Wednesday Comments – Friendly Neighborhood Comic Shops

Like many folks, I went to see The Dark Knight Rises at a midnight showing on Thursday. It was a great experience and it was one that was wholly made possible by Sheldon the guy who owns my friendly neighborhood comic shop.

I’ve been very fortunate in my travels to encounter some of the coolest comic shop owners ever. They’ve totally hooked me up in a variety of ways. Seriously, they’ve touched me to the point that I’ll never forget them and try my best to pass that kindness on to others.

So the first dude at a comic shop who hooked me up was someone whose name has been lost to time. It was like ten or twelve years ago. Now this was back when DC and Marvel were still including a few of “next week’s titles” in with the current week’s books. It was a cool promotional move and it certainly allowed me to flip through some of the cool books a week early.

Anyway, this dude’s shop was in Towson and it wasn’t really a popular shop. Whenever I went there it was pretty empty. On the plus side it allowed me to strike up several conversations with this guy. We had a sort of friendship. Granted it was a friendship based on a mutual love of comics, and we never really exchanged names, but it was a friendship.

But the moment that slayed me was when this guy totally hooked me up. I forget what we were talking about, probably about my love for Batman: Year One, but he recommended Daredevil: Born Again. I told him that I’d never read it and he looked at me incredulously. Then he went to back of the store, grabbed a copy of the Born Again trade and handed it to me.

I told him that I didn’t have the money for the trade and he told me he was letting me borrow it. He said that I simply had to read it and that I could drop it off the next time I was in the area.

It was such a cool moment and I was genuinely touched. I devoured it and returned it. But I never forgot it.

During my time in Las Vegas I had two comic shops that I visited. The first was the defunct Dark Tower Comics. That was the shop that I went to on a weekly basis It was the closest one to where I was living and I really connected with it’s owner, Daron.

Daron was also from Tucson, so we bonded over that in addition to comics. He was first comic shop owner who would comp me copies of Previews, so that I could get a peek at what was comic down the line and order accordingly. It was good times.

The other shop that I visited occasionally was Alternate Reality Comics. Without a doubt Alternate Reality is the best comic shop in town. The only problem was that it’s located by UNLV which was on the opposite side of town from where I was living. It would literally take me hours to get there if it was my local shop.

But whenever I went in, Ralph Mathieu was as polite and cordial as anyone I’ve ever encountered. He’s got this mellow demeanor and is just so casual that you really feel like a welcomed guest in his shop.

Ralph always had great recommendations for me. And what was even better is how we’d talk about other things. For instance, when I mentioned that I’d moved to Vegas from Baltimore, he told me how much he loved Homicide: Life on the Streets, which prompted a lengthy discussion about that show and others filmed in Baltimore.

That’s why I’m always glad to see when Ralph Mathieu’s name comes up in the comic press and why I’m never surprised when it’s associated with glowing praise.

And that finally brings me to my current shop, Amazing Spiral. Sheldon, the owner, looks out for me. When DC’s New 52 was selling out first issues left and right, Sheldon hooked me up and made sure that I got a copy of every debut.

He’s done the same with Thief of Thieves and Saga. In fact when my cousin expressed interest in Saga, Sheldon helped me track down the first three issues, so I could hook my cousin up.

And of course there is The Dark Knight Rises. The film was playing at the Rotunda, which was the only midnight showing in town. I tried to get a ticket online and struck out. I also tried to get a ticket over the phone, but to no avail. Finally I reached out to Sheldon and he not only got me a ticket and had it waiting for me at the theater, but he paid for it. Granted, he knew I was going to get my books on Wednesday, so he could recoup, but he still went above and beyond to hook me up.

So there you have it. Those are the comic shop owners who have hooked me up and earned my gratitude. They make me proud to support local comic shops.

Since it’s Wednesday, I highly suggest you hit up your local comic shop and buy some new comics.

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