BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Why Do We Need Independent Comic Book Stores?

Yesterday I travelled down the to the south coast of England, to the bohemian city of Brighton. Me and my girlfriend were invited by a friend who wanted to give us a tour of the city. It was fantastic. The whole city looks like it’s been created from the collective minds of Salvador Dahli, The Who and Bryan Lee O’Malley. The only other place I can compare it to in England is Manchesters Northern Quarter, a place with which I have always felt a personal connection, but it’s as though the artistic area of the city has initiated a coup and taken the city by storm.

After we had been shown around the whole city our host took us down to Sydney Street and threw us into a little place called ‘Dave’s Comics’. Remember the first Harry Potter film? That moment when Harry first enters Diagon Alley and realises how amazing the world of magic is? That was me and my girlfriend. Dave’s Comics is piled high with everything from traditional Marvel and DC titles all the way to stuff produced by Brighton residents. There’s an eastern section, a European section and a whole wall just dedicated to books on topic of writing comics. It was candy land and we were five year olds. Needless to say, a lot of money changed hands.

Six Seasons and a Movie A.K.A It’s all About Community

The experience left me reeling and then I realised why. Dave’s Comics was a shop with soul. From the cashier to the stock boys everyone had a passion for comics. There were posters for writing groups and on the door there was a notice for artists and writers to come to a session where they could pair up. It was a comic book store and a geeky community centre. And it’s not the only one. In Manchester and a few other locations there is a chain of store developing under the name traveling man, the chain is dedicated to not just selling comics but also helping create them.

Forbidden Planet and Waterstones are great, and there was a time when they were all we had but if you want to really get to grips with the world of comics I wouldn’t recommend them. If your looking for cheap comics get Marvel Unlimited and buy from the new and used section of Amazon. If your looking for passion and a discussion about the written quality of the product your buying there is really only one place to go. Independant Comic Book Stores, find yours today and get involved!

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