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My Comic Book Shoppe – Greg’s Comics

I was going to write a post about the place where I buy comics, and I’m still going to, but I decided to expand it as well. Read on!

I have mentioned before that I purchase my weekly books at Greg’s Comics. It’s not actually because the name of the store is my name, in case you’re wondering. I live basically at the same intersection as Greg’s Comics, which is on the northwest corner of Alma School Road and Guadalupe Road in Mesa, Arizona. I live in the housing development on the southeastern corner of the intersection, so I can easily ride my bike to the shop. Even if I didn’t live that close, I’d still go to Greg’s. It’s a cool place.

When I moved to Arizona in 2001, I started buying comics at Atomic, mainly because they were the store I found first. I like Atomic (and I’m planning to write about them in the future), but I eventually discovered Greg’s and decided to shop there. I had a few reasons for it. I prefer, if I can, to patronize small businesses, and although Atomic is just a local store as well, it’s still a chain and the owner is chums with Joey Q, so it feels a bit more corporate. If Atomic was a phenomenally better store than Greg’s, I’d definitely go there, but it’s not. Howard, the owner of Greg’s (the namesake of the store apparently helped him get it started but then bailed), pretty much gives everyone who shops there a 20% discount. So it’s cheaper to buy there than at Atomic. And, as I’ve mentioned in my monthly “Flippin’ Through Previews” posts, Howard gives Previews out for free, which is very handy. Howard often doesn’t order the really odd stuff, because it doesn’t sell, so if I didn’t order it, I wouldn’t read it. As I’ve grown out of superhero stuff, it’s helpful to be able to read Previews to see what else is out there. I know it’s not a perfect system, but it works for me, and I appreciate that I can read Previews for free. As usual, I urge you to ask your retailer if you can read Previews for free, or at least at cost ($3). If you order enough out of it, they’re making their money back easily.

I like the atmosphere at Greg’s as well. It’s a stereotypical comics shoppe in many ways (unlike Atomic, which is much sleeker), in that it’s packed with comics and toys, there’s little room to maneuver, the long boxes look like something out of a garage, and it feels like there ought to be a “Geeks Only” sign in the window. It’s a false stereotype, to a large degree – Howard and Robert, the other guy who works at the store, are extremely helpful when non-regulars come in the store – but it does often feel that way. There are the regulars, who stand around arguing about minutiae of comic-bookdom, and it’s somewhat cave-like, in that it’s dark and the windows are papered up with comics posters. This is, however, quite functional – if you’ve ever been to the AZ, where the sun is only two miles above the surface of the planet, you know that you need to block any large space that allows light in. But it adds to the somewhat dark atmosphere in the store. I happen to like it, but then I may be one of those geeks you hear about who never get to see women naked.


(That’s Howard in the top picture, counting in his order. Robert is in the bottom picture.)

Greg’s has a ton of back issues, in an age where back issues seem to be going the way of the dodo. Howard prices them well, too – you can always find cheap comics there, plus you get the discount on top of it. He does a cool thing, too – he bundles up issues that “go” together and sells them at a discount – you can find mini-series and long runs of ongoing titles that would be difficult to get if you were buying the issues individually, and they’re not that expensive. It’s a fairly handy way to find something without buying the trades, especially if the stuff hasn’t been collected (which is true for quite a bit of what he puts out). He has plenty of trades around the store, and he always has a “half-price” box or two where you can find some good bargains. One thing he doesn’t stock is manga. The customer base at Greg’s is pretty standard DC-and-Marvel superhero fans (his biggest sellers these days are New Avengers and JLA), and they have no interest in manga. He orders it for me when I write it down on my form (the one I make myself, as Previews no longer includes one in the catalog), but it’s not a place you’re going to find them lined up. He’d have them if his customers wanted them, but they don’t.


(This is new comics day. They’re all laid out on the tables, which is ridiculously lo-tech but somewhat charming.)

