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Richard Martines on the Mighty Comics Shops
posted July 31, 2013

In your July 18, 2013 article writing about the unfortunate and necessary move of The Beguiling, you described the store as "one of the half-dozen mightiest shops on the entire continent." I am curious. What are the other mighty shops on your list?

Tom Spurgeon Responds: That was more a rhetorical flourish than a serious entry into the ongoing legal battle of saying things out loud on-line, but I do think there are some elite full-service comic shops that are both solid business ventures -- by which I mean they have some size and scope and history to them while also having a full range of comics to offer. I think of Chicago Comics and Meltdown as two stores like that. Comic Relief was a classic store of that kind. Copacetic Comics in Pittsburgh. I'm not sure what the others would be! You'd probably slip in a couple of the classic NYC stores, like the Forbidden Planet and JHU manhattan locations, maybe. I don't mean these are the biggest stores or even the best, mind you, and there are a bunch of really great comic shops with a more focused mainstream or arts-comics strategy, or that are newer or smaller, all over the place. It could be that the model I'm thinking of, what we used to call "the good shops" is a more complicated, slippery notion than it was 20 years ago.