RUSS: Ah, Orion -- or, as the Greeks knew him, "the hunter" -- was indeed a man on the prowl . . . for good comics. When the Colorado-based Mile High Comics chain had a store here in Southern California, Orion was the manager. Unfortunately, apparently, "manager" is a weighty term; "ringleader" may be more like it, as his, um, peculiarity reflected both his staff and core customer base . . . of which I was proud to be a part.
Don't get me wrong. Orion was a great, hospitable spokesman for the comic book retailer industry. He let an unknown indie publisher like K.O. Comix host more than one promotional event in his store, he and his staff hosted a local indie press expo, and he was flexible with prices when regular customers really wanted a comic. He just wouldn't make eye contact with you while he cut that deal -- or ever. Looking at this old Comic Con picture, I doubt Orion even knew he was at the K.O. booth. He may very well think he's ordering a Big Mac from my big, orange head, like I'm a drive-thru speaker box. Thank goodness he didn't lean in for a bite.
I don't know why Orion stopped working with Mile High -- nor do I suspect he was related to its fatal, mysterious fire a few years later. Considering his pure passion for comics, I would never make such wild accusations. That would hitting below the belt. Right below Orion's belt.