Monday, May 12, 2008

The Comic Shop Project: Earth 2 Comics

After my experiences last Saturday, I wanted to start this project off with a positive note, so I chose a shop I frequent fairly often. I found it a few years ago, and drop by whenever I find myself with a little money and some time to kill. If I still lived in the San Fernando valley, it would most definitely be my primary shop.

I'm talking about Earth 2 Comics in Sherman Oaks. The shop is clean, well-lit and smartly organized. The owners proudly display their 2007 Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer of the Year award, and rightfully so.

  • Selection: They've got a fairly wide selection of new material (though no manga). The shop is divided near equally between trades and floppies, with some toys and shirts thrown into the mix. They don't have a whole lot on the floor as far as back issues, but I get the feeling (due to the presence of Silver Age titles) that they have more in storage for a customer who is looking for something special.
  • Cleanliness/Organization: It's a very clean and organized shop that feels lived in. The decor has a nice balance so that the shop doesn't feel sparsely impersonal or cluttered and trashy. There the feeling of a discerning eye in the choice of decor. Personally, I like the Steve Rude Nexus skecth that they have up on the wall. When I visited Saturday, they had some kind of lifesize replica of Ultimate Thor's hammer on the counter. It was intimidating, but in a cool, geeky way. Definitely a conversation starter for many who entered the shop. I like that they have separate sections for the trades, in that you can look at one shelf and find titles in alphabetical order, or you can look on a separate shelf and see trades grouped by creator. For someone like me, who tends to follow writers over characters, this is a welcome tweak.
  • Staff: Probably the model staff one could wish for. They are always ready to help, but never too intrusive. I've always been greeted or acknowledged when I've entered the shop. They possess a level of professionalism and enthusiasm that I wish more shops had. What really sells me is the way they interact with all walks of customer; I've seen them walk a non-comics person looking for a gift for someone else in the most courteous manner as well as talk to hardcore fans about the smallest continuity details. It's all about enthusiasm and thinking about who you're talking to.
  • Bonus/Incentives: Aside from the friendly atmosphere, they offer a 15% discount on pull lists of at least 10 items. They also have something they call the Free Trade League. It's a card you get stamped every time you purchase a trade. When you have 10 stamps, your 11th trade (up to $19.99) is free. Great incentive for readers like me who buy more trades than floppies these days.

So, in short, Earth 2 is a shop I can't recommend highly enough. It's got a great vibe. It's one of few shops I would feel comfortable bringing my girlfriend to. Hell, I'd feel comfortable bringing my mother there.

Not that I would... I'm just saying.



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