If you’ve been paying attention to the cinemas this summer, it’s no question that comic books are big business right now. During past summers, we comic book readers had maybe one or two movies to look forward to in this reagard and they normally pretty awful. Case in point, Daredevil, Punisher, Catwoman and Ghost Rider were all pretty unwatchable adaptations of beloved characters. This summer however, marks the beginning of what may be a golden age for comic book movies. So far this summer we’ve seen “Hellboy,” “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Hulk” and “Wanted” gracing our multiplexes. The beautiful thing about this is that none of these movies have been bad. Some were better than others (Iron Man and Dark Knight), but each one was extremely entertainging and brought something unique to the story. With Marvel reclaiming their properties, with the exception of Spider-Man and X-Men, and doing a bang-up job of making comic-book movies properly, we’re in for some pretty great stuff ahead. “The Dark Knight” has also shown audiences that there really is some depth to a medium that is normally cast off as childish. With any hope the upcoming “Watchmen” film will do the same…or at least look totally amazing!
In light of this rebooted interest in comic books I’m going to peak the interest of the non-reader or ex-reader by covering what I’ve been reading lately. However, before I get to that (notice that this is part 1), I’d like to take a brief moment to highlight a few of the comic book stores we have here in the Cincinnati area. So pull up Google Maps on another tab and grab your credit card!
Cincinnati is actually an amazing place for a comic-book reader. We have a pretty wide selection of stores littered about our city’s landscape and each of them has something unique about them. I don’t know is this high ratio of stores-to-city-size means we’re a city of nerds or if the low cost of things here just makes it easier to stay open. I don’t care though, it’s truly a great thing that there is still a place where a niche interest can be celebrated and remain present in store fronts.
Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a avid reader of comics. I go to the shop about once a month and have only a few comics that I read regularly outside of the occasional awesome story-arc I read for the five or six issues that it runs (more on that in part 2!). In some places comics can all get bought up on the Wednesday they are released. Thankfully the stores here always have enough copies for the once-a-month buyer. So let’s take a look at three great stores in the area. With the exception of one of these stores, customer service will not enter into these reviews. There’s a reason that Comic-Book Guy on the Simpsons is the way he is. Crappy service is kind of a tradition at stores like this. I should say that I’ve never had unpleasant service at any of these places though, it’s just that generally people who run these stores got into comics in the first place because they attract introverted nerds. Owning a store doesn’t always fix the “introvert” part.
I have a fairly strict allegiance to Queen City Comic & Card. This is probably because it was the first comic book store in the area that I started going to due to its proximity to where I was going to school. There are some special things about this place though, besides the fact that it is across the street from Everybody’s Records (double-header money spending!!!!). First, I think that, in general they have a really great selection of the new releases and there are always plenty of copies of the previous issue for us lazy and slow comic buyers. The truly impressive thing about the place is the STAGGERING amount of back issues they have. Really behind on something? Want to read an older series? Trust me, you’ve got an 85% chance that they’ve got you covered. I’m planning on starting up “Preacher” and few older series that they’ve got there. They’ve also got the majority of back issues of a certain amazing series that I will be buying soon. I’d tell you what it is, but there aren’t enough to go around…sorry!
Queen City Comic & Card Co.
6101 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45213
The second comic book store is one that is a little bit closer. Obviously located in Clifton, Clifton Comics and Games has a bit smaller space than Queen City, but generally have everything you are looking for. Located on Jefferson (basically across the street from Adriatico’s) I go there when I’m buying on Wednesdays (new comic-book day!) because they knock off 15% on all the new releases that day. They also do another thing that I love, something that benefits the casual reader like myself. For the occasional series they save up an entire story arc and then sell it as a package. I had been looking for all the issues of the “BPRD 1946” story-arc, but was having trouble finding them. I hate reading comics when I’m missing an issue or two. Luckily, Clifton Comics put all of them in one Mylar bag for me so i could take them home right away and begin reading voraciously. If for no other reason, this makes Clifton Comics special. It’s nice to have a place that understands that not all of us can keep up with comics constantly and also get tired of digging through back-issues.
Clifton Comics and Games
3234 Jefferson Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Finally, we’ve got a new kid on the block! Up Up and Away really is a fantastic comic book store and the only reason it wouldn’t be first on my list is because I’ve only been there once…so-far. Unfortunately its just the tiniest bit far away but I think I’m going to start making my monthly comic trek that way more often. The thing that’s wonderful about it is the fact that the service is about a million times better than any comic book store I’ve ever been to. It’s such a wonderful thing to go into a place and not feel looked down upon because you don’t come in every week. They also, like Queen City, have a huge amount of back issues due to its former life as Comic Book World. The owner, Kendall, really was a super pleasant guy when I talked to him for a moment while getting rung up. I don’t think I’ve the word “pleasant” in relation to comic book store employees ever. I’ll probably be heading out there soon, hit me up if you want to carpool. Oh yeah they also have a 5’5″ Princess Leia statue that is pretty amazing. It’s a really cool super stylized version of her. OH, and the best website of the bunch.
Up Up and Away
4016 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45211
So go buy some comics! If you wait a little bit I’ll be posting part 2 of the Comic Roundup which will give you plenty of cool things to go buy! First I have to read some of them though.