Posted by: Kristi Tuck Austin | February 17, 2011

Drop-in at Velocity Comics

On a rainy Saturday earlier this month, I joined Caroline from Fantastic Fangirls: Comics and Culture at Velocity Comics on Broad Street. I knew almost nothing about comics and graphic novels, and Caroline became my guru in all things. Between her and Velocity staffer Tim, I fell in love with the store. Tim was unwaveringly patient, even graciously letting me video the store for the blog. (Don’t ask what’s going on with the camera. I just beg your forgiveness.)

I, a comic store virgin, felt intimidated and embarrassed to admit my ignorance. These people are serious about comics. They care about comics; it is in their motto. I was thankful for Caroline. We walked in and I thought, “That’s a lot of comics and graphic novels. Will I look like an idiot if I just stand here staring?” Tim greeted us. Second thought: “He’s welcoming. Really welcoming. Will it last when he learns I can’t name the Fantastic Four?”

It lasted. Caroline gave an overview of the store and book formats, and then she introduced me to Tim for the grand tour. He even filled me in on the subscription boxes where Velocity collects customers’ desired issues. There are a couple hundred subscriptions, but Tim knew Caroline’s box number and its contents off the top of his head, one reason Caroline praises their customer service.

I wasn’t ready for a subscription box yet. But I was ready to browse. I looked around with no pressure from Tim to hurry and make a purchase. He was helpful but didn’t hover. Furniture and car salespeople should line up to take lessons from this man.

These children’s comics looked like they could have been from my childhood, and I almost picked one up out of nostalgia.

The Muppets were not to be outdone.

We found graphic novels adapted from books…

…and, my personal favorite, adaptations of classic literature.

Yes, dear friends, that is Jon Arbuckle as Jon Faustus. Was there ever a better role for Garfield?

I purchased Welcome to the Jungle, the graphic novel in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

And I purchased a suggestion from Caroline and Tim – the first collected edition of Unwritten.

Unwritten stars Tommy Taylor, son of famed novelist Wilson Taylor, whose boy-wizard franchise reminds one of Harry Potter. Wilson modeled the story’s spell slinger after his son, even giving the character his son’s name. Wilson wrote 13 best-selling novels before disappearing and leaving the real Tommy to make his livelihood speaking at conventions. But at this convention, Tommy’s accused of forging his identity; Wilson Taylor never had a son. With mobs of disgruntled fans behind him, Tommy runs to his father’s manor for answers but finds unexpected allies and deadly enemies.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Caroline and Tim for the recommendation. I devoured the first issue (it’s a collection of five) before forcing myself to slow and appreciate the art. The plot is surprisingly gripping and I liked bitter, misguided Tommy, especially his attitude toward the character who shares his name. Yeah, he has some daddy issues. Yeah, I don’t like the cropped tee stretched over the heroine’s ample bosom, but I like Tommy’s obsession with literary geography and the appearances by Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and Oscar Wilde.

And I love that I feel comfortable enough heading into Velocity Comics to pick up the next issue in the series. It is okay if I ask for help and recommendations. They enjoy it.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for coming along with me! I’m up for it any time.

    • Thank you! We must do it again soon.

      I’m looking forward to your blogger Q&A. I know others will learn as much from you as I did.


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