Since there are a handful of comic book stores that I really, really like (and sometimes love), I thought I’d make a little post for each one. So, without further ado:
I love Atlanta. But there are places that are more lovable than others. My favorite places are comic book stores. It’s a love-hate relationship, though. One I can never resist. Or quit. I can’t walk away. I have an addiction.
You see, comic book stores are more likely to be unorganized, run by grumpy men in wrinkled shirts and full of the disappointment of searching for that ever-elusive issue (and I’m on strike four with Batgirl # 13). The one you haven’t found in three stores, which for some reason you refuse to call around and locate. Or order online. No, no–you will hunt the beast with your own damn hands. And that’s why you keep going back: because you love the hunt and the kill and the glare of old men who expect you to put that comic back just the way you found it. In this alleged alphabetized order that is truly a myth? Sure thing.
So, I’ve been to a handful of the stores around Atlanta–from Johns Creek to Marietta to right around the corner in Stockbridge. And I’ve got favorites for different reasons:
- Book End (because of its friendly neighborhood appeal and the fact that Paul–the owner–really is friendly and wonders where the hell I’ve been if I take too long to come back)
- Oxford Comics (for its extensive background and the folks who run it and know just exactly which comics they have and don’t have)
- Great Escape (great set-up, great service and a huge catalog including shelves and shelves of graphic novel glory)
- Teahouse Comics (where Shelley & Co are extremely friendly and knowledgeable, not only about their inventory, but what “age” a comic might be in and whether she’d have it, as well as how all of the multi-universe of comics fit together–had an interesting conversation about New Mutants)
- Criminal Records (due to a great location despite horrific parking, great services and knowledgeable staff)
So, while I make a day out of going to some comic places (like Criminal Records, due to being a little out of the way), I’ll visit BookEnd in Stockbridge on a whim, because it only takes 10 minutes to get there. And because it’s the quintessential neighborhood comic book shop.
It’s in a less than shiny shopping center. There are no whistles or bells. The sign outside is as to the point as the store and proprietor Paul.
But Paul is also friendly as all get out. He knows his stock, even if he’s note quite sure where that issue might be right at that moment. He’s quick to offer ordering what you’re looking and even quicker to shoot the breeze.
For loyal customers, discounts abound. I can always count on getting more for my buck when I visit Book End, which makes for a very happy, if over-enthused (and possibly broke) comic lover. I figure that the discounts are more of a ploy to encourage spending than a show of good will; but it works. I often leave with more than I came for and even if my account doesn’t like it, I do
Less advertised is Paul’s big book collection in the back. They’re mostly older paperbacks, but a girl (or a guy) could happily get lost back there, even if I personally spend most of my time wearing the carpet thin in front of the back stock.
Paul is also willing to allow magic gatherings…er, card game players to use his store as a meet site. And boy, is it a meet site. : ) But there’s always an easy going air about the place that keeps me coming back.
And I’ve got this thing, habit, ritual–I never get just comics when I go to a comic book store. I have to get food, too. I guess since I’m also a foodie in training? Either way, for Book End, it’s typically slushies, as there’s a Sonic’s not even five miles down the road.
And oddly enough the slushies make the comics even better.