Third Eye Comics in Annapolis sets a whole new standard to the comic shop experience.
Becoming complacent and going to the same place all the time because its local is not always the best thing.
Sometimes you may even run into the comic shop pseudo snobs making you feel like you don't belong.
I have never had an experience like I did at Third Eye Comics. It's an odd coming home feeling and running into friends you haven't seen in a while. What store offers to give you a tour? And a *tour is necessary, as it is a long store with an exorbitant variety of titles, paperback/hardcover, knick-knack figures, statues, posters, t-shirts, cards and supplies.
Besides the friendly service two other things stood out to me. 1. There are barely any back issues, at least not the typical rows of boxes 2. They do a lot of comic signings with artists and writers.
Maybe that's the secret ingredient that a lot of shops miss that TEC has? I've never seen a shop have this kind of success. The whole point of me going to the store to begin with was to interview Brian Posehn . I wasn't expecting everything else. Tons of people (other than those wrapped around the outside of the store) were going in just to shop with no intentions of getting a book signed.
After my interview, I was able to pull aside Steve - the owner of Third Eye Comics, for a quick interview:
Out of all the businesses you could have opened, what made you want to open a comic shop?
I grew up in the industry. I started working at this comic shop that I went to when I bought comics, when I was 12, I started working there when I was 18, I'm 30 now, I worked till I was 25 and then I opened up my store 5 years ago. This is all I've done. (starts laughing) I have to do it! (starts laughing harder) I'm not good at anything else. It's all I can do. It's my trade! But I'm really good at it; I've got to make it work.
How has business been with the economy?
You know it's funny, we opened up right when the recession hit. We just hit the ground running. Maybe because we had such low expectations. Maybe that helped us? You know? I don't know.
(At this moment he stops and points to a guy over my shoulder) Take care John! (See ya buddy! Is heard in the background) But uh, business has been great. Every year we see growth, we see increases.
Have signings had an impact on your business with the economy?
They definitely bring more recognition to the store, but I do the signings to give back to the customers. It's more of a thing for the customers than it is in terms of attention for the store.
Uhm, That answers my next question too.
Has social media had an impact on getting talent to the store?
Yeah, you know, because they see us talking. They see the pictures of the signings. They're like "We want to go there. We really want to do something." A lot of our signings are arranged by guys who contact us instead of us contacting them. It's a lot of I heard you guys are doing a really good job. I want to come out and do something with you guys.
So you actually barely have to do any leg work to get them to come out?
Well at times, there are some people we do. It's very cool, it's kind of a like a DIY band, you know? It's like you go to this venue, and this venue's cool, so you're gonna want to have all your friends go there. It's like that. They tell their friends and we treat'em good.
Have any fans ever made any crazy offers for signatures?
No, not really. I mean, I can't think of anything too ‘crazy'. I mean everybody is….We're really lucky, we're really blessed. Our customer base is the best in the country. You know, it's you reap what you sow and we've got a great bunch of people that shop here.
*While I did get permission before by phone, no one knew who I was when I arrived, until I introduced myself. So I wasn't given special treatment. I was at their Annapolis location .
Know of cool shop you want me to check out? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll review our local business that deserves a shout out.