I started buying my comics off the spinner-rack at the local grocery, at news stands and at convenience stores. Then, at some point I looked at the ads in a comic book and realized there were specialty stores, and I assume some path of logic there led me to finding Austin Books. I can't say I recall my first trip there, just that we stopped in as often as KareBear would load us in the van from North Austin and deposit us at the store.
Back then it was a big store, as comic shops went, but nowhere near the footprint today. That, and it was half fantasy/ sci-fi books and posters and whatnot, and half comic book shop.
I moved away in high school and had some decent shops in the Spring, Texas area (Bedrock City showed up when I was in college, but I don't recall the names of the other two shops that have since gone under).
In the late 90's and early 00's, the store was purchased and began the transformation to what it is today. I won't bore you with the details, but around 2007 they began finding new events and ways to expand. And, in 2015, Austin Books is now a complex that includes:
- the gigantic original store which is a huge store with a variety of graphic novels and comics that rivals literally any store I've seen in three countries and two continents. Toys. Back-issues. A huge Showcase Comics selection of Golden to Modern.
- Guzu Gallery - which is a pop-art objects store and local artist gallery focusing on pop art
- Outlaw Moon Games and Toys - which has a wide variety of games - role playing and board as well as vintage toys
- one of my favorites - The Sidekick Store - where they sell unbagged back issues and discount Bronze and Silver Age comics
And, the staff is incredible. Owner Brad has really got the business sorted out, has insisted on a professionalism that remains friendly but never falls into that "Boy's Club" thing you can get at other stores. Day-to-day, manager Brandon somehow keeps the whole place going. And there are loads of employees who have tremendous knowledge of comics, toys, comic history, and they can help you find something on the shelves.
The Labor Day Sale is currently on, and I've done quite well. This year I focused on all Superman titles, as that's my current collecting focus (I'm about wrapped on Wonder Woman Vol. 2 and the remaining Enemy Ace appearances I've got are a little spendy).
For details on the sale, go here.
But I had a good bit of fun looking, and wound up with new (to me) issues of Action Comics, Superman, Superman's Pal - Jimmy Olsen and made a spike in my modest Superman's Girlfriend - Lois Lane collection.
I got to the sale on opening night, and headed straight for The Sidekick Store. I was looking at 2-for-1 Superman issues when I sensed a disturbance in the force. Brandon got this picture or me just before I looked up.
(all photo credits on this post go to Austin Books and Comics. I'm assuming they won't be pissed I'm saying something nice about their store)
|that's me in the red plaid shirt at The Sidekick|