As I mentioned in my last post, a significant amount of my summer has been spent away from my humble Little Rock abode. For a handful of months every year, my job allows me to sate my wanderlust and travel to various locals throughout the United States. During this time, I fall drastically behind on my current readings, and inevitably return to an impressive yet daunting stack of current comics. (Fortunately, the local comic shop I frequent, Kapow! Comics in Sherwood, Arkansas, goes above and beyond to ensure that my pull list is always completed. Hi guys!) Now, anyone taking the time to read this blog would agree with me that spending those few months void of the sequential art that we all love would be a drab and miserable existence, but worry not, and recall the old lemons/lemonade/vodka proverb. We have the power of gods via Google. The internet has bestowed on us the ability to, at any time, interact with hateful strangers overdosing on anonymity, as well as locate whatever it is that we are coveting with minimal effort. Apes have sticks, Otters have rocks, we have SIRI. This summer, my travels took me to the towns of Killeen, TX and Atlanta, GA where I cast a digital net out and was happily rewarded. Should you find yourselves in these locals, here are a few shops that you might benefit from.
Killeen, TX is home to two (that I found) local comic book shops, “Book Stan” and “America’s Heroes Comics and Games.” I visitedthem both, flipped through some back issues, made some small talk, and bought a few floppies.
- “Book Stan” is a small store that would have an impressive amount of back issues…if you could get to them. The store has created an island out of long oxes stacked three high, two deep Not those nifty drawer boxes mind you, long boxes. Three-four high. According to the older fellow manning the counter, the boxes on bottom don’t contain any books, so no one is missing out. I’m curious by nature. I looked in two separate spots. Full of books. If this wasn’t enough of a eye roll enducing exhibit, one entire side of the back issue section is blocked off by folding tables, which I’m sure are used during gaming tournaments. Book Stan does have a notable selection of toys, recent trades, and the usual graphic novels, but this location didn’t have any key issues to speak of. According to the clerk, there is a sister store on the Texas-Lousiana border, but I am unable to recall the town. If collectors are looking to fill in some holes in more recent runs, by all means, stop in and peruse. You may find what you are looking for.
- America’s Heroes Comics and Games is right around the corner from it’s competitor, less than a 4 minute drive. The store does a great job of separating its gaming area from its comic book nook. At first, you may find their back issue selection small and generic, but then you’ll find out that there is an entire back room filled with dozens of easily accessible long and short boxes filled with a wide variety of recent and older bronze age books. You could spend hours in that blessed back room, and I did. The store also has a healthy inventory of trades and graphic novels, and a few rack of really cool t-shirts. (Think: WeLoveFine) Again, this store didn’t have a big key issue selection, however, I purchase an Avengers Vol.1 #69, in great condition. Lastly, I need to brag on the staff of this store. They will make you feel like you are in your home shop. The clerk was personable, knowledgable, and gave a quality of customer service that is not often found.
The last part of my work related adventures took me to the southern gem that is Atlanta, Georgia. There are more comic shops packed in and around this city than I could possibly visit in the 4 days I was there. However, I did my best. Here are a few of them that I found.
- Dr. No’s Comics.
This store is has a fantastic selection of, well, everything. If you are looking for a trade of graphic novel, chances are they have it in stock. Resin statues? they probably have it. If you are a serious co
llector with a penchant for shelf porn, they have an entire wall of pricey Artist’s Editions and Omnibus Collections. Teir back issues are a little over priced, but you can find books that other places don’t have, so it’s a give and take. I found a good issue of Young Avengers #1, few early ’80s Incredible Hulks, and some ’70s era Batman that I’d been looking for. Big thumbs up.
- Criminal Records is more of a second hand vinyl store, but I was pleasantly surprised by its wares. If you are at all OCD, this store will probably drive you a little insane, but was a blast digging through not only its comics, but the eclectic collection of any and everything you could imagine being in there. It’s also next door to a vintage toy store. Basically, my advice to you is spend at least a day in the Little Five Points neighborhood and just take it all in.
- Teahouse Comics is a fun little neighborhood store that is full of friendly people and really well kept up. It doesn’t have a very in depth selection but if you need to get a new release, they can hook you up.
- Titan Comics is the store that I spent most of my time in, partially because it was closest to my hotel, partially because the were having a 50% back issue sale to compete with DragonCon. It worked. I completed my Incredible Hercules Run, almost completed my Batwoman New 52 run, and put a big dent in my Secret Wars tie-in collection. Every single back issue was bagged and boarded. Thats impressive. It also had a great variant issue selection, and its open late. #Win.
So, all in all, I had a great summer and came home with some great books. In fact, my “carry on” for my flight home was a short box, because it would have put my checked luggage over weight. *Hint: FedEx your stuff. Now I get to categorize it all, put it into my library, unpack, and get caught up on this gigantic pile of awesome sitting in my office. I hope this is a help to anyone who may be in the areas, and look for more “All Who Wander…” posts.