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A guide to comic collecting in the Pioneer Valley

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(Andy Ihnatko/Flickr)

(Andy Ihnatko/Flickr)

Comic collecting can be a confusing and expensive hobby, especially for a college student. Fortunately, Northampton offers collectors the opportunity to visit three unique comic shops within a short bus ride from UMass. Each of these shops provides comic lovers and prospective collectors with a different approach and experience to comic purchasing with their respective pros and cons.

I started my Northampton comic journey by swinging into Newbury Comics located on 38 Pleasant St. The store was already sold out of most of the new releases by mid-afternoon. In addition to this unpleasantry, Newbury Comics appears to stock mainly “big-title” comics.

While the staff at Newbury Comics is always friendly and welcoming, due to the overarching popular culture of the store, it is difficult to get accurate recommendations from employees. However, what Newbury Comics lacks in knowledge and inventory is quickly redeemed by its affordability and ease of purchase. Newbury offers customers the ability to subscribe to certain titles with the perks of a 20 percent price cut on comics, boards, bags and boxes. Subscribed customers can simply walk in every Wednesday to the luxury of all of their reduced price comics stocked at the front desk.

Newbury Comics is a store for collectors of solely modern issues who have an exact idea of what they are looking for. Even then, Newbury Comics is only a valid choice for collectors if they take advantage of the subscription system promising affordability and assuredness that your issues will be in stock.

After my purchases at Newbury, I travelled down to Bob’s II Comics N’ More on 62 King St. The lack of a sign out front should have warned me that this was not your typical comic purchasing experience. The store had a very disorganized feel created by issues littering the floor along with graphic novels and disheveled comic boxes.

After searching the back-issue boxes for an hour, I could not make heads or tails of the layout of the store. The owner’s knowledge and the store’s current stock redeemed the disorganization. With a whole wall dedicated to up-to-date issues, Bob’s stocked comics from Marvel to the lesser-known Blue Juice Comics. Even by late afternoon, Bob’s did not appear to be sold out of any modern issues.

The owner offered reliable comic suggestions as well. However, Bob’s proved to be the least affordable of the three shop choices. With no clear subscription process, Bob’s offered no discounts and no promises that your issues would be in stock. Bob’s offers collectors with the best opportunity to find old issues, even with the confusing layout of the store. It’s a good choice for collectors who have ample time to search for vintage issues and series. If you are just looking for modern comics, the other two stores supply a more affordable option.

The last stop on my Northampton comic trip took me to Modern Myths Comics & Games on 34 Bridge St. The shop has a well-designed layout, placing all new releases in an easy to find alphabetical order. Stocking an even wider variety of issues than Bob’s, you are almost certain to find the series you are looking for. Striking a similar path to Newbury, Modern Myths also offers a subscription plan.

The deal provides a 20 percent discount on comics and all comic supplies in addition to ensuring that you will always be able to get your comics. The employees at Modern Myths were welcoming and helpful. The owner had a lengthy conversation with me regarding the best current series. His insight was incredibly helpful and his recommendations were entirely accurate. Modern Myths offers an inviting atmosphere that is perfect for novice and experienced collectors alike looking to purchase new issues at a reasonable cost from passionate employees.

The three comic stores in Northampton provide collectors with an opportunity to expand their collections. However, after my search, two shops stand out. For the experienced collector looking to stock up on older issues and series, Bob’s II Comics N’More grants this opportunity. Collectors looking to catch up on relatively recent issues or continue reading a current series should turn to the affordable and knowledgeable staff of Modern Myths.

Good luck to all my fellow collectors out there, and keep reading.

Jack Nichols can be reached at [email protected]

(Andy Ihnatko/Flickr)
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1 Comment

One Response to “A guide to comic collecting in the Pioneer Valley”

  1. Robert Beerbohm on October 27th, 2014 2:35 pm

    You maybe shoulda checked out Gary Dolgoff Comics at 116 Pleasant St in Easthampton to take in close to a million comic books and related material.

    [Reply]

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