Shop of dreams

This week’s Flipped started with a visit to one of those excellent comic shops that demonstrates a healthy appreciation for manga. It got me thinking about what qualities add up to making a comic shop great for manga fans. It’s fairly easy to find all of the shônen and shôjo one could want at a chain bookstore, so it always behooves a specialty store to go beyond that and offer something different.

Instead of looking at the underlying qualities and philosophies that make a comic shop a great manga shop, I decided to go the lazy route and come up with a frankly arbitrary checklist of specific comics and categories that add up to represent a generous and discerning view of this corner of the comics world. Feel free to add your own and mention shops you really like. (Mine include Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas, Midtown Comics in Manhattan, Laughing Ogre Comics in Columbus, OH, and Big Planet Comics in Georgetown, DC.)

Here’s my checklist:

  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Eden: It’s an Endless World and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Bonus points for shelf copies of either volume of Tanpenshu or Ohikkoshi.
  • Shelf copies of at least two books from Fanfare/Ponent Mon. Bonus points for shelf copies of each additional title.
  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Genshiken, Mushishi and Nodame Cantabile. Bonus points for shelf copies of any volume of Love Roma and/or Me and the Devil Blues.
  • Shelf copies of at least one Japanese comic published by Last Gasp. Bonus points for each additional shelved title.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least three series by Fumi Yoshinaga.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least four series by Osamu Tezuka. Bonus points for copies of the Black Jack hardcover.
  • Shelf copies of at least two volumes of Dragon Head, Planetes and Tramps Like Us.
  • Shelf copies of at least three volumes of Nana. Bonus points for shelf copies of any volume of Paradise Kiss.
  • Shelf copies of volumes of at least five series from Viz’s Signature line. Minimum requirements: two comics by Naoki Urasawa and Uzumaki. Bonus points for any volume of Oishinbo. Double bonus points for three or more volumes of The Drifting Classroom.
  • Shelf copies of at least two volumes each of Emma, Gon and Crayon Shinchan.
  • Shelf copies of at least one out-of-print title.
  • Rack copies of Yen Plus with the other monthlies.
  • A prominently displayed sign that says something like, “Don’t see what you’re looking for? Ask us, and we’ll try and order it for you!” Smiley-face optional.
  • And for extra credit:

  • Bonus points shelf copies of Sexy Voice and Robo.
  • Bonus points for a clearly identified section for yaoi and boys’ love titles.
  • Bonus points for Rica ‘tte Kanji.
  • Bonus points for shelf copies of two or more out-of-print titles.
  • Bonus points for a selection of ero-manga from Icarus Publishing.
  • 10 Responses to Shop of dreams

    1. gynocrat says:

      Wow, I guess I’m lucky that Austin Texas three main shops Dragon’s Lair, Rogue’s Gallery, AND Austin Books & Comics all meet all these criteria – [with Austin Books/Comics actually meeting some of the bonus points. 🙂

      Sadly, no one has a selection from Icarus.

    2. sesho says:

      I guess the only comic shop around Houston that carries a lot of manga is Nan’s Games and Comics. The cool thing that they have is a lot of out of print titles that have probably been sitting in their shop for about 10 years. They get in most of the mainstream new titles, but not everything by any means. The only problem is that they don’t respect the manga. One of the overhead lights is out and instead of fixing it, they have a rigged up lamp to partially illuminate the section!

    3. Ed Sizemore says:


      That’s a great selection of books. I’m glad you put that together. There should be bonus points for shelf copies of any Junko Mizuno books.

    4. Lorena says:

      If you visit San Diego, be sure to check out Rising Sun Creations. They’re a manga shop that also sells comics. They have a whole section devoted to yaoi, racks of Japanese CDs and magazines, and all kinds of figures and other related merch. They also sell whole series of used books; I’ve had my eye on Nodame Cantabile for some time and got Antique Bakery there a couple of years ago. It’s definitely my fav place to purchase from!

    5. davidpwelsh says:

      Ed: But then someone could get double bonus points (or triple!) for out-of-print or Last Gasp books. Still, good point. She’s amazing.

      Lorena: Thanks for the tip!

    6. thirstygirl says:

      I’ve moved to Sydney recently and I seem to have lucked out with King Comics here- brilliant selection, staff knowledgeable in both comics and manga, good website for ordering or weekly email notifications, full range of Oni Press, Dark Horse, Yen Press, CMX, Viz Signature. Tezuka in hardcover, Sexy Voice and Robo on the shelves. My last visit produced Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza, Nana 16, and Young Magician 13.

      I’d say that BL is probably the only section where they are lacking but it’s ok because they have the complete run of Banana Fish.

      I post this in the unlikely event that you are kidnapped and wake up in the Antipodes.

    7. […] pictures of the manga he picked up on his vacation. Back home at Precocious Curmudgeon, he lists his criteria for a good comics store. Could it be that “books David Welsh likes” is the next microniche? We could do […]

    8. Ed Sizemore says:

      Junko Mizuno is one of those artists I have to keep reminding myself actually has stuff available in English. It’s seems her books fly very low under the radar.

      I’m glad to see Last Gasp is making Out of the Ashes available and adding new volumes. It’s a great series that should be on the every library’s bookshelf. John Hersey’s Hiroshima should be sitting right next to it.

    9. ed says:

      Woah you basically described Comics Relief in Berkeley. They have all the books you listed including most bonus pts (even the Icarus, OOP, Rica, and Sexy Voice add-ons).

      Only thing they are missing is a BL section. They shelve most of that with the 18+ manga.

    10. […] Makes a Good Comic Shop? Jump to Comments David Walsh of Precocious Curmudgeon has compiled a checklist of titles any good comic book shop should have. The second bullet […]

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