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article imageA new comic book shop opens in San Francisco, digital age or not Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Feb 9, 2013 in Business
San Francisco - Despite the impact digital media has made upon print media, a new comic book store opened up in San Francisco's West Portal District.
"We've been open for about a year and the neighborhood has really welcomed us," said Cory. He along with Christian Nicholson, are managers of Two Cats Comic Book Store on West Portal Ave. In fact this March is the shop's one year anniversary.
When this reporter stopped by on Feb. 4, the shop had only a few patrons. But the shelves were filled with such an array of comic books, some familiar and others completely new and unknown (to this reporter) like Arkham City Series and Before The Watchmen, Silk Spectre. Yet as sales clerk Rebeca pointed out, "comic books are really an art form and their appeal to expanded audience keeps growing," she said.
Several of the titles had female lead-characters, such as the Arkham City Series, that seem to go far beyond the adventures of Wonder Woman, Bat Girl and Cat Woman combined. As USA Today reported, Marvel Comics is introducing more women heroes to its line up with "She-Hulk" and "Rogue Touch."
"Although super-heroines exist in the comic book worlds of both DC and Marvel, they don’t have a history of being treated well," wrote Jennie Whitwood of Den of Geek an online publication. She hopes that will keep changing for the better as more female readers continue to join the ranks of comic book fans.
It is easy to see (even for this reporter and my limited knowledge of comic books) that even with well-known characters and themes, the stories change with the times. For example in the "Spiderman" movie with Toby Maguire the spider's bite contains the power to alter human DNA. When the storyline was first conceived it was a "radioactive" spider. The increase in scientific knowledge required an update or an alteration to the storyline. And, it is obvious that current social and world issues continue to make an impact. A superhero today (woman or man) must face chaos at multiple levels which is like a daily doomsday scenario as the entire planet fights for survival. True, they always did. Yet for today's audiences examples of extreme danger are everywhere in the real everyday world, especially in the form some sort of villain.Or, in things that become menacing on a grand scale.
This perhaps is one of the appealing aspects of comics, they often help people deal with the world problems as well as their own. Super heroes also show us that no matter how much they have "the power" of some kind or another, they are not able with those powers alone to change the human heart or make people be good. This also might be what makes superheros in comic books not only appealing but enduring.
Even though some reports, like the one from University of Southern California's Daily Trojan say comic books sales declined by five percent over the past two years, comics are still strong. The appeal is always there, even for those not acquainted as much with comics. As Nicholson explained, "we've read lot of comics, and have been exposed to a lot more." "We've also introduced a lot of comics to people who read a lot of comics and to people who have never read comics before." "I know this noted Nicholson because industry sales figures tell me," he said.
Also, keep in mind the growing popularity of Comic Con conventions, as this reporter once learned from an article written earlier. Everything comics and more are offered at those annual conventions and with 12 conventions in the USA and four in Canada along with conventions in the UK, Romania and one in India, they show no signs of diminishing.
No doubt comics in the near future will be making more leaps into the electronic format outreach, As Whitson Gordon of points out, "you may find reading them digitally a better experience than on paper." Yet as he notes on the lifehacker web site, "digital comics are a bit rarer to come across," he wrote. "It isn't as easy to find a good source of digital comics, a reader for your favorite platform, or an easy way to keep it all organized." Gordon provides a guide on digital formats for comics. Yet as one visitor to the site made comment, "and frankly the glare of today's glossy comic book paper is just plain annoying"...
"...Really dude? Really?" "And the glossy glare off an iPad isn't annoying?"
Still, Gordon and others think digital format for comics is not that far away.
Until that day arrives, there are shops like Two Cats who specialize in helping people find and know comic books. "Anyone who wants to know more about comics," says Nicholson - Two Cats Comics is it. "You've come to the right place," he said. For details visit the Two Cats Comic Book Store web site or call 415-566-8190.
More about Two Cats Comic Book Store, Comic books, San Francisco, West Portal District
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