There is a stereotype about comic book fans, perpetrated by the media, by movies, by TV shows that they’re socially awkward, not the best at social cues, and sometimes quite smelly.

Not all stereotypes are true. This one ... well, this one may be kind of true.

It is true enough, at least, that one comic book store has had to institute a “smell policy” to try to improve the atmospheric conditions inside its space. Mayhem Comics and Games of Ames, Iowa posted on their Facebook page that as a result of “complaints from other players and customers about certain people’s odors making it uncomfortable for them to be in the store” they are now insisting upon some basic hygiene for all customers.

“Please wash your bodies with proper soap and shampoo, in addition to wearing clean clothes in the store,” the policy reads.

“As much as we may like you, we cannot have your smell interrupt our business. If we receive a complaint or smell you ourselves we reserve the right to ask you to leave and refuse business.”

READ MORE: What One Man Learned Reading Every Marvel Comic Ever Published

I worked for several years in a comic book store in New Jersey way back when. To my relief, I must admit, we generally did not have a major issue with smelly customers. Our biggest problem was “customers” who came into the store, pulled down books off the shelf, then stood in the store and read them, then put them back on the shelf and left without buying anything. This isn’t a library! (There were a few occasions where people bought comics, then tried to return them a few hours later because they didn’t like them. That’s not how this works!)

Now, years later I spent like five years covering San Diego Comic-Con for IFC. At Comic-Con, where fans were camping out overnight in lines, where it was often 80 or 90 degrees in the hot California sun, there — to paraphrase a great buster of ghosts — I smelled s— that'll turn you white. I would have loved a smell policy like this one at Comic-Con. It doubt it would have been enforceable, but it would have been nice.

Based on what I can see on their website and social media, Mayhem Comics looks like a great store. If you live in Ames (or Des Moines; they have a second store there), you should definitely check them out. Just make sure you put on some deodorant first.

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