As a native New Yorker, I am genetically prone to hate everything not New York City. So finding a geek shop in Los Angeles did not appear promising. Honestly, how can another shop compare to Forbidden Planet? The Planet was my home for comics; I knew where to look for the new releases, where the back issues were, and the best spots to just chill and read (note: it's not between the Non-superhero and Sci-Fi novels).
Entering this new geek shop, I was completely overwhelmed. A four-foot replica Ultraman greeted me at the door, presenting copies of CSN in his brightly colored arms. I wandered around the store for about ten minutes, completely unaware of where everything was located. First thing: how is this store organized? They have all the publishing companies grouped together? Inconceivable! Second, back issues: they're all in cabinets? Inconceivable! Only one shelf of manga? Inconceivable! This is Bizarro World! I couldn't help but size up this place, comparing it to my home Planet.
See, anytime we visit a new comic book shop, we cannot help but compare it to the one we're used to. At first glance, it's intimidating, even overwhelming. But new experiences prevent us from being complacent. If you like DC, read a Marvel comic. If you like Marvel, read a DC comic. And if you like both the Big Two, grab an indie mini. If you're a hardcore horror fan, why not try Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane? It's daunting at first, but eventually you'll question how you even lived without it.
To my surprise, and at the other end of the continent, I found a copy of FP employee Austin English's Christina & Charles. And it all came into perspective. No matter where we go we'll find something that brings us back home. While the distance may be long physically or metaphorically, it's the newness of the experience that makes the journey worthwhile; whether it's reading a comic title that you've never heard of, looking at the work of an artist you're unfamiliar with, or traveling to a new comic store. One trip is never enough. There's so much to read, see, and feel. We all have to fly away from our nests of familiarity. And when we do, it's only natural to feel a little homesick.
- Andrew Jung
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