13 REASONS the Comics Shop Is the Grooviest Place on Earth

Wednesday, Nov. 22, is Local Comic Shop Day!

Taking its cue from grass-roots events like Record Store Day and Small Business Saturday is Local Comic Shop Day, which this year is Wednesday, Nov. 22 — the day before Thanksgiving.

How do you celebrate? Simple: Between swinging by the bakery to pick up the freshest pumpkin pie and hitting the supermarket to pick up your last minute Turkey Day essentials, stop by your local comics shop and buy something. Buy many things. Do some early holiday shopping.

Whatever it is that draws you to your comics shop, make sure you go Wednesday to show your love and support — not just for the store but for fandom at large.


You Can Get Comics There. The obvious reason. Whether it’s new releases, old favorites or picking out back issues that you’ve wanted for awhile, your comics shop is the best place to go. There is absolutely nothing like that weekly thrill of grabbing a stack, knowing that you’ve got some great escapist entertainment just ahead of you.

Aw Yeah Comics in Harrison, N.Y.

You Can Fly Your Flag. OK, let’s face it: Not every comics store is a good one. There are still those troglodyte caves run by icky, judgmental gatekeepers who are threatened by anyone who doesn’t look or think like they do. You have official 13th Dimension permission not to support those businesses and find an alternative. But it’s been my experience in the 21st century that most comics shops offer clean, informative and friendly environments where you can be proud to fly whatever flag you want and be yourself.

A Welcome Atmosphere. My local comics shop is Aw Yeah Comics in Harrison, N.Y., run day to day by a mensch named Marc Hammond, who greets everyone who walks through the door. Marc loves what he does and loves holding court. Go in for 10 minutes and you stay for 30. (His partners in crime are famed cartoonists Franco and Art Baltazar. There are also Aw Yeah stores in Skokie, Illinois, and Muncie, Indiana, the latter run by our old pal Christina Blanch.)

Famous cartoonist Art Baltazar and Marc Hammond

Big Comics Shops Are Still Local Businesses. I’m also a big fan of Midtown Comics in New York City, which has multiple, exceptionally well-stocked locations in Manhattan. The stores are more bustling than your typical LCS so you may run into a clerk who is having a prickly day. But that’s not typical. When you’re a regular, it’s like Cheers — everyone knows your name. And when you’re a tourist, the staff is very helpful.

Midtown Comics, Grand Central location

It’s a Time Capsule. Readers of the site know of my obsession with Facsimile Editions. Part of the appeal is walking into a shop and seeing Action Comics #1 on the racks. Or Amazing Spider-Man #121. Or Batman #181. It’s like passing through a ribbon in time and for a moment, you’re in 1938, or 1973, or 1966.

Party like it’s 1973!

The Possibilities Are Endless. OK, so old comics aren’t your thing. Fair enough. That may come in time. The beauty of comics is that there really is virtually something for everyone: superheroes, noir, romance, fantasy, adult content, kid content, sci-fi, you name it. Not sure whether you might like something? Ask. Or just take the plunge and see if the issue speaks to you. You may find something that will change your life.

All Ages. One of my absolute favorite things to see at a comics shop is a parent bringing their kids. Especially the patient parents or the ones who are fans themselves. It’s thrilling to watch a boy or girl’s face light up at a comic that really caught their eye. To see Mom or Dad, or Uncle or Aunt, or whoever it is, encourage that burgeoning imagination, and to see that kid crackling with excitement is always a sweet, special moment.

Different Strokes for Different Folks. I’m a middle-aged dude who’s pretty set in his ways in terms of what interests me — mostly older comics. That doesn’t mean I’m close-minded or judgmental. Quite the opposite. I simply recognize that most comics produced today are for a different audience; they’re not made for me. And that’s exactly as it should be. The comics industry is destined to extinction if it doesn’t shift with the times. Adapt or die, y’know? So I like that a teenage girl can go to the same store as I can and find her joy just like me. Because if she loves comics as much as I do, she will pass that on to others, just as I have, especially to my son, who’s now an adult himself.

You Can Keep Trying New Things. I gave up on most modern comics a few years ago because they didn’t speak to me and I realized there were thousands of Silver and Bronze Age (not to mention Golden Age) comics I’d never read. So I went about exploring and really, when you think about it, I’m set for life with the libraries of the past. But Marc gently and persistently worked on me to try Nightwing and Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. He knew they’d press my buttons: Those series are new and fresh and yet feature heroes who are recognizable to me. Nightwing especially — writer Tom Taylor’s version of Dick Grayson is exactly how I’d imagined the grown-up Teen Wonder would be like. And now my wife — who is not a comics regular — loves it too.

