Week 43: Comic Book Stores

Part of what I enjoy most about spending time with my boys when school’s out is being reminded that many of the things we never really outgrow are more fun during the summer. Slurpees, for example. Splashing, whether it’s in the gutter or the Poudre. Comic books. As a girl, I read Little Lulu, Richie Rich, and Casper (I know, I know) but my boys have not had to suffer through those dark days. They’re big into superheroes, so to help kick-off our summer, we ventured out to two local comic book stores.

Gryphon Games and Comics opened on Halloween, 2005, and is locally owned and operated. As is evident by the name, Gryphon carries more than just comic books. In fact, I’d say that a good half—and perhaps even more—of the store is dedicated to gaming. This includes a variety of card games, board games, role-playing games, and a whole host of miniature characters whose exact purpose was a mystery to me but were cool-looking nonetheless.

Gryphon has a large room off the back, for mass gatherings of Pokemon and Magic players and the like. They also host a big event for Free Comic Book Day, on the first Saturday in May. (Free comic books and the Kentucky Derby on the same day? Get out.) FCBD 2011 was the tenth annual, and we, of course, missed it. But we will keep it in mind for next year.

Halley’s Comics has been under the same ownership at 322 Walnut Street for 23 years. It’s a small store tucked between the former Goodwill and the current studio of a Halloween-mask-maker-musician guy (which explains the KISS boots in the window). I didn’t frequent comic book stores as a kid, but I imagine this is what they all looked like then. Ninety-percent of Halley’s is comics—decades’ worth, from vintage to present. Current issues line the shelves in the front of the store, and the back room holds box after box of past issues, all alphabetized and neatly packed together in their clear plastic covers. I’ve never seen so many comics. My boys were in danger of being sucked into a time-warp vortex from which they would emerge hours later, famished, bleary-eyed, and possibly sporting their first beards.

If this summer’s selection of superhero movies isn’t enough to satisfy your inner child, a trip to a comic book store should help. But comic book aficionados are apparently not an early-bird clientele, so wait until 11. And if it’s been a few years since you bought a comic book, well, they don’t cost a dollar anymore. (Neither does a pack of gum, for that matter.)

Oh, and please let me know if you see this guy:


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