Guest Post – Comic Book Stores: One of Life’s Greatest Joys

Posted: November 29, 2010 by realscratchpad in Authors, Comics, Comics Editorials, Manga4Life
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Note: Thanks to Manga4Life, for allowing us to re-post one of his many blog posts. Check out his stuff over at The Thought Corner. ~ RacattackForce

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What is it you like most about walking into your favorite comic book store? Is it the cool stuff you see scattered all over the store that you wish you had the cash to buy? Is it the smell of fresh comic books that have been recently opened and set on the shelves mixed with the smell of the back issue bins? Is it the great characters that grace the walls and the windows that draw dorks of all ages into the store to spend their hard earned money? Well, for me it is probably a mix of all the reasons I have just mentioned…

Honestly, the hard truth is that I love comic book stores and I love spending time inside of them even if I don’t plan on buying anything.  However, I usually always like to pick up at least one comic as gratitude for the store being in business in this day and age. I’ll tell you something:, back in the 80’s and the 90’s, there were tons of places where you could buy comics. Hobby shops seemed to be everywhere and there was always a good comic book store in every town I visited, but these days the medium is a mere husk of what it once was and these kinds of places have become a rare breed since then. It’s sad.

Comic book stores aren’t for everyone, but for me, there is a certain feeling I get when I have a pocket full of cash and a couple of hours to burn. I’m always on the hunt to complete a collection or to pick up something new, so large comic book stores with loads of back issue bins are where I feel at home the most. As a hardcore collector it’s all about the thrill of the hunt for me, so I try to avoid ordering comics online unless I absolutely cannot find what I’m looking for anywhere. But I usually will travel quite far just to find a specific issue of something I am hunting. I also tend to avoid having a pull list with my core store of choice, and also I enjoy scanning the new arrivals rack to find exactly what it is I’m after: I guess I love the feeling I get when I find it and have the latest issue of what I’m reading in my hands. It’s a great feeling as a hobbyist.

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When I was a kid, the feeling of going to the comic book store was one of wonder and excitement. These days I still get excited, but since I know what I’m after I always have a mix of emotions because even though I’m excited, I’m also nervous that the store won’t have what I need; it’s all a part of being a collector I suppose. See, when I was a kid, I didn’t really have a game plan as to what I was going to buy. I would walk around and my mom or dad would give me $5 and tell me to buy whatever I wanted, so I immediately went for the Batman or Spider-Man comic that had the coolest cover, or sometimes I would buy a Superman comic because I knew he was the biggest hero of them all. That was the innocence of reading comics as a kid: I didn’t care what issue I had as long as it featured classic characters and had a lot of fighting in it, and I didn’t care about buying more comics from the series because I was far from a completionist back then, and just having a comic book with Spider-Man on the cover was good enough for me. As an adult you care more about completing a story, finishing a set or owning certain key issues to make your collection stronger, so visiting the comic book store as an adult definitely has a different feeling than when you went to one as a child, but it still offers thrills and excitement nonetheless. Just different.

I will probably never stop collecting and reading comic books: I really feel as if it’s in my blood and I have been collecting off and on since around 1988, so I don’t see any reason to stop now. Heck, I see people who are probably 20-30 years older than me buying comics when I visit the stores, so I can see that they feel the same way. I remember more than a few times I went to a special “invitation only” 1/2 off event at one certain comic book shop, and for every teenager in the store I would say there was 3 or 4 folks in their 30’s and 40’s with check off sheets of comics they needed. One guy actually had 2 long boxes filled from front to back full of titles he was buying right then and there. That’s some serious collecting! These people take their comic books seriously and their collections seriously, and I find that the older I get, the more serious of a collector I become. I just don’t want to lose the fun of it all, so once in a while I slow it down and focus on having fun and being carefree about my comic books, and trust me, it helps with the psyche of being a fan of the medium. Well, I don’t really know what the point of this post was, I just kind of wanted to discuss comic books for a moment and talk about some fond memories I have of visiting hobby stores and being a fan of comics as a whole. I’m sure you all have some great experiences with visiting stores near you so feel free to let me know of any that you want to share, but I guess I’m going to wrap this up for now.

As always I want to thank those who took the time to read my blog, it’s much appreciated and you can always check me out at Twitter, as well as TZ and JD.

Take care,
***Manga4life***

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