Such a Deal. Build a rapport with your LCS owner and you can make deals better than anything you’d find online. Or maybe you’ll get a freebie or two that the owner wants you to try. Treat each other with respect, be open-minded, and you can end up with a couple extra comics in your bag. Or, you can always try to sell a few to the owner, or work out a trade for store credit. It’s mercantile recycling!

Midtown Comics hosts dedicated Buying Days.

Comics Creators — They’re Just Like Us. Used to be that the vast majority of comics creators were based in the New York area, but with the explosion of technology over the last few decades, you can be a star writer or artist and live anywhere. What that means is that your local comics shop is more likely than ever to be able to host signings and other events with the people whose work you admire. Generally speaking — there are always exceptions — most writers and creators are humble, approachable and very much willing to chat. You’ll find that what excites you about comics, frequently excites them too. They just have the ability to create, which sets them apart — but not to the degree that they are unapproachable celebrities. Plus, there are often great events that have nothing to do with creators, like pizza parties, game nights, and on and on.

Walter and Louise Simonson, flanked by the staff of Aw Yeah-Harrison, and friends

Toys! Toys! Toys! Most comics shops cannot get by just by selling comics, so they branch out in toys, games and other memorabilia. It’s just another way to put your own personal stamp on fandom and enjoy what it is you love so much.

The Fondest, Warmest Memories. Some of my favorite memories involve going to comics shops through my formative years. There was the one in Highland Park, N.J., in the 1970s that didn’t last long. There was the comics seller at the sadly defunct Route 1 Flea Market in Edison, N.J., which was as much a comics shop as any, even if it was a relatively small stall sandwiched between dealers of auto parts and sparkly T-shirts. There were all the wonderful places I went to shop while living in Boston — New England Comics, which had a shop a few blocks from my apartment and one a few blocks from my office; Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square; even Newbury Comics, which was more record store than comics store. In my mind, all those visits have a golden hue.

Again, Local Comic Shop Day is Wednesday, Nov. 22. Participating is as simple as shopping at your local store, though some are likely to have special events, too. Contact your shop. And for more information, check out the Local Comic Shop Day website.


— MY COMIC SHOP COUNTRY: A Documentary. Click here.

— Inside the Mad, Mad World of the Modern Comics Shop. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. And when you stop by the bakery for that pie, pick up some doughnuts for your shop’s staff to enjoy or share with their customers!

    The problem with Local Comic Shop Day being the day before Thanksgiving is that most comic shops have Black Friday specials, but it would make LCS Day more special if there were specials on that day too. LCS owners, why not offer your Black Friday specials on LCS Day too, for a two-day before-and-after event. Seems like on the day after Thanksgiving I’m always out-of-town (in some place with no LCS) and I don’t get to shop my LCS’s Black Friday sale. An LCS Day sale would bring me in and probably several others who face the same thing.

    Dan, most of us know and have seen what you’re talking about in your “Fly Your Flag” paragraph… but be careful, you get dangerously close to sounding ex-clusive. For everyone to be able to fly their own flag, those judgers (unless they’re breaking right-to-service laws) get to fly theirs too. Comic shop owners should be able to run their store in a way that fits their community, but where they’re in the wrong, their lack of sales and support should speak loudly. I’ve never seen a bad comic shop that didn’t cause it’s own eventual demise.

    Post a Reply
    • “Not that Joe”, I give you credit for mentioning it. I myself made the decision long ago to let commentary on cultural aspects of comics roll off my back. The world is too huge for us all to agree. Shoot….some of us can’t agree on the ‘proper’ name for the Big Red Cheese. And those topics I’m okay with here at 13 Dimension. I come here to relive and share old memories.

      For me comics are a medium that I wish the industry left to the pre-teen population. Many I am sure will disagree and I suspect many might agree with me.

      Post a Reply
  2. wow.. i use to buy comics at Million Year Picnic too..
    from 1973 to 1983..
    you could buy silver age books for $1 in the bins!

    Post a Reply
  3. My first “comic store” was a place called Presto’s Books and Magic that I discovered in 1976. It was run by Presto of course who sold magic tricks and comics. It was my first time buying back issues which was absolutely wonderful. Remember getting good runs of the Hulk by Hern Trimpe and Sal Beaucema, Invaders, the Human Fly, Ross Andrew Spider-Man, Kirby comics George Tuska Iron-Man and many others. I bought Spider-Man 39 John Romitas first issue and remembering how cool that was because at the time it was the oldest comic I ever owned. Such good memories going there.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: