May 25–31, 2009: Detroit, MI
Comic City has been satisfying the comics needs of Michigan readers for 15 years now. Beginning in 1993 in Canton, Michigan, Bob Smethers and his wife, Jill, took their idea for a comics store that was more than just a back-issue store or a sports-card combo store, something their region of Michigan was missing.
“Early on, we made the decision to be reader- and family-oriented rather than collector-focused,” Bob explains about his store. “This mindset drives us to be as accessible to as many people as possible. Whether it is in our choice of colors and design for the store, placing the stores in mainstream shopping centers, or making inventory choices, these decisions keep us focused on who our customers are and how we can meet their needs.”
By 1997, they had opened a new store in Pontiac, and then another in Novi in 2002. Bob notes that their clientele runs the gamut from soccer moms and grandparents to longtime comics fans to brand-new readers checking out what the format has to offer. “There's as many different types of customers as there are graphic novels nowadays,” he says. “Our job is to match them up.”
He adds, “Our customers are the best part of our business. The variety of people who come through our doors and consider us their friend is amazing. At any one time, we can have a blue-collar autoworker, a white-collar executive, and a college kid, who one might think have nothing in common but for the time that they are in our stores together have that one huge bond—a love of comics and, of course, a burning desire to debate who is the strongest, Hulk or Superman!”
Recent appearances at the Comic City stores have included Sean McKeever, Tim Seeley, Emily Stone, and Ryan Claytor, as well as a huge visit from the Great Lakes Garrison from the Star Wars 501st Legion. In addition to marking Free Comic Book Day with a huge in-store event, Comic City is known for its work in community outreach, particularly around the holidays with an after-hours sale and nonperishable food drive.
As Bob describes, “Comic City is a place where a whole family can come and find the perfect book for everyone. We have something for your 4-year-old child and for your 80-year-old grandparent in an environment where all can be comfortable.”
Comic City’s Three Locations
42727 Ford Rd.
Canton Corners Shopping Center
Canton, MI 48187
43538 West Oaks Dr.
West Oaks II Shopping Center
Novi, MI 48377
466 N. Telegraph Rd.
Oakland Pointe Shopping Center
Pontiac, MI 48341
Top 10 Graphic Novels
1. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 3: Century No. 1: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill (Top Shelf)
2. Batman: R.I.P. Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel (DC Comics)
3. Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm (DC Comics)
4. Wanted: Movie Edition by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones (Top Cow/Image)
5. World of Warcraft: Ashbringer by Micky Neilson, Ludo Lullabi, and Tony Washington (WildStorm)
6. X-Force, Vol. 2: Old Ghosts Premium Hardcover by Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, and Mike Choi (Marvel)
7. Star Trek: Countdown by various (IDW)
8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Vol. 3 by various (Dark Horse)
9. Deadpool Classic, Vol. 1 by various (Marvel)
10. Popgun, Vol. 2 by various (Image)
Top 10 Manga
1. Berserk, Vol. 29 by Kentaro Miura (Dark Horse)
2. Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezukas (Vertical)
3. Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 3 by Hideyuki Kikuchi and Saiko Takaki (Digital Manga Publishing)
4. MPD-Psycho, Vol. 9 by Eiji Otsuka and Sho-u Tajima (Dark Horse)
5. The Kindaichi Case Files, Vol. 17 by Kanari Yozaburo and Sato Fumiya (TokyoPop)
6. Rebirth, Vol. 21 by Woo (TokyoPop)
7. Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1 by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (Dark Horse)
8. Path of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving in the Dark by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (Dark Horse)
9. The Legend of Zelda, Vol. 4: Oracle of Seasons by Akira Himekawa (Viz)
10. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai by Ryo Takamisaki (Viz)