Now, I know you know how to google or ask Siri, Cortana, or whoever to find comic stores near you, but how do you know if this particular comic store is the right store for you. I mean, you can always go with your gut. Do you feel at home there, yes, then maybe it is the right place for you, no, maybe move on to the next one. Also, if there is only one store in a half an hour radius you are probably stuck with that one for better or for worse.
However, if you are lucky enough to have several withing a reasonable distance and you aren’t sure what to look for, this is the guide for you.
- The People: I am putting this first because for me it is the most important. While at school I was forced to buy my comics at a store where the owner didn’t believed I honestly liked comics for my own good. He thought the only reason I would read comics was to trick a guy into falling for me. Now, this is despite wearing a Deadpool hat, having several different comic pins on my jackets, wearing several different comic related shirts and the look about me that if I didn’t belong in a library I might next be found at some convention or other, but in any case, it made me uncomfortable to go there. It was lucky for me that he hired a girl to work there on the weekends and she was entirely charming and worth visiting, but if the people are making you uncomfortable it is time to move on.
- Displays: The comic shop I normally use while I’m home has recently moved away from selling comics to marketing more niche things, like records, and nerdy clothing. You want some mustache leggings, that is the place to be, you wan’t last weeks issue of Low, they probably can’t help you. I knew I needed to find a new store when they took their already tiny comic display and went from three shelving units, to 1. If they aren’t making the space to display the new comics, they aren’t going to be getting very many and that isn’t helpful to you. The store should not only stock the comics you are interested but many others and it should be a resource for finding new ones. Often comic shops are also game stores or hobby stores, and you can tell which section they care about by the space they devote to it. Even distribution is fine, just make sure you can get what you want from them.
- Location: If you plan to subscribe to a certain comic you need to make sure you can get to the store once a month. You might have found the perfect store but if it is an hour commute in the next state over, it might not be the best place for you as home base. Now, again, I am putting this underneath the other two tips because sometimes we are willing to make the sacrifice of our hard earned gas money or bus fair for the perfect community space, but if you aren’t then this is something you need to keep in mind. You might have to compromise on something else.
Those are the things that I rank as being particularly important when choosing a comic shop. Of course there are smaller nuances that you might want to decide, as in if you prefer new or old comics, you might want to find stores that have huge back logs or carry more trade paperbacks, etc. These are things specific to you and your needs and that is something you can keep in mind when picking.
I have found my new home, it is about 20 minutes away from me in a slightly larger city, tucked away in a strip mall. It might not look like much on the outside but it was like my own personal candy store inside. Hopefully next week I can do a pull for you guys so you can see the comics I have been picking up this winter season, and I might even discuss some of the ones I am interested in going into the spring!
I will be back on Friday to discuss my March Wrap Up. (Oh My God guys its almost April… where is this year going?)