This is a great shop?
So we spent the last several days in San Francisco on vacation. Since I’ve read so much about them, I decided to visit the two famous comic book shops in San Francisco — Brian Hibbs’ Comix Experience and and James Sime’s Isotope Comics Lounge
I have to say that I was incredibly disappointed with both shops. They get so much publicity and both seem so committed to Comics Retailing, that I guess I was expecting a much different experience. Comix Experience is your basic, run of the mill shop — all the latest mainstream (DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse,Vertigo) releases, a few independents, a smattering of trades and a meager back issue selection, 80% of which I would term ‘Quarter Bin’ material.
Isotope seems like a shop with a great idea that is poorly executed. It styles itself as a ‘Comics Lounge’ and indeed, has a few chairs and sofas scattered about for reading the stuff they have. The problem here is that they don’t have much, and their shelves are poorly organized and unkempt. The quality of the furniture they are using is just this side of a bean bag chair, and the shop has a stark, cool, modern look. That seems much less conducive to lounging. I would think something with warmer colors, and a little more plush would work better — that might be me. Something like a comic shop crossed with a great coffee house.
As I discussed it with my wife after visiting Isotope, she may have hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that maybe these are really good shops and we have just been spoiled by our shop — Austin Books and Comics. I’ve always thought Austin Books was about eighty percent of the way toward being a really great shop, but I might be wrong. It may outclass almost every other shop in the country — seriously. Especially if these two shops in San Fran are any indication. Over the last few years, I’ve visited three ‘big name’ shops — Lonestar, Isotope, and Comix Experience — none of them even come close to competing with Austin Books as a great shop. It’s not even funny how far away they are. Even the store I consider a second tier shop in Austin — Dragon’s Lair — blows the other non-Austin shops away.
Next post I’ll talk more about what makes ABC a great shop and how these other shops could take a lesson from Austin Books.
Posted in Comic Book Shops