Comic Shops: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Comic Shops: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

There are hundreds of comic book stores across the country - and each one is run by people who love the genre as much as the customers who come in.
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By the time you read this, we will have already had Free Comic Book Day. On the first Saturday in May, comic book stores across the country give out issues released by the publishers as a way to both introduce returning customers to new stories and let new customers pick up something different without any real risk. It also works as a day for people to go out and support their local comic book stores, and usually there's a decent crowd that turns out for these events. Some have writers or artists do a signing, others have drawing classes or costume contests. This has become a bigger event as time has gone on, with ads all over the internet and outside stores. Of course I can't get into the history of comic book stores, that's a story for another day. But instead, I want to talk about them as a whole, and why they keep bringing us back for more.

We've all heard of the big ones, like New York City's famous Midtown Comics or the largest comic book store in the world, Mile High Comics (located in Denver, Colorado). Those are renowned for their huge selections of current and past issues, even down to the iconic Golden and Silver Age ones that can be worth a couple of houses. Despite Midtown Comics being the go-to comic book shop in the city, there's several others, ran by people with a passion for comics. Even Jay and Bob's Secret Stash in New Jersey, owned by filmmaker and writer Kevin Smith, is still based around the love of the medium that the people working there have. You always hear stories of actors walking into a store to pick up some comics to study for a role – from Winston Duke being given a stack of Black Panther issues involving M'Baku, to Josh Brolin being told by an employee to “not mess this up,” and even Benedict Cumberbatch wandering into a store while filming Doctor Strange – in full costume. Without the stores and the employees and the customers going there, the comic industry wouldn't be in the position it's in right now where movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Wonder Woman could be made and be as popular as they are. There's such a passionate group of people working there that they're willing to help out celebrities playing these iconic characters as if they're just someone who came in looking for classic X-Men comics.

And from the passion and care the shopkeepers have, that trickles down to the customer experience. People find their store and keep going, and soon enough, they know each other's name and interests – especially when a pull list is set up. A pull list is just that: the comics that a customer wants to read when new issues come out, and the employees will “pull” the issue for them, saving it for when they come in. No two stores are exactly alike, even in the same city. Some carry more than others, some are small hole-in-the-wall shops. But that doesn't matter to the customer, if they like the store they'll keep going. A cramped store with a great owner is always better than a large one with someone in charge who's just in it for the money. One could take a road trip across America and stop at comic book stores along the way and find every single one is unique (check out Comic Trips on YouTube). Conversations about the medium are normal, obviously, but you can end up talking with the staff for hours about life and the world around you. Being able to go into a store where it's usually the same people every day and they recognize you is a rarity these days, but comic book shops usually end up this way. It becomes a more relaxing and laid back environment, compared to the bigger chain stores that maybe sell some trade paperbacks. Customers keep coming back, not just for the product, but because of the welcoming nature of the store itself and those who work there.

That's what makes these stores continue to be a profitable business. They're a shop where everybody knows each other and comes together for a shared interest. People from all walks of life stop in, especially on Free Comic Book Day – again, it's risk free and something to do. Kids getting into superheroes, adults going in to read the story the new movie is based on, longtime collectors and customers to pick up new releases and chat with the people there. That makes the comic book store stand out from others, regulars are on a first-name basis, new customers are helped out as best they can be. And usually, people leave with a few issues or a trade paperback, and are planning to come back in when they've read those. It's such a niche item, but a store can practically exclusively sell comics and still turn out a major profit. People want to have more of these characters in between movies or seasons, and there's up to eighty years of comics to cover the gap for the customer.

Comics have gone mainstream, thanks to the post-Iron Man success of superhero television and movies. And with that, comic book stores are getting more and more customers. Some are coming back to the world after a while, others are just interested in reading the stories being adapted to screen. And it's not just the typical superhero comics that are catching on with the public either – Saga, The Walking Dead, Sex Criminals, and Lumberjanes have a growing fanbase, bringing people back to the shop to check out the new issue. Fundraisers and charity drives are commonplace at these places, and many become staples of their community – for example, Mile High Comics hosts drag shows. With annual events like Free Comic Book Day, it gives the public a time to go in, find some new stories to read and follow, oftentimes support a small business, and advertise the store itself. And even though that day has passed, it's not like that's your only opportunity. You'll be welcomed in with open arms and helped with finding the comic you're interested in. The industry is picking up more and more, and it's because of a new portion of the population who wants to read the series that they have been seeing in film and television.

Cover Image Credit: On The Grid

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12 Things Only Low-Maintenance Girls Understand

I promise we aren’t lazy, just easy going.
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Sometimes low-maintenance girls are looked at as lazy or sloppy. But in reality, I think low-maintenance girls are just so confident in who they are that putting in that extra effort isn't important to them.

Here are 12 things that only low-maintenance girls understand:

1. Leggings or sweat pants and a T-shirt is your normal everyday outfit

Why spend the day uncomfortable in some tight jeans or mini skirt when you can lounge around in some comfy clothes? We aren't here to impress anyone, we are just trying to sit back and chill.

2. Makeup is a special occasion

If you catch a low-maintenance girl with makeup on, take it as a compliment. We are trying to touch our face and rub our eyes as much as we'd like without makeup getting in the way. Not to mention, we wouldn't dare spend over $15 on some foundation.

