The relationship between loudmouth comic book retailer Dennis Barger, of Wonderworld, Michigan, and loudmouth comic book writer/editor/publisher Mark Waid has not been a smooth one. There have been cease-fires along the way, but mostly war.
I recall the time when retailers were concerned about Archie Comics running Kickstarters for their new work and Mark Waid chimed in,
Mark Waid: I do know that Alex Segura and his team are approaching this with care and are making every effort, near as I can tell, to be responsive to feedback and criticisms. Even from know-nothing morons like Dennis.
Dennis L Barger Jr: Oh the Benedict Arnold of comic publishing and retailing has chimed in, great. Getting called a moron by the guy who has gotten everything wrong about the future of comics is kind of funny. Ready to put a dollar bet on how this will be the biggest and last flop for Archie? How’s your thrillbent digital empire going? How are your poorly stocked comic shops that sell more toys than comics going? How is having to cow-tie to writing way too many failing monthly floppies working out for you? And you sold your physical comic collection five years before the biggest boom in back issues? Tell me again how you even know what’s going on in this industry Mark? Tell me how I’m exactly a moron Mark and you’re not.
Or before then when Dennis Barger was concerned about a sexualised cover appearing on IDW’s Powerpuff Girls and Mark Waid, then a retailer as well, replied,
Oh, for God’s sake. Dennis, this is the dumbest, most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard you say, and I HAVE PATIENTLY LISTENED TO YOU TALK A *LOT*.
Or when Barger was pushing for print dominance over digital for comic books,
Dennis Barger has apparently created his own anti-digital comics retailer coalition. That is ADORABLE.
— Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) March 6, 2014
The back and forth between the pair has been arduous. There is no love lost. Although back in 2012 when Mark Waid posted the following C2E2 report… though a clear division of belief, Waid clearly felt differently.
Recently Mark Waid turned up at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas to talk through his new lineup for the Humanoids H1 shared universe he is working on as Director Of Creative Development and, while there, to talk up his upcoming Marvel title The History Of The Marvel Universe and Invisible Woman.
Dennis Barger posted his take on what happened – and what happened afterwards. UPDATE: Mark Waid’s reply runs below.
I never had a chance to tell everyone about my diamond retailers summit run ins with the notorious tough guy “Mark Waid”.
First I didn’t even know he was coming to the event, as usual Diamond doesn’t bother finding out or telling retailers about these things. So when they announced Humanoids was coming up next with cco Mark Waid and some other exec I was all ears.
They have a presentation that was lack luster, retailers were not impressed (watch my video). Now we had ordered humanoids comics before, bought a healthy amount of their fcbd offering this year and it’s definitely not a success in my store (or any by my talks with other retailers) but sure I’ll listen to what they got. Waid chimes on about all the really heavy sjw content they have coming up, its mostly really laughable plots stealing from the very successful black mask publishers model (which we do stock). He punctuates his presentation with a joking call to donate to his loosing legal defense fund which you can hear me cackle at on the video. They end and he walks off stage.
I turned off my recording and as he’s walking by he points to me and tells the lady he’s with “see that guy, he’s one of the garbage humans I was telling you about”, always wise to tell a retailer at a retailers summit they are a “garbage human”.
He steers clear of me for most of the summit and on the day we are to go around and talk to publishers and get their catalogs and preview comics I work my way around to humanoids booth. As I walk up to humanoids booth mark immediately says “go away dennis you aren’t welcome here” while making the shoe away gestures with his hands.
I laugh at him and say “I’m a customer coming to check out your product, the lady immediately stands next to mark and remains silent. Mark just continues “go away Dennis we don’t want your business, you’re not even a real comic shop anymore” I again laugh at him and talk directly to the lady in hopes that she has sense “so I’m being denied the preview of your comics?” Mark reaches over and picks up his fcbd comic and throws it at me and says “you can have this”.
I bat it away from me and say “are you crazy throwing a comic at me, and besides I already have those I ordered them because I’m a customer, (looking directly at the lady I say), are you going to let your employees treat a customer like that?”
She says “I’ve known mark a long time and I’ll take his word for it” so I reply “well then you’ve lost a customer forever til you get rid of this hack fraud” so yeah the reason why I won’t be ordering anything humanoids puts out from here on in is because of the way it’s employee Mark Waid and whoever the lady exec was with him treated me at the diamond retailers summit in Las Vegas 2019.
When asked if Barger would also boycott Waid’s Marvel comics, he replied,
I will be carrying his marvel books but ordering tightly
With Rob Liefeld commiserating, who has had his own issues with Waid, saying ‘Wow. Sorry to hear that.’
UPDATE: Mark Waid has replied to Bleeding Cool enquiries made earlier today, saying:
For the record: No one made any sort of plea for donations, no one threw a comic book. Humanoids is eager to partner with retailers, is grateful for their attention, and realizes how critical they are to our success. Mr. Barger–who, to the best of my knowledge, no longer owns a comics store–was politely asked to remove himself after being openly disrespectful in numerous ways throughout the weekend to our sales manager. She–whose name Mr. Barger can’t be bothered to remember or even Google–invariably behaved with exemplary professionalism towards Mr. Barger despite (among other offenses) his referring to her throughout the weekend, repeatedly, only as “girl” or “Hey, girl.” Humanoids has a forty-year history of treating fans and retailers with courtesy and will continue to do so. Speaking not for Humanoids but for myself, however, I personally am sometimes less charitable towards those who are repeatedly disrespectful towards my fellow employees.