So that’s my comic book store. It’s been there for 16 years, and Howard does all right for himself. He goes to toy fairs and the San Diego con, because he has a lot of pre-1970s stuff that he doesn’t display at the store (he has a few on the walls, but it’s a tiny percentage of his stock), so he makes extra money that way. He has only one employee, after all (Robert has been there almost as long as he has), so he doesn’t have a ton of expenditures in that area. It’s a cool place to shop, and I often go there on the weekend to bullshit with Robert, because it’s fun to vent about comics, isn’t it?

As I mentioned at the top, I decided to expand this idea a bit. So I’m asking you, the readers, to write about your comic book stores as well. I’d like to make this a regular feature, depending on the response I get. If you buy your comics at a store instead of cheating and getting them on-line (yeah, I’m looking at you, Bill Reed), tell us about the store. My e-mail address is chlothar1@earthlink.net. Send me an account of your store, and if you want to send me some photographs, that’s cool too. You can write as much or as little as you like, and if the store has a web site, you can send that along too (Greg’s does not have one, because Howard doesn’t want one). If nobody responds, I’ll just write about comic book stores I happen to go to, and as I can foresee only a few places I’m going to travel in the next few months, the stores I visit will be few and far between. But it would be more fun if you participate!

To finish, I always feel weird about linking to my other blog, but it’s time for my annual round-up of how my daughter is doing, so if you’re interested in reading about her progress, head on over! It’s worth it just to see how cute the kids are! Just ignore the fat man at the bottom of the post!

21 Comments

Greg’s Comics is but a 15 minute drive from where I live. Glad to see it get a feature here.

My place is Read More Comics in Brandon, FL. Scott and Clark are both very nice and helpful, and not at all snobish like some comic book store guys can be. The prices are great (25% off graphic novels, discounts on your pull list, etc.), and it’s just a great place.

It’s awesome that Greg’s Comics has those “mega sets” available (as seen in the last picture). That’s something my local Comic shoppe, sadly, doesn’t have. I live in the Philippines and my local comic shoppe is called Planet X. Small place but the people who work there are really awesome dudes.

Hey Tyler,
I go to Read More Comics as well. It is a great shop, and Scott was very reasonable with his subs. He also has 50% off sales the day after Thanksgiving and on New Years. Also, has several boxes of dollar comics.

The other comics shop I like in the Tampa area is Green Shift. It’s a small place, but has a back room full of back issues. Back issues are also 30% off everyday.

I live in Connecticut, so I patronize Matt’s in Enfield. It’s small, a little cramped but SO delightful. Plus there is a really good pizza and grinder place next door. As a middle-aged woman, I am something of an anomaly in most comic book stores, but Matt and practically all of his customers have treated me with courtesy and respect, which is REALLY nice.

I make him fudge and cookies, and he saves me the best covers.

Greg I don’t know if this link will work, but Previews offers a short order form at http://www.diamondcomics.com try this link http://previewsworld.com/support/previews_docs/orderforms/SOF.pdf to print out the form.

Cheers,

B

I’ve been to Greg’s Comics once or twice before, but that was like… good gods, 1998, 1999? (Was it THAT long ago? Apparently so. Yikes.) Like most comics shops it was little too cluttered in layout for my tastes (and it still looks to be about the same layout that I remember), but then I feel any retail establishment should have enough space for the handicapped to get around without bumping into things or other customers. No I am not handicapped, but both of my parents are and there are plenty of comics fans who are. I just have a personal ‘nitpick’ about that, according to others. (Of course, you should get your ass in a wheelchair and learn how hard it is to get around before you blow the sentiment off.)

Howard was pretty cool as I recall and bought a couple of copies of the first comic I’d inked professionally from me for the store. I’m sure they’re since long gone now, a decade later.

“(The windows being covered) is, however, quite functional – if you’ve ever been to the AZ, where the sun is only two miles above the surface of the planet, you know that you need to block any large space that allows light in.”

Yup, the UV Rays from the sun outside will fade the comics covers seventeen different shades inside of a week. So blocking the windows with something is a requirement. But Greg’s wasn’t like the Bat Cave with no lighting at all. I can remember former comics stores in Vegas where you practically needed nightvision goggles to find anything.

“Although Atomic is just a local store as well, it’s still a chain and the owner is chums with Joey Q, so it feels a bit more corporate.”