3. We would rather stay in with a movie then go out for the evening

Something low-key and low stress always sounds better than spending the time, and the money, for a night out. I am perfectly content with taking advantage of my $7.99 monthly payment for Netflix.

4. You're always the first one ready

While your friends spend hours doing their hair, makeup and then finding the perfect outfit, you sit around and wait. Your 10 minutes thrown-together-look gives you time to nap while everyone else takes their sweet time.

5. When you say you "don't care what we do," you really don't care

Seriously, a date night off the McDonald's dollar menu is fine by me. I am not expecting you to wine and dine me on a big extravagant evening, I'm just trying to get a Big Mac in my mouth.

6. Your messy bun isn't a fashion statement, it's actually just your hairstyle

We aren't about to spend time curling or straightening our hair everyday. Every day is a good day to throw your hair up into a ponytail or bun.

7. The extent of your jewelry collection is one pair of earrings and maybe a necklace

Who needs more than one pair of earrings? Diamond studs match everything… right?

8. And your shoe collection is even smaller

Should I wear flip-flops or Converse?

9. Shopping isn't exactly your favorite thing to do

Who has patience for finding the perfect designer brands or finding the best fit? I am perfectly content with my T-shirts and leggings. One size fits all.

10. Your favorite gifts are the sentimental ones, not the expensive ones

A homemade card or a small gift that makes someone think of you is forever better and more meaningful than an expensive present. I don't want your money, I just want to know you thought of me.

11. You don't put in the effort to chase after a guy

I'm awesome and I know it. If a guy is worth it enough to be in my life, he can come after me. I am not down for any games or players. Just someone who embraces my low-maintenance qualities.

12. You are always the first person to help someone out

Giving your friends a ride or lending them two dollars isn't a huge deal. Just helping someone out gives you peace of mind. Everyone should have time to help a homie out.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.cosboots.com/sale/christmas/christmas.html

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You Can Tell The Difference Between Momentary Happiness And Deeper Happiness

"At the end of your life, go out with a bruised-up, worn out heart that gave too much and loved too strongly and felt too fiercely. Go out with the certainty that you gave it everything you had and didn't hold anything back". - Heidi Priebe

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First level happiness: Momentary

Momentary happiness is waking up early and watching the sunrise. It's the first sip of coffee in the morning. It's a big breakfast before a long day of doing what I love.

Momentary happiness is stepping into the restaurant I love and being surrounded by the people who have watched me grow up these past three years. It's understanding that this thing is about family just as much as it is business. It's falling in love with every early morning and every late night. It's learning that hard work isn't hard if you love what you're doing.

Momentary happiness is hitting a new personal record at the gym. It's that smile plastered across my face every time I enter a team huddle. It's down on one knee, all eyes on me. It's feeling the trust my team has in me. It's the feeling of joy when my number gets called. It's the burning in my lungs because I know that I gave it my everything. It's not being able to move without wincing the next day because the game asked for my hustle and I gave it my heart.

Momentary happiness is the instant you see someone you love and can't help but smile. It's the tight hug between you and someone that means the world to you. It's the weight off your shoulders when you finally express your true feelings. It's holding your breath as you wait for a response. Monetary happiness is being scared but doing it anyway.

Momentary happiness is coming home at night and having your dog jump on you the moment you open the door. It's your parents smiling, knowing you got home safe.

Momentary happiness is driving without a destination and simply reflecting on life. It's taking a step back and allowing myself to be aware of my breathing and existence. It's allowing myself to find pleasure in the little things.

Momentary happiness is getting accepted into college. It's getting that job. It's making the Dean's list. It's acing the test you study so hard for. It's watching your hard work pay off. It's finding your people. It's all the things that make you proud of yourself and happy to be alive.

Momentary happiness was buying my dream car at age 17 without my parents help.

A Deeper Happiness:

A deeper happiness is finding beauty in vulnerability. Not holding back my feelings and telling people how magnificent they are because people don't get told that enough. A deeper happiness is allowing me to feel everything deeply and without explanation. It's finding beauty in the madness and trusting the process.

Life's about getting lost in passion and dedicating myself to the things that matter most. It's wanting success as bad as I want to breathe. It's about taking that jump and seeing if I can land it, and if I don't, it's about being crazy enough to give it one more try. Life's about risking it all even if the outcome is uncertain. A deeper happiness is seeing myself grow into the person I've always wanted to become. Deeper happiness is being able to keep my promises to myself and others.

Life is about being empathetic. Finding out someone's story and attempting to understand their actions. It's about not taking things personally and allowing for second chances, even thirds. It's understanding that not every action needs a reaction. A greater happiness is caring for those around me just as much, if not more, than myself.

Life is embracing hardships and disappointments. Understanding that knowledge comes from experience and disappointments are all apart of the journey. A deeper happiness is understanding that this to shall pass. It's being able to laugh and smile even though things didn't go my way because everything that is meant to be will be. It's understanding that I will be stronger because of my defeats.

A deeper happiness is putting myself in hard situations, situations I know will hurt me. It's helping people get through their hard times. A deeper happiness is being the reason someone smiled. It's being the shoulder to cry on. It's wearing my heart on my sleeve because I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.

A deeper happiness is giving everything I have and being a better person than I was yesterday. Making my friends and family proud but myself prouder. A deeper happiness is leaving my mark on the world. It's about leaving a person, situation, and world better than I found it.

A beautiful, fulfilling life is one that money can't buy.

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