The problem with comic book stores is that they aren’t always alluring places. Not that they aren’t staffed by helpful and personable people, but the actual store itself is often less than appealing. Many shops are dimly lit, or thin on inventory, or organized like a hoarder’s living room. That’s why Manhattan Beach is lucky to have one of a handful of stores that defies the stereotype in the Comic Bug. It just might be the best comic store in the South Bay.
For some, this might not be a grand title. What makes the Comic Bug so worthwhile is that it appeals to those that aren’t already immersed in the culture or industry — the comics curious. Just off of Manhattan Beach Blvd., Comic Bug is a wide open space that exudes enthusiasm for the art form over hobby shop exclusivity. This isn’t just a vague feeling, it’s been officially recognized. In 2011, Comic Bug was nominated for an Eisner Award — one of the most prestigious awards in the industry, given every year at the San Diego Comic Con — for the best in comics retail.
The Power Of Presentation
They uphold their pop culture boutique reputation in a number of ways. First, they meticulously organize their books and trade paperbacks, which makes finding specific books quick and easy. Authors with a lot of buzz have their collections highlighted, so casual fans who have just read about Warren Ellis in the New York Times can dive right in.
The brightly painted walls, ample breathing room and dedicated children’s section work together to let visitors know that this is a space for everyone. Whether you’re curious because you just saw the new Superman movie, or you’ve built your own functional Iron Man suit at home, you’ll feel like this is a place that caters to you.
A World Of Choices
All of this wouldn’t mean anything, though, if they didn’t have the merchandise to back it up. Comic Bug curates a wide array of comics. The entire western wall is reserved for the weekly 22-page pamphlets, with a healthy selection of indies — books that don’t bear the corporate banners of Marvel or DC. The diversity is also reflected in their genres, so that it’s not merely a place for capes & zombies. There’s a lot of crime fiction, speculative fiction and literary genre cornerstones like TINTIN and MAUS. It’s not so prolific that you’ll find everything you want there, but it encompasses enough that you’ll certainly find something to like.
In 2006, the Comic Bug at its original location on Aviation Boulevard caught fire. In light of this, sales were thrown, the community pulled together, and in a year’s time the shop was back and as good as ever. Comic book stores are increasingly rare, and those of Comic Bug’s quality are the cream of that crop. It’s good to see that even against the largest set backs, a business that’s built up good will with its customers can pull through.
The Comic Bug – (310) 372 – 6704
1807 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
The Comic Bug’s customers rave about their selection! Have you had a chance to check it out, tell us what you thought in the Comments below?