The other day for my birthday, I decided to check out a comic shop I haven’t been to before. Actually, it’s a comic/coffee shop. The family owned Villainous Grounds in Perryville, MO.
This store has been mentioned previously on here back during Cape Comic-Con week. https://detective651.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/cape-comic-con-2016-the-haul/ I ran into them at their table at the convention and was intrigued by the concept.
I’ve wanted to check out their store since I found out about it and my birthday seemed like a good opportunity to do so. I made my way to the store easily enough after half-ass checking Google maps as I have not been to Perryville before.
Now, upon first entering the store, I was alarmed for the first few seconds. The first floor of the shop is the coffee section. There were two customers sitting at a table drinking coffee and they did not look like comic fans. I did not immediately see any comic book related material and this is “red alert” for me when visiting a new store for the first time. Previous experiences of a comic shop being out of business or moved pump through my brain in these moments. Especially pre-internet when you were relying on a phone book or someone’s recollection of out-of-date info. (I’m old.) Luckily, I saw a sign with Superman and a staircase beckoning me to untold comics above.
Probably while these thoughts were going through my head, I was greeted by the owner’s daughters (?) working behind the bar. I confirmed that I could go upstairs and buy some comics and then come back down and buy some coffee and sit and read my comics. I was overjoyed. This is a great idea and what I had come for.
I proceeded upstairs to the comic book section and began to look around.
There were 3(?) rooms of comic books. A lot of new books and merchandise and a few tables of back issues.
Everything in this store is well-organized and pretty easy to find. The store is pretty new and there isn’t a ton of stuff, so it would be pretty bad if it wasn’t. However, for a store that hasn’t been around very long yet, it feels like they have been doing this for years. That might be due to the family aspect of the business.
Finding a nice, clean store with comic shops is kind of a roll of the dice and I was pleasantly surprised. This store seems like it would be really inviting to new customers and casual fans. Something missing from too many comic book shops. There is a lot of merchandise and t-shirts for people to pick up also. Don’t worry, they have Funko Pop!s. I know you were wondering.
Speaking of Pop!s, after a trip a friend of mine and I made recently, where every store we went to had Pop!s, I have decided to pick them up as souvenirs. I figure this will keep me from buying too many of them and hopefully make them more worthwhile to me. So, I determined to pick one up here since I was on a trip.
Villainous Grounds had a lot of Daredevil shirts there, so I decided to pick up this Matt Murdock Pop! based on the Netflix show. Cool red lenses were also a factor. I didn’t realize that it would be a bobble head. I think I heard something about the Disney ones being that way before. Probably some licensing conflict with someone else. So, from now on, I will on purchase Pop!s when I am on a road trip. You know, except for that Funko DC box I subscribe to. https://detective651.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/whats-in-the-boooox-legion-of-collectors-suicide-squad/
As far as being welcoming to new customers, they have a kids section of comic books. A lot of stores also have this, but not all. I’ve found it’s a good barometer of how inviting a store is to “outsiders”. Plus, according to their website they are looking to expand it. So, there’s that too.
When I got to the back issues, I discovered that they were 50% off during July. Happy Birthday to me! A sign said that only certain ones were on sale, but all the ones I pulled were so it worked out for me.
For me, a big part of traveling to a comic shop are the back issues. If I’m going out of my way, I want to get stuff I can’t get somewhere else. With comic books, that means back issues. New stuff can be had at your local store or online or wherever. Since I was a kid, I’ve tried to stress to people that all comic shops don’t all have the same stuff. They’re not Wal-Mart.That’s also the beauty of going to a comic shop you haven’t been to before. There’s always the chance that they’ll have the issue you’ve been looking for for years. Today online retailers and Ebay have taken a lot of excitement out of the hunt, but nothing beats finding the physical issue you’re looking for and holding it in your hand.
Having said all that, they didn’t have a lot in the way of back issues. This pic shows the majority of them.
That’s a great idea in the pic above by the way, a Return Basket for back issues. Instead of someone putting an issue back in the wrong place, the employees can return it where it goes. I’ve never seen a comic shop do that and now I don’t know why. Would probably help with inventory too.
Normally, I would be disappointed if a store I traveled to only had this amount of longboxes. In this case, I realized that all of the back issues are from approximately the last year. I’m assuming the time the store has been open, but don’t quote me on that. Personally, that works out great for me. I’m trying to get caught up on several recent series right now and they had a lot of stuff I was looking for! Score.
After quickly finding several back issues I wanted, I went back downstairs to purchase them and have some coffee.
Tomorrow Villainous Grounds Part 2: The Coffee.