When Marvel began publishing a comic book adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series in 2007, I couldn’t resist. It was an easy thing to walk into the Comic Book Shoppe every month or so and toss out a few donuts to catch up on the series. Soon, that buck-or-two-every-now-and-then turned into a hundred-dollar-a-month habit as the majority of DC's line-up made their way onto my monthly purchase list. When I went back to school, cash constraints forced me to sacrifice the continuity of my comic book collection. Although I can’t afford to give the Comic Book Shoppe much business lately, I can give them one of my blog posts. I’m not aware of any corporate comic book stores, but my favourite comic store still deserves mention as a successful indie business.
With two locations in the Ottawa area, The Comic Book Shoppe is a nerd’s (my) paradise. Every corner of the store is crammed with comics, action figures, table-top games, card games, rule books, and superhero statues. Every shelf documents a different stage of my life: the small child with every DC figure; the comic book collecting teen; the paranoid mid-twenties Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast gaming out his Saturday afternoons in a friend’s smoke-polluted basement. Although I can’t afford to spend the cash that I used to, I still stop by every other month to pick up a comic or two.
The staff has changed a bit in the last few years, but they are always friendly and full of lore. Anybody who has seen the AMC reality show Comic Book Men would recognize the atmosphere and banter. They all have their favourite comics, and unless the store is swamped, relish the opportunity to talk about them. The relationship isn’t one sided, though. When I had a subscription, they would often slip new titles into my folder behind the counter if they thought I might be interested. Some of these made it through the checkout with me, some of them didn’t. A selling tactic, certainly, but I appreciated the thought—quite often, their predictions were spot on.
With the Christmas season looming, The Comic Book Shoppe is a must-stop. They have several gift options, including pre-wrapped grab bags and gift cards. Last year, the store helped me knock four names off of my shopping list in half an hour. If you’re reading this Mom, take notes. That’s 1400 Clyde Avenue. Phone number 613-228…
Kristopher Bras is a 35 year old Professional Writing student at Algonquin College. When his nose isn’t buried in a book, he enjoys playing the guitar and viewing independent films. Some of his strongest influences are Roger Zelazny, Stephen King, and Chuck Klosterman. He still listens to the same punk rock bands that he enjoyed in 1995. Kristopher is frequently sighted at Ottawa Senators games.
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