It was 2006-ish and I was conducting some incredibly unscientific, random comics research.
I’d been reading webcomics for a while by then, but no print comics. I’d read the Scott McCloud trio of Understanding Comics, Making Comics and Reinventing Comics and broke my brain on David Chelsea’s Perspective for Comic Book Artists.
Seriously, I still get twitchy if I think about that last one too hard. *twitch*
By that point I think I’d read far more about comics than I’d ever actually read the comics, themselves.
So I decided it was time to do some horizon-broadening.
A block away from my office is a used book store and comics shop, so I started there on my lunch break.
I walked in, found the comics section (I used to haunt the classics on the other side of the store as a kid), and basically pulled anything off the shelf that looked at all interested.
Like I said, random comics research.
But it was through this random research that I found Phil Foglio’s Girl Genius (which I am very behind on, these days), “discovered” steampunk and found a LOT of nothing in the floppies I bought. 22 pages of 3 girls on motorcycles just to get to Sturgis? Really? And then when they actually arrived, that installment ended? Really?
I tried another shop close to my house and it was your typical “girl walks into a comics shop” moment. Several sets of male eyes swivel towards me from the long-boxes covering the center of the store, eyebrows raise, someone from behind the counter asked if I was lost.
Okay, so not really on the lost part, but I definitely didn’t feel welcome to just wander and browse. I was looking for something in particular–something that had been recommended online–and I got it and got the hell outta dodge.
All of this is the lead-up, of course, to why I dearly love this next place.
See, a writer friend had suggested some graphic novels to me and also let me know there was another shop in town worth checking out. His friend owned it, so I figured it couldn’t be all bad, and I tripped in there one afternoon while running errands.
For one thing, it was light inside. Not only was daylight coming through the big windows in front but the entire store was well-lit and many of the fixtures were white or some other light color. In other words, it wasn’t a cave.
The guy behind the counter (turned out to be the owner) asked me what I was looking for and I said my friend sent me in for Watchmen, and that I was open to suggestions.
I left with a tidy stack of graphic novels that day and a new favorite comic book shop.
Brian and the gang at Secret Headquarters are really top-notch. I never feel weird or unwelcome going in there, he’s let me interview him for an article on self-published comics, and they hosted the Unicorn Party last year, which is all about showing the love for women in comics and women that read comics, play games and do other, supposedly, mythical geeky things.
I can hardly wait for the next one this Fall!
And, yes, there are definitely plans for What to Feed Your Raiding Party to be on their shelves as soon as it’s in print!
Secret Headquarters just relocated to 2218 N Monroe Street, effectively doubling their space in the new place, and I’ve really got to go see how the new store is shaping up. If you find yourself in Tallahassee or the surrounding areas, it’s always worth the trip to check out what they’ve got going on.