The Value of Local Comic Book Shops

The first thing you’ll find listed on my page of Comic Book Resources are links that help you find your local comic book shop. I also declare…

There is no better single resource than your local comic book shop (LCBS). Please consider your local retailer first before shopping online.

My First Comic Shop (It Only Happens Once)

Already a voracious reader, I “discovered” comics by accident in my mid-teens. Soon after, I discovered that comic shops were a thing, and that there was one in town.

I lived far enough outside of town that I had to bike (insert quick map check) three miles to the closest city bus stop. From there, I took the bus another 12 miles (and one transfer) to the other side of town and Curious Comics – on the campus of Michigan State University.

Curious Comics was located on a second floor – above its “parent” – East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop. Though the book shop is still a campus staple, the comics portion closed long ago.

Significant Memories

Still, it was it that crowded upstairs shop where:

  • I met author Harlan Ellison. I was already somewhat familiar with some of his stories, but he’d just written Daredevil #208, and I brought it to be autographed. The line wound throughout the store and down the stairs. I remember him seeming amused to see the comic.
    “What was it like to write Daredevil?” I asked him when I got up front. “Well he’s really just a blind Batman,” he replied. That was enough to blow my teen-aged starstruck mind, so I nodded knowingly, thanked him, and left on cloud nine.
  • I met Dave Sim and Gerhard. Same setting. The two of them at a table as the line snaked through the store and down the stairs. Lots of laughter in the room as all conversed. This was probably somewhere around issue #85-95. It was a running gag that all Gerhard had to do was draw bricks – since the backgrounds in so many issues at the time were just page after page of brick walls. So, at the signing, they were selling original sketches of bricks for $5 each. You paid you money, and they drew your brick right there on the spot.

Your local shop may not always be able to compete with online deals or inventory. Instead, the true value of a good local shop comes from:

  • the sense of community it can foster, the wealth of hobby-related knowledge its employees possess,
  • A good local shop should:make new comers feel welcome
  • be ready with suggestions based on your tastes
  • have age-appropriate advice when buying for children
  • be able to special order books* or point you in the right direction
  • offer a pull/subscription service*
  • * Advance deposit/commitment to pay is not inappropriate in some instances
  • Owning a comic shop is often a labor of love and rarely an endeavor one ever gets rich from. Covid-19 made things exponentially worse

Owning a comic shop is too often a labor of love and rarely a profession one gets rich from. The effects of Covid-19 on the industry as a whole have been wide-spread, and the trickle-down has seen the local business owner forced into closing their shops.