Friday, August 15, 2014

Comic Shop Road Trip

I've been traveling, so this week's post is a bit late. I'm currently in my hometown of Atlanta surrounded by baseball, The Vortex, (slightly) less humidity, and OH MY GODS THE TRAFFIC!!! How the hell did it get worse?! I swear it is some ingenious plan by the likes of Crawly* to trick hundreds of thousands of people to very, very slowly draw unholy sigils across the city while their souls are rendered forfeit.

Spaghetti Junction is very real, and clearly unholy.
Seriously, I shouldn't have to sit in bumper to bumper traffic at 3am on a Thursday to go to the store for a Coke and a jar of vanilla frosting (don't judge me).

Everything about this is wrong. Everything.
Nevertheless, I decided to pull up my big girl panties, grab my pull list and my best friend, Jenn, and brave the soul-sucking traffic conditions to explore some of the comic shops Atlanta has to offer. My first stop was the Titan Comics I used to walk to every week as a kid. Much like love and sex, you never forget your first comic shop. Mine was a small shop in the middle of a street known for scores of lingerie stores advertising "live models", strip clubs, and street walkers. It should have come as no surprise then, when I pulled into the parking lot and felt the last, little bit of my childhood die:

Excuse me while I softly weep in the corner.
Downtrodden, but not undaunted, we drove to my other favorite comic shop in the city. Oxford Comics and Games was one of three Oxford shops in Atlanta. The other two (cleverly named Oxford and Oxford II) were amazing, little book stores that overflowed with teenagers and college students at any given moment. Unfortunately, both book stores closed down years ago, probably because teenagers aren't known for having an abundance of disposable income, and everyone who worked there was unfriendly at best and perpetually bored. Luckily, comic books remained relatively cheap through the 90s, and geeks aren't known for our social skills anyway, so Oxford Comics survived.

To my delight, Oxford Comics was precisely how I remembered it, right down to the musty book smell and racks of comic books, magazines, and action figures crammed into every nook available. I filled my pull list, picked up an adorable Harley Quinn figure as a bonus, and may or may not have inappropriately fondled their copy of the Deadpool Omnibus (seriously, stop judging me).

She's so tiny!!
The one noticeable change we encountered was the staff. The guys working there were not the geekier-than-thou, Captain Sweatpants types we remembered from years ago. They were friendly, helpful, and downright chatty. In fact, we were having such a lovely conversation about geek fashion that I actually had to remind them to take my money. It was an overall comfortable, enjoyable, and fruitful visit, and I'm very happy to say I can still recommend Oxford Comics to anyone in the Atlanta area.

The only thing we did not find anywhere in Oxford was Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman Overture'. Since Jenn wanted to pick up an alternate copy of #2 with the cover art that matched her copies of #1 and #3, we decided to head just outside of Atlanta proper to Teahouse Comics in Sandy Springs.

Like most comic shops we're used to, this one's in a strip mall.
Now, neither of us had heard of Teahouse before, so we had no preconceived expectations walking in. We found it to be your typical comic shop: relatively small, walls completely covered with comics and figures, with the all important New Releases wall prominently displayed near the counter. We were inside for all of 30 seconds, admiring a display case of home made, life sized WarHammer weaponry, when we were pulled away by the pitiful squealing of a tiny, adorable puppy in a playpen towards the back of the store. Clearly our shopping was going to be put on hold for a few minutes while we made cooing noises at, and played with, this tiny, excited puppy.

Look at those paws! Look at them!
His proud owner informed us his name was Fargo, and was naturally more than happy to chat about his likes and dislikes and how insanely adorable he is. We pulled ourselves away long enough to grab the copy of 'Sandman Overture' Jenn needed, and for me to drool over a Harley Quinn vs. Robin figure that Will. Be. Mine.

Soon, my pretty. Sooooon...
The shop, though small, was open and airy, smelled inexplicably of carnival pizza (but not in an off-putting way), the girl and the puppy working there were both delightful, and we found exactly what we were looking for with no difficulty at all. If you're in the Sandy Springs area, I totally recommend it.

Thus ended our little field trip. So, do you guys also try to seek out foreign comic shops when you're traveling? Where is your favorite, and what are some of the things you look for in a comic shop?

(*Crawly is a demon character from 'Good Omens' by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. If you're unfamiliar, drop everything you're doing and go read it right fucking now.)

1 comment:

  1. Nice to know that Oxford Comics is still there on Piedmont Ave. In all the years I lived there and passed by it, I never went inside. Plan to a few times but never did. If you come get back to Louisville for a visit there's a comic book store very close by that you might find interesting. I had to post this under Anonymous because none of the other profiles listed worked for me.