The owner(s?) of the Atomic chain stores seem to be chummy with a variety of hotshot creators. I’ve known them to be chummy with the Image guys, particularly McFarlane; chummy with Brian Pulido back when Chaos! Comics was big. They’re kind of marks in that way. Atomic never impressed me much because of that.

I haven’t been to a “real” comic shop in a long time. I do part-time in a hobby shop with a comics sideline (because the owner likes Spider-Man). The section’s decent sized in relation to the store, but really, it’s small, and I only get my books there because I know the guy and I effectively get them for free (most of the time I’m there, there isn’t much to do, because it’s usually in the evening and people aren’t stopping by, so I’m really being “paid” to read my book for a few hours twice a week).

He has a sub service, which has maybe 20 people on, one of which is in every week and orders half of Marvel’s line, and is probably the only reason he still does it.

Bright-Raven: Yeah, my daughter is in a wheelchair, and on the rare occasions I take her to the store, it’s hard to maneuver her. I think that someone in a chair could get around in the store, but there wouldn’t be room for much else.

Last year for Free Comic Book Day the owner of Atomic got the seven Image founders together for a big signing, so yeah, he’s pals with (at least) McFarlane.

[...] A visit to the comics shop Link: Greg’s Comics, Up Up & [...]

I shop at Greg’s Comics every week. Howard and Robert are the best and are great guys. Sure there store is low-tech, but there’s something fun and quaint about that. It’s always a pleasure signing my paycheck over to them.

I used to work for Atomic, years ago, I still talk to the owner and will swing by for signings or to pick up a book I forgot to order from Howard, but otherwise I’m completely loyal to them and intend to be forever unless I move to a different state. Couldn’t be happier.

Wow! I love this place!

My comic book collecting has not been as prominent as it used to. I did however build a huge stock of back issues thanks to Howard at Greg’s. This store is incredible and everybody is super nice. After spending loads of dough to collect various runs, Howard would even try to tempt me with some rare comics like the first few issues of X-men or large collections. It seemed like he could get anything, and the prices were always ridiculously cheap.

Atomic make have a lot larger selection of new comics, but it sometimes feels like a card dealership. I have been reading comics 25+ years. I don’t need a salesman trying to force some manga or scroog mc duck comic down my throat. I find the staff at Atomic can be very annoying and also some are very unhelpful. Many times they don’t know anything about comics (although there are a few that are really knowledgeable).

It’s nice to see this here! Greg’s deserves more attention, it really is one of the last comic book stores in the valley that can hold their own against Atomic.

Greg’s comics simply rules – you can find back issues to fill your comic needs and they aren’t going to charge you unrealistic prices like Atomic Comics. Plus Howard hooks me up with discounts all the time – plus, they don’t cherry pick the key issues out of the bins. There was a Vengence of Bane #1 sitting in the bin for $4.00 and they didn’t even say it was a miss or anything. They are a bit out of my way but I find myself there once a week any way.

He just recently had a Silver age comic sale for $1.00 I was able to score some fantastic comics.

I almost don’t want peole to know how awesome it is or they’ll clean him out and leave nothing for me

I love Gregs! Ive been going there for a year and a half and i love that place i go there for the golden age and thay have some amazing discounts

And you can bet Greg’s is one of the benficiaries of the demise of Atomic. A little common sense and customer service pays off.

First time in Greg’s today, and I couldn’t be happier. I found stuff there you cant find online without having to pay some extreme price. Not only is that the advantage of this store over others, but Howard is a real cool guy. Number 1 comic book store by far. Will be here again.

Greg’s Comics will have a full shipment of new comics Wed. Sept. 7. I just could not bare the thought of disappointing,My old costumers. Also the Atomic Comic refuges, have had enough Disappointing, If there was something I could do, I would do it. It cost me a bundle on shipping , but it is worth it. As always new issues will be 20 % off. I made sure to order enough Dc’s this week. After all I think everyone should own at least one Action #1. Thanks East Valley for 20 years of support.

What are greg’s store hours? I know this article is SUPER old but hopefully someone reads this lol.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 10 – 7
Wed. 10-8:30
Sunday 11-6

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