The nerd community of Asheville is really lucky that Comic Envy is a fun and safe place to go to because they are literally the only comic book store in town. But, if there were other stores, I would probably would still continue to shop there. The staff is the friendliest staff I have ever encountered, and I’ve never felt uncomfortable there. Their recommendations are pretty solid too. The store is clean, well organized and none of the decorations are pictures of sexualized women. If you’re in Asheville and need to pick up comics, Comic Envy is definitely a safe, welcoming place.
Name: Duncan Comics, Books, and Accessories
Address: 1047 U.S. Route 19, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
This is a small “mom and pop” sort of store run by a man named Tom and his dad. Tom is a very good man, and I’ve never heard of a bad experience with him or his dad. I’ve been in there when there have been women, poc, and children there as well. They have all been treated equally, and I’ve never seen or heard anything bad done or said by Tom or his dad. Tom also knows that I’m bi, and has no problems with that. He treats me just like he’d treat anyone else.
One problem is that because it is such a small store, it only has a small gravel area out front for parking that is full of bumps and such, so if you are on cruches, in a wheel chair, use a walker etc. it will be very hard to get to and from your car.
Madness Games and Comics
3000 Custer Road Suite # 310
Plano, Texas 75075
I can say first and foremost thank you so so much for this blog. You are NEEDED and I hope more and more people find out about you guys so more spaces can be found and more people can find safe places.
Now what can I say about this shop? My partner and I have been going to it for over a year now for various nerdy things and we have never left there with a sour taste in our mouth. All of the staff are kind, helpful, attentive, and equally so no matter your assumed race, gender, or sexuality. (There is one staff member who we are kinda iffy on, but he’s never been disrespectful and calling him a jerk is harsh, he just kinda does his own thing? So this review is outside of him, since we do not see him there often, and he is helpful if we are looking for something and cannot find it) I myself am non-binary but to an outsider I’d still look “female” (long hair, girlish figure, breasts that are hard to hide, etc) and my partner is Mexican in heritage, and we can say we have never had a problem and have never seen or heard of staff or other patrons having any issues with patrons there.
The store is massive, they actually recently relocated across the shopping center they are in currently this last year because they had outgrown their old shop, but they never lost the feel of the smaller store. Plus, they have literally something in there for everyone. Comics, figurines, RPG books and table area (we play Monday nights with a group D&D 4th edition), Warhammer area and it’s respective tables, trading card area and it’s tables, as well as tons of board games, t-shirts, and even other nerdy type things like firefly and doctor who.
If you become a regular the workers will even start to recognize you and will remember the things you like without you even needing to say anything. They’ll remember an item you had asked for the week prior to be ordered in or they’ll already be pulling your comic subscription box out as you walk in the door. I can also say they have never talked down to me, wether I’m standing next to my partner or not they speak to us equally and if I ask a question or if they happen to find me before him (say we had asked about something coming in soon) they will approach me and speak to me with no issue. Just like I’m any other person.
But I have to stress they treat new faces like this too. If you need help finding something, or if something interests you and you’d like to know something more about it, SOMEONE on staff will know something more about it and you can ask til your hearts content, no matter who you are. They’re just happy to see people in their and they want to be sure you’re getting something that you’ll enjoy.
My last note is on the disability access to it. Parking is usually never an issue, but because of the way the (very old) lot was setup, the actual disabled parking is to the right of the store and not right in front of the store, which is shared with the sports bar on the corner. I myself just need a spot close to the door and not the area to get a wheelchair out so I opt for the parking spots in front of the building. Friday nights are generally the only time the lot will be packed, due to the trading card tournament there weekly. Sadly they cannot change the parking, it was that way before they got there, but there are ramps on the left and right sides of the doors. The doors are another issue. They are not an automatic open, so if you will have difficulty opening them outward you’ll need to bring a friend or knock on them and wait for staff to open them for you. These are really my only complaints. Staff will always get things down off shelves if you need assistance and the tables for games do not have chairs attached to them so you can move them any which way you need to. The bathrooms are always clean and there is a handicap stall.
All in all I’ve never seen the staff mistreating or talking down to a customer and we’ve always been treated with respect. Some of the staff are really funny too and they’re nice to get to know.
