Best Comic Shop: The Great Escape

There are few comic book shops with the mystique or tenacity of The Great Escape. It’s not the most glamorous store, privileging good deals and great finds above any real aesthetic demeanor, and it just works. You should go in expecting to find a Mogwai, something bizarre and otherworldly that seems to have some kind of supernatural effect on your life, be that in the form of a comic book that you haven’t been able to find, or one of the thousands of records, movies or video games that they keep in stock. Not only are their prices fair, a reflection of their business sense to stay competitive in a market dominated by Amazon or Ebay, but they offer a reasonable trade value to anyone looking to offload any of their old collectibles; they have such a great back stock of geek-friendly stuff, because they treat their customers right and it shows.

What makes this all even more remarkable is the fact that The Great Escape is a chain that maintains this quality. Let’s be honest: When you think of a place that you consider your own, you are probably not thinking of a franchise. I doubt that you go to Applebee’s for local flavor, after all. The other locations peppered throughout the region have the same kind of layout, packing a lot of fantastically nerdy finds into one tight package. Having had the opportunity to visit a lot of comic book shops, I can attest to how great a place it is. They have a simple, easy-to-identify layout, great deals for customers and a variety of things aside from just comic books. On top of those deals, they have sales all the time on everything from records to DVDs and everything in between, making it a sweet place for folks looking to dive deep into the vinyl bin.

Did I mention that they are kid friendly? Folks that work there often play with kids or get them invested in toys or whatever has their interest. They make it a safe place for people of all ages to get lost in their imaginations, and maybe have a conversation about who would win in a fight between Marvel or DC (or Image, et cetera) and why. This is the place for all the pale kids to fly their freak flags and not have to sweat the small stuff, for the kids that care about the Avengers for more than just Robert Downey Jr., and who can back up which member of the X-Men is the most rad and why. The thing is, you get what you put in. If you want to be quiet and read by yourself  — reading is a solo act as it were — feel free to do that. Just do what you do in the way that you most feel comfortable.