The Louisville Comic Book Scene

Last week my new company asked me to travel to Louisville, Kentucky to meet with the team down there.  Of course I said yes.  Now for me, an evening alone in a hotel room is a special kind of torture.  You see, I need an adventuring buddy, as you might have noticed already.  So an evening alone in a hotel room sounded miserable.  However, I have recently rediscovered an old love: horror comics.

HalloweenCreepy44You see, if a month ago you had asked me what my opinion of comic books were, the answer wouldn’t be very favorable.  Nearly all the comic books I see these days are super heroes, which I understand that some people love, but for me it’s a miserable exercise in repetitiveness. However, this past weekend I found myself in a comic book shop in Indianapolis with my loved ones walking off a meal of way too much Chinese buffet food.  You see, Joshua and Jasmine love comic books, and there just so happened to be a comic book shop a few doors down from the china buffet, so of course I agreed to humor them and go on in.

As I was browsing around I happened to see a “Tales from the Crypt” comic, it was reboot of the series that I had enjoyed from my childhood and had long forgotten.  I am a child of the 80’s, but had some old hand me down comics from the 60’s and 70’s, among them  being several old horror comics.  I loved these cheesy old thrillers when I was younger, and so decided to give this reboot a chance.  While I was there I asked about other horror comics they might have and happened upon the series “Creepy”.  I bought one of each, and went home with my loved ones.

The next day was a lazy day off, and so I decided to settle in and read my new acquisitions, and what I found was that I really did enjoy this art form.  At least, I did when the subject matter wasn’t just a buffoon in tights running around saving the day from tired villain stereotypes.  So when I found myself trapped in a hotel room alone in a strange city, I thought “what the hell” and decided to visit their local comic shop for more gore-riffic goodness.

I Googled comic book shops near my hotel and came back with a couple results quickly.  The top of the list was “The Destination“, a small shop located in a strip mall in Louisville.  The description on Google stated “The Destination – Games, Toys, and Comics” and so, owning a game store, I was excited to see what Louisville had to offer so I headed on over.

The-Destination-28
An image of the “The Destination” from their website.  This is more ore less the way the shop looked when I walked in.  The wall you see on the right is their new release shelf, back issues are in two rows of boxes in the center of the room.  A back room, whose doorway you can see somewhat in this photo in the back right corner, appears to be used for events.

The shop was located around the side of the strip mall, not visible from the road.  I was really glad that I had GPS or I would never have found it.  When I went in I was greeted pretty promptly by the guys behind the counter, which was a pleasant surprise, as I have been ignored completely when walking into such establishments before.  However, a very quick browse of the shop, showed that they not only didn’t carry games at all, but toys either.  They were really just a tiny comic book shop, and I do mean tiny.  Very few back issues, and very few new releases.  They did sell Magic cards, and had a small back room with tables, so maybe the gaming part of their business was magic related?  As I was about to walk out the door the guys behind the counter inquired if there was anything they could help me find, and I expressed my desire for horror comics.  They confirmed that they didn’t have any old back issues of any horror comic, and so I enquired about the new “Tales From The Crypt” reboot, hoping maybe I missed some new releases somewhere.  I have never felt more judged for my reading habits then I did as the guy behind the counter told me how they didn’t order any, probably because no one liked the first issue, with a look on his face that looked like he smelled dog poo.

 

zone-store-1Since “The Destination” had let me down it was time to head onward to “The Zone Comic Shop“, and the pursuit of some festive violence filled reading.  Upon walking in, I felt a little more hopeful.  Firstly, it was a nice young lady behind the counter, and my experience has told me, women in geeky professions are often more helpful than their male counterparts (sorry fellas).  And true to the stereotype, she promptly asked if I was looking for anything in particular, and I once again described my desire for horror comics.  She cringed, but in that way that says “Oooo… crap, we don’t have that” and less “dear god, you have no taste”.  She lamented that while the couple that they did stock sold very well, the owner just chose not to order very many at all, favoring super heroes instead.   She offered a couple alternatives, but nothing really felt like it was going to scratch the itch that I had that evening and so I politely asked if there was another comic shop that she would recommend that might be able to fit my needs.

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It may not look as sparkly and new as the other two shops, but that was actually a benefit.  It didn’t feel sterile, it felt like the kind of place you would find treasures, and I did.

 

Enter “The Great Escape“.  Firstly, Louisville… what’s with all the “The” names?  It’s starting to feel a little weird. Secondly, this was the kind of shop I was looking for.  I walked in to a shop that was over flowing with personality and comic books, but not just comic books. This shop had some games.  This shop had some pop culture memorabilia.  This shop had collectible cards.  This was one stop geek shopping.  I saddled myself up to their boxes of back issues and began digging.

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Back issues galore!  What this picture doesn’t show off well is that there are other rows of boxes below the ones on top!

It didn’t take me long to find old issues of Creepy, but not just that, also original issues of “Tales from the Crypt”.  Original.  Like the ones I had when I was a kid.  If my budget would have allowed, I would have been tempted to take the whole lot of them home.

 

Sadly, as it was, my bladder was screaming at me after having driven around town for the better part of two hours.  I asked a gal at the counter if they had a bathroom, and they didn’t.  Chalk that up as the first, and only real disappointment with the shop.  Unfortunantely, this cut my browsing time short, but I did leave with a couple new comic books to help fill my sad evening alone.

I feel like, living in Indianapolis, I’m spoiled.  We have an unbelievable (and some would argue, unsustainable) number of great comic book shops and game stores.  I can name a dozen stores in the Indianapolis area that would have fit my needs perfectly.  But when it came to Louisville, it was hard to find these three, and none would I truly call a “game store” (although that wasn’t what my quest was about tonight, merely a side benefit).  I am truly blessed to live in a nerd mecha, and for any head strong entrepreneurs, know that Louisville is ripe for awesomeness.

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