meant to be misogynistic or anti-female creator. I do understand that it takes time and effort to create a comic book. And while I didn’t enjoy what I read, it was and is in the best interest of my store to sell the books I ordered and not destroy them. Aside from the small group of regular customers who did witness my actions, Comics Ink was and is selling copies of Pretty Deadly to all who ask for them."
With the matter seemingly resolved, it's worth referring back to the statement DeConnick made on Friday, in which she stressed "THAT ONE DUDE IS NOT THE STORY." No, she pointed out, the story is that a debut issue they expected to sell somewhere between 9,000 and 12,000 copies -- with an outside chance of reaching as high as 20,000 -- ended up selling out of its 57,000-copy first printing, leading to a second.
"The book — our weird little book that has surprised and defied us at every turn — came out Wednesday and surprised and defied us yet again," she wrote. "The same site that ran the piece that started all this gave us 4.5/5.0. We got 3 reviews that gave us 10/10. We’ve gotten tons of great mail already, beautiful fan art and it’s starting to feel like there’s a Pretty Deadly community burgeoning."