Beware the Valkyries



What’s your name?
My name is Sarah.

Which shop do you work at?
I work at Coliseum of Comics in Kissimmee, Fl.

What do you do for your shop?
I am usually all over the place, filling in for whatever needs doing, but my primary focus is back issuing and pricing.

How long have you worked there?

A year. I’ve been a subscriber there since I was a kid, so it feels really special to be apart of this place on the level that I am.

What are some of your favorite comics?
I stumbled upon an issue of Hellblazer, and I wanted it, and when my mother told me, “No, that’s too mature for you,” I wanted it even more. And so, without my mom’s permission or knowledge, I saved every penny and collected on every childhood debt to get my first Hellblazer trade, and was thrust into the world John Constantine inhabited. I haven’t been able to get out since. I don’t mind one bit, though. Other than that: Locke & Key, Saga, Pretty Deadly, Sex Criminals, Transmetropolitan, Authority, Planetary, Watchmen, Elektra Assassin, Wake, Sandman, and more.

Who are some of your favorites in the comics biz?
Warren Ellis, Dave McKean; Bill Sienkiewicz, Jonathan Hickman, Alan Moore, Matt Fraction, Joe Hill, Jason Aaron, Neil Adams, Gail Simone. Kelly Sue and Emma Rios are my current dynamic duo, though, as Pretty Deadly has been Pretty Awesome (good grief, disregard that last bit).

Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?
Agent Zero from Planetary because she’s bad ass. John Constantine from Hellblazer because he’s John Fucking Constantine. Lobo because I’m still ten, apparently. Storm because she’s a brilliant goddess. Jenny Sparks; Spider Jerusalem; Starman; Batwoman; Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers); Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew); Bode Locke; All of the Rat Queens, and much more!

What is your most prized comic book or collector’s item?
Honestly, the Marvel trading cards my grandfather gave me from the 70’s. Never fails to cheer me up.

Which comics do you recommend the most often?
I recommend East of West a lot because I never shut up about it. Saga is always a go to for me because of the rad story and beautiful art. Pretty Deadly, Rat Queens, Lazarus and Sex Criminals are the most recent, and for obvious reasons. I try to ask our patron’s as many questions as I can to see where their interests lie, so that I can better pick something to their liking. So, really, the recommending depends on the person I’m trying to get to know better and help.

What kind of events does your shop participate in or host?
We have a booth setup at Megacon every year in Orlando. We also do a lot of demoing for games (Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k, Vanguard, and Heroclix). Of course, Free Comic Book Day is always an event for us followed by “April Madness” since Megacon takes up most, if not all, of March.

Favorite webcomics/webcomic creators?
Gingerhaze is one of my absolute favorites. Her artwork is unique, and her personality is adorable. Of course, Kateordie, is another favorite of mine and how I stumbled onto the Valkyries!

If you could only read one graphic novel for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Oh, man, what a cruel question. I believe the answer would have to be Blankets by Craig Thompson. It’s a graphic novel that I reread almost every year, and it still leaves me with this sense of heaviness that starts out painfully familiar into a heaviness akin to something like hope.

What other things are you a fan of (TV shows, novels, movies, ect)?
As far as books go, I love me some Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski, Shel Silverstein, Edgar Allan Poe, and the like. I don’t watch a lot of television (mostly because I don’t have the time, but also partly because I don’t have cable), but I’ve somehow fallen face first into Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human. Punk, heavy metal, cats and tattoos are things I’m also a fan of.

Do you collect anything?
I have a small collection of license plates, and a not so small collection of notebooks. I always feel like I need to have a million of them just sitting around.

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? What would you use it for?
I would love to have a healing factor for the simple fact that I could stab myself repeatedly in the thigh with a fork as a magic trick at weddings.

Do you believe there is other life in the universe, and if so, what do you imagine it looks like?
I think so, yeah, and I bet they think we’re god awfully ugly, and that’s why they won’t text us back.

Do you go to any conventions?
Megacon. I would love to go to other conventions, but money and whatnot.

Are you a cosplayer? If so, what characters have you cosplayed?
Oh, no. I do not have the talent for that, unfortunately! I admire people who do, though, because it requires a lot of time, money, and dedication that only a hardcore fan of said character could muster.

Outside of the day job, what other cool stuff are you working on?
I’m actually preparing to go to school to become a librarian. I also help run a support group for people with lupus in my community. If I’m not doing one of those two things then I’m most likely roaming the dog parks, drinking and talk shop with friends, or hunting around in a used book store.

Tell us an uplifting story about working in your shop!
I think one of the sweetest and most sincere moments to ever happen to me was when this woman brought in a couple of boxes full of comics, explaining they had belonged to her son before he had passed away in a car accident. She told me how, for a long time, she couldn’t let them go, but time kept passing by, and they just sat in his room, no new issues, no new titles, nothing to bag and board anymore, just sat there. “I don’t want to sell these. I just want to give children the chance to find the same kind of joy in these that my son did,” she said. So, what we ended up doing, was dividing the comics and giving them to children for free who then sent emails to the woman letting her know that they got them, and how much they enjoyed them.

What do you love about being a Valkyrie?
I love being surrounded by this awesome net of women who share similar experiences and passions. I love that the Valkyries are an open secret.

How can we find you on the vast expanse of the internet?
Tumblr @mudandflame
Facebook @Sarah Nieves