While I still enjoy an occasional sojourn to the comic book store, the experience has lost some of its luster since my nascent years. Back in the day, I’d have to cry and bang my head against the table until my mom or dad would drive me to the neighboring town’s crummy little comics and games outlet. I found great pleasure in the knowledge that, albeit through self-debasement, I could bend those elitist, high-and-mighty bastards to do my bidding. Eventually, I got a bike and a job bagging groceries, so I had my own transportation and money. Thus, obtaining comic books no longer required me to abuse my parents. While I miss basking in their misery, I suppose that’s the price I paid for independence.
But hey, perhaps the idea of taking your kid on a trip to the comic store appeals to you just as much as it appeals to your offspring. If so, here are a few of the better options we’ve scrounged up for comic shops across the nation.
I hate to only recommend one comic store in Boston. New England Comics does a superb job supplying the Allston and Brookline neighborhoods with inky books and hobbyist concerns. The Million Year Picnic does likewise in Cambridge. But if I must point to one Greater Boston comic book outlet, for the purposes of this website, I must tag the Somerville-situated Comicazi. It might not have the most impressive selection of fresh comics, but its cache of TPBs can’t be slighted, and I defy readers to find a larger or more diverse selection of action figures. Maybe you’re a collector seeking a still-packaged, mint-condition special edition Freddy Krueger doll, or maybe you’re a kid who just needs a cheap plastic Super Skrull for a batch of miniature Avengers to smash against. In either case, Comicazi’s your Huckleberry.
407 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA | comicazi.com | 617-666-2664
Bringing minors into one of Kevin Smith’s bases of operation may expand their vocabulary in ways not every parent would approve of. Then again, if they’re all eventually going to learn curse words anyway, it might as well be from the ViewAskew-verse’s patriarch. While you’re at the Stash, you can grab some discount Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back merchandise, and sabotage an episode of the AMC reality series Comic Book Men, just as Jay tried to pull the plug on Truth or Date in Mallrats to no avail. However, do NOT knock Silent Bob out with a sock full of quarters while he’s hosting Fat Man on Batman, or else I might have to find you and hurt you.
35 Broad St., Red Bank | jayandsilentbob.com | 732-758-0508
Without the necessary funds to actually go to New York, I’m going to have to defer to Time Out New York on this one. Luckily, Time Out staffers already put together a compilation of the most kid-friendly comic stores in The Big Apple. Bulletproof tops the list, and if your little Billy or Suzy has ever asked Santa for a top-notch Marvel-themed skateboard, I seriously doubt there’s anywhere else to go. Bulletproof also specializes in collectible card games like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh!, so budding card sharks might be able to glean a tip or two from the experts. Time Out also recommends Midtown Comics and Forbidden Planet.
2178 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn | www.bulletproofcomix.com | 718-434-1800
This establishment describes itself as being pro-kiddles on its website. In an age when comic commerce is often geared more towards 20-somethings, that tells you something. According to Yelp reviews, which I guess are about maybe, sort of reliable, ownership has been tossed around from one hopeful entrepreneur to another over the past few years. Luckily, the friendly competition between comics and toys appears to be running smoothly now. Comics and Toys has also branched out to lure sports nerds with a fantasy football tournament.
1613 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock | comicsvstoys.com | 323-258-2300
Well, they’ve got a big honkin’ Silver Surfer statue hanging from the ceiling and big honkin’ Hulk statue on the floor, which makes an instant photo op and an instant souvenir for visitors of any age. I’m sure it’s a swell comic and hobby gear store, but most importantly, I totally want to fly to Texas so I can have someone take a picture while I do inappropriate things to the Hulk. The real Hulk would smash me into syrup, but statue Hulk can’t do anything to stop it. Take that, Hulk!
5002 N. Lamar Blvd. | austinbooks.com | 512-454-4197