March 1–7: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Chapel Hill Comics opened in 1978, first as a combination science fiction/comic-book store called Foundation Bookstore. Seven years later, a new owner renamed it Second Foundation Bookstore, where, in 1994, Andrew Neal started working. By 2000, he was the store manager, and in 2003, he bought the store. By 2004, he had moved out all the science fiction and fantasy books to focus on comics and graphic novels. In 2005, he moved the store onto Franklin Street, which is the main pedestrian street in Chapel Hill next to the UNC campus, and changed the name to Chapel Hill Comics. In 2008, he moved the store seven doors down to a location twice as big as the previous location, where, he notes, things are going well.
The store focuses primarily on comics and graphic novels. Books, including graphic novels, manga, art books, and kids’ picture books, are its biggest sellers, followed by periodical comics and plush toys like Uglydolls and Giant Microbes.
Andrew has a goal of ramping up to the point this year of holding an in-store event every week. He’s off to a good start with upcoming events like a signing with Ken Marcus, creator of Super Human Resources, on Saturday, March 28, an April signing with Adam Meuse, creator of Sad Animals, and a celebration for May’s Free Comic Book Day, plus scheduling meet-ups for book clubs and local cartoonists.
With six employees, including his wife, Vanessa, Andrew plans to continue growing the store by serving the community and his customers. “Our customer base is very diverse,” he says. “On Wednesdays, the shop is full of college kids and working professionals picking up their comics. On weekends, we’re full of kids, families, and casual walk-in customers.”
1. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)
2. Jack of Fables, Vol. 5: Turning Pages by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, and Tony Akins (Vertigo)
3. Atomic Robo, Vol. 2: Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War by Brian Clevenger and Scott Wegener (Red 5 Comics)
4. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
5. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 9: Motherland by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (Vertigo)
6. Bone, Vol. 1: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith (Scholastic)
7. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (Vertigo)
8. The Death of Captain America, Vol. 3: The Man Who Bought America by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Butch Guice (Marvel)
9. The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley (Plume)
10. Little Nothings: Prisoner Syndrome by Lewis Trondheim (NBM)
1. Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media)
2. Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media)
3. Eden Vol. 11 by Hiroki Endo (Dark Horse)
4. Previews Exclusive Black Jack Hardcover, Vol. 3 by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
5. Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Edition, Vol. 3 (Prima)
6. Black Jack, Vol. 3 by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
7. Oishinbo, Vol. 1 by Kariya Tetsu and Hanasaki Akira (Viz Media)
8. The Quest for the Missing Girl by Jiro Taniquchi (Ponent Mon)
9. Gyo, Vol. 1 by Junji Ito (Viz Media)
10. Uzumaki, Vol. 1 by Junji Ito and Annette Roman (Viz Media)