Winter Stent Moon
Went to Mile High Comics yesterday. They advertise as America’s largest and friendliest comics dealer. When we went in, a staffer, maybe the owner, hipster beard and comic icon t-shirt, greeted us. “This place is big. 1983 to 3 months ago is all here. He gestured toward row after row of white boxes on tables, “All alphabetized by title regardless of publisher.” To our left, along the wall of this cavernous 45,000 square foot warehouse, “…are variants (particular issues of a comic with different cover art from the original). Marvel and DC work with us, so many of them are unique, only available here.” The new comics, in the last three months, had tables and chair in front of them for friendly perusing.
“Back there, where the Help Desk sign is, we have our inventory. Customers can’t go back there, but it’s all searchable and staff will bring you anything you want to see. 8 million comics in inventory. 2 million on display. 10 million all together.” He seemed sincere, but the numbers seem pretty damned high to me. Even so, there’s no doubt there were a vast amount of comic books.
It’s not a fancy place. Bare concrete floors with gray sealer paint, carpet squares laid down in front of the new comics. The fixtures were used, bought at auction, I imagine. A ten foot ceiling and the only walls marked off bathrooms, a utility closet and a small backroom area. A long outside wall, one that runs along now disused railroad tracks, had the silver and golden age comics, 1930-1983. Many of them, the rarest editions, sat under clear plastic covers that reached to the ceiling. Many of the prices were impressive. $2,000 was not an unusual price point.
In addition to the 10 million comics several different displays featured toys related to the various universes represented in the comic book world. A true multiverse of the mind. There were Star Wars toys with death stars and yodas, Empire fighters and Millennium Falcons. Star Trek toys with Data, Captain Picard, models of the Enterprise. A large Ironman statue. Intricate modeled scenes from Batman, Superman, the Marvel comics sat alongside small action figures. There were chess pieces made of comic book figurines, including one full chess set with pieces modeled from Batman characters.
There weren’t many people there at 1 pm on Friday afternoon. But of those that were thick glasses, unkempt hair, and a distracted look was common. Nerd stereotypes that would fit well in the Big Bang Theory.
I didn’t buy anything. The size of the place and the vast number of things on offer overwhelmed me. I went to the chairs and tables in the new comics section, sat down, and closed my eyes.