A question I receive a lot since starting the store is “Do you even still like comics?” It’s funny that this is asked.
Years ago, when I pictured myself opening a brick and mortar shop, bringing it to the point of success of being able to have that as my full-time job, I envisioned it probably how most aspiring store owners envision it. Sit around and read comics, ringing up the occasional (but hopefully not too occasional) customer and living the high life. In short, not only would I still love comics, but I would get to spend more time with them than ever.
So what is it like now that I have a shop with no walk-in customers, no one to wait on in that sense. What is it like while maintaining a primary full-time (and sometimes beyond full-time) job? When you have a full-time job, obviously your free time is minimized, and when you fill your free time with more work your free time is basically decimated. You also find that you want to avoid playing with the stuff during your free time that you work on during your work time. This has been true of computers for years.. Hell, over a decade now. I still play around with computers and go through the occasional periods where a particular game tickles my fancy, but for the most part computers have not been a source of entertainment or enjoyment for me for quite a while. And now for the past year, comics fall into that same category, they haven’t been a source of entertainment for me, at least not consistent entertainment for quite a while.
But that really doesn’t get to the point of the question now does it? Do I still like comments? No, I still love them. There is a part of me that is still 12 years old walking into Polaris Comics for the first time, picking up the newest Sensational Spider-Man (part three of Kraven’s Last Hunt that B. Dalton didn’t carry). Looking at racks and racks and racks of new comics. As many books as B. Dalton and Waldenbooks had, this is how many comics Polaris had, at least how it seemed to my 12 year old eyes. The thing about it is, when I read comics, when I actually have time to sit down and enjoy them, it might as well be 1987 all over again because the sense of wonder and escapism is identical. About the only thing that’s changed over the years is the understanding of what comics are capable of, and the types of stories that you can enjoy while reading comics. It’s no longer just about super heroes or action of adventure or horror. As you look around our store you’ll find romance, drama, mystery, young adult coming of age stories, a whole variety of the different stories comics are capable of telling. I’ve learned that there is plenty more out there to enjoy than just superheroes and action.
With that being said though, there’s still nothing like sitting on the couch and reading through a run of Iron Man or Green Lantern on a late rainy evening with the windows open and a breeze blowing through. The same type of night that twenty years ago planted this seed of owning a own comic shop into my head.
You can’t always go back, so sometimes it’s just better off to leave a part of yourself back there so you can on occasion return and visit from time to time.