Sacramento’s booming comic book business- part 2
8241 Bruceville Road
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Metropolis Comix started out as a comic book store but has branched out to include graphic novels and collectible card games as well, store owner Christopher Neary said.
Neary, a resident of Elk Grove, once worked for another comic book store for seven years, and in June 2009 he opened his own store, Metropolis Comix, with co-owner Bill Amaral, 55.
DC and Marvel comics are the best sellers in the store, with a growing popularity of comic books from independent publishers, Neary said.
"Most people think that the typical comic book customer is some guy that lives in his mom’s basement," Neary said, adding that said that’s not true with his customers.
The majority of the store’s customers, he said, are professionals such as nurses, state workers, radiologists and lawyers. Some of his customers are college students, while the majority of the collectible card-gaming crowd are high school-age customers.
"A lot of them still read the superhero comic book they read when they were younger," Neary said.
Some, he said, are transitioning into reading independent titles with more complex narratives. Horror-type comic books are popular in the store, such as “The Crossed.”
Neary said that in Metropolis Comix, they get to know their customers very well in order to provide them with the types of comic books they might like.
“We add the personal human touch to the comic experience,” Neary said. “We know everyone’s name, their likes and dislikes.”
Through the store’s comic book subscription program, he said, the customers receive a weekly email of the new comic book title releases and other items that will be available for the following week.
The subscribers enumerate all the comic book titles they want to follow, and the store sets those comic books aside under their name, to be picked up the following week.
New comic book titles are available Wednesdays.
The comic books in the store are put it clear plastic sleeves and boarded, for archival protection. Customers in his comic subscription program get discounts on their purchases based on the number of comic book titles they have on their list, starting at 10 percent and going as high as 35 percent.
"When creating the place, we didn’t like the whole dark dungeony foreboding comic store. We wanted something that is open and clean," Store Manager Matt Benamati, 30, said.
The store has a couch for comic book readers to sit down and read their purchased comic books.
"It adds greatly in creating the welcoming home atmosphere of the store," Kylie Palmer, a 22-year-old store clerk, said.
Palmer said that the first comic book she read was “The Walking Dead,” which the TV show of the same title is based on. She said a lot of people do not know that the show has its comic origin.
She recently got into reading DC comic book titles, with “Catwoman” and “Batman” being her favorites.
The store had a ladies night event two weeks ago, where sparkling ciders were served and selected books were discounted for female customers.It was an effort, Neary said, to show that the comic book scene might seem male-dominated, but it is for everybody.
"Let’s just not put discount on the girly stuff, like Twilight and manga comic books, but also on comic books that had strong women protagonists," Palmer said.
Horror and thriller were the genres the women who came that night were interested in, Neary said.
"They were tired of reading Cosmopolitan articles on ‘how to please your man 5,000 different ways,’ " Neary said. "They wanted to read something different."
The store also carries collectible card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering. Free tournaments are held at the store. On Fridays, Magic: The Gathering tournaments are held at the store, and Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments are held on Tuesdays. More information on tournaments and events is available on the store’s Facebook page.
Posters, T-shirts, superhero action figures, gaming mats for collectible card games and comic book archival supplies are sold at the store.
Great Escape Games
1250 Howe Ave.
Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight
Sunday noon – 6 p.m.
Great Escape Games sells board games such as Settlers of Catan, RPGs (role-playing games) such as Dungeons & Dragons, collectible card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, miniature war games such as Warhammer 40k, and, a year and a half ago – comic books.
"Imagine playing as Wolverine instead of just reading his story," store manager Jeff Beemer, 37, said, of a HeroClix miniature game where you can play as a comic book character.
He said that the game scene is similar to the comic book scene, because both readers and players uses their imagination and suspend their disbelief in order to enjoy the fantasy world.
Beemer said the store stopped carrying comic books in an effort to concentrate more on featuring game products.
The store also provides customers 7,000 square feet of exclusive space for tabletop games for free and two private rooms for RPG and board games.
One of the store’s most popular games is Warhammer 40K, a miniature war game, Beemer said.
Beemer explained that these types of games uses miniature figures, which the owners paint to their liking, and play on a tabletop against an opponent. The roll of the dice determines movement and/or attack of the figures on a turn-based gameplay mode mimicking a battle scenario. A measuring tape is also used to determine distance of a figure’s movement on the table or if a figure’s attack range, is at reach of the opponent’s figure. The goal of the game is to eliminate the opponent’s army.
"We carry a huge selection of board games as well, not just your Monopoly," Beemer said. "Games that Walmart or Target don’t usually carry."
There are board games available based on popular movies and TV shows, such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” but also there is Yu-Gi-Oh!, which is a card game and a cartoon show, Beemer said.
Chess clubs also come in the store every Tuesday night to play, Beemer said, and every Wednesday night, some customers who enjoy playing live role-playing games – where people dress up as warriors, mages and the like and play as those characters – build their makeshift weapons, such as foam swords and shields made from boxes, at the store. More information on their events and products are available on their website.
He said that playing games is a long-lasting hobby, with gamers coming together in a space like the one they provide as often as every week, playing with friends, and painting and building their miniatures.
Matt Bess, a 25-year-old Warhammer tabletop game enthusiast, said there is a misconception that people who play these types of games are nerdy. "There are people from all walks of life," he said.
This article was co-written with John Hernandez