Saturday, April 7, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Part community center, pop-culture showcase, vintage store, museum, game lounge and special event space, comic book shops are universes unto themselves. Drawing loyal fans who subscribe to “pull boxes,” these shops continue to thrive as other retail stores are felled by online shopping.
Las Vegas is no exception. You could drive by without noticing them, but comics shops dot the valley, and there are so many great spots that it was incredibly difficult to choose just five.
While every shop is unique, expect them all to buy, sell and trade comics, toys and collectibles. You don’t need to be a superfan to stop in. Comic store clerks choose the job for the love of the art form, and they are more than happy to answer questions and help newbies find something they will enjoy. It’s a great way to spend an hour or an afternoon. And if you’re looking for an excuse to sample the selection, visit any of these stores for Free Comic Book Day on May 5.
Velvet Underground Comics & Collectibles
The oldest comic book store in Las Vegas is also the town’s most delightfully idiosyncratic. Owner Steven Riddle (aka “Riddler") prides himself on offering fair prices “by the book” when he buys and sells comics and memorabilia. For those interested in learning about how and what to collect, Riddle will be your guide. For example, he has a secret stash of issue No. 798 of The Amazing Spider-Man, a new release that features the Red Goblin’s debut.
In addition to 1,000 current ongoing monthly titles, Velvet Underground has a vast selection of vintage and rare comics, some with variant covers. The store even comes complete with a black cat named Baby. Because Riddle does things the old way, the store is cash only.
825 S. Decatur Blvd., Monday-Friday noon- 6 p.m., Saturday noon-5 p.m., (702) 258-2689.
Who needs to live in normal reality when you could live in Alternate Reality? This shop may be the most beloved pop culture purveyor in town. You can't help but love owner Ralph Mathieu. Located across the street from UNLV and in business since 1995, Alternate Reality is a vital part of the comic community. It’s represented by cartoon mascot Epstein, a custom-drawn “ska lizard.” The store hosts regular events, artist spotlights and sometimes even live music.
4110 S. Maryland Parkway, Monday-Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. -7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., (702) 736-3673.
According to his bio, founder Jim Brocius “claims not to want all the comic books in the world, saying that he’ll be happy with just one of each.” He’s been reading comics since 1959 and his eastside store (at Flamingo and Sandhill roads) has been entertaining comic book fans since 1996. The store is popular for its extensive selection of all things comics.
3830 E. Flamingo Road, suite F-2, Sunday-Tuesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., (702) 451-6611, cosmiccomics.vegas.
Owner Colby “The Big Cheese” Williams runs the cheesiest comic book store in town. His store is incredibly friendly and welcoming, so it’s a great place to go for those who might be intimidated by comic culture. In addition to selling comics, toys and games, the store doubles as a gaming lounge. Join weekly game nights or pick a board game from the back wall and play something new with friends. Tables in the center of the store make for a comfy spot.
8060 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 125, open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., (702) 938-5020, www.cheeseboycomics.vegas.
Since opening 11 years ago, this comic book shop has expanded to three locations (Summerlin, Henderson and North Las Vegas) as well as a clearance center near Town Square. The local chain prides itself on being “warm, welcoming and well-organized” and is a favorite among locals for its events, from game nights to signings. The store offers a variety of discounts, pre-ordering and pull-box service and pop culture offerings.
Multiple locations, open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, clearance center Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.