Also say hi to Sophie, the shiz-tzu! She’s the owner’s black and white dog who trots around the store. If you’re lucky she’ll let you give her belly pettins’!
(I would like to include that this is a safe place for women, lgbt, PoC, and disabled individuals)
Owner has always been a great guy, even when I was just getting into comics. The only other staff member I’ve seen is a woman, and both are helpful and friendly. The store is great at getting you whatever isn’t in stock, for both trades and issues. Large selection in a smaller space, with large collections of trades, various back and vintage issues, plenty of recent releases with a kids section, and a fairly large collection of board games. Only worries for some people are the two steps getting into the building, narrow walkways within the store, and allergies. Two Basset Hounds are generally there, and once you show them some affection, they’ll stay on you for more.
8th Street Books
1006 - 8th Street East
This is an excellent female-friendly and family-friendly comic book shop, and the majority of the staff is female!
The knowledgeable staff, all comic book enthusiasts, are able to speak intelligently to all comers be they new to comics or life-long readers. I’ve been a patron here off and on for pretty well as long as I can remember and I’ve always felt comfortable visiting the store. The staff are right sweethearts - if there’s something you’re looking for, they’ll help you find it. Always so friendly, and they treat all visitors with respect.
They also host Magic the Gathering gaming events, offer a wide assortment of statuettes and action figures, and sell costumes. If it’s cool, you’ll probably find it here.
Note: while the space may be considered largely wheelchair accessible, some may find graphic novel aisles to be a tight squeeze.
As if you need another reason to go to All Star Comics in Melbourne, Australia, but they just won an Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award at comic con. Definitely well deserved!
Video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=779187368798491&set=vb.424524937598071&type=2&theater
New England Comics is already on the masterlist, but I’d really like to highlight the Malden location. It’s my weekly Wednesday visit and the staff and regulars are a wonderful array of people of all walks of life - women and POCs come in to pick up their subs every week. Have been recommended some fantastic series here and the staff is a very friendly, outgoing group who are seemingly always ready to talk shop with newbies and who take very good care of their regulars.
JP Comics & Games
603 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
JP Comics & Games is a fixture in the community of Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, MA. The owners - Paul, Cole, and Keith - are friendly, affirming, helpful folks who are easy to talk to and welcoming to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, newness to comic culture or any other identity or factor.
All the owners are easy to talk to and welcoming of discussions and critiques of comic titles and culture. I have witnessed the owners respectfully discuss misogyny, hetero-cissexism, and racism in comics, and the (almost) monthly comic forum events are frequently populated with folks discussing both the historical and present currents of culture, artistic style, and narrative in comics. [On a more personal note, I have had one of the owners ask me to help teach them to politely ask folks what pronouns they prefer, in order to be more respectful of folks with a diversity of gender identities.]
Paul and Cole are especially good at helping folks newer to comics to broaden their reading by providing excellent tailored suggestions based on titles they are already reading. They are also good with steering folks who have never read comics before in the direction of titles they will enjoy based on their preferences in story telling in movies, books, or other media.
Before moving to JP, and finding my comic home (and many friends) at JP Comics & Games, I had fallen out of reading comics. I have never had a better experience than at this store. I would recommend it to anyone in the Boston area, or anyone who finds themselves in town on a Wednesday looking for their comic fix. They also have board game nights on Thursday and Saturday, as well as Dungeons and Dragons night on Wednesday, all of which are equally welcoming and fun!
Comic Book College is at 3145 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408. The staff is very friendly and helpful. My girlfriend is fairly new to comics and has received great recommendations from the staff. The shop has a great childrens’ section, as well. The staff is ethnically diverse, as well. I always look forward to shopping here.
The Comic Hunter
465 Main Street
This shop is a must-visit for me whenever I’m in the Moncton area. I’ve always been well-treated here, and the staff have been quite willing to engage with me as a female patron. To say nothing of the amazing collection of backissues they offer.
Very friendly, very helpful, and I always manage to find something fabulous when I visit. I’ve gotten some really hard to get comics here, and it’s always a very positive experience. Of all the comic shops I visit, this one is among my top 3 favorites.
At this shop, you’re made to feel welcome.