Hey guys! For this post I am going to talk about my visit to Hi-De-Ho Comics in Santa Monica. They have been open since 1975. Their current store location is the third location they have been in during that time. Because they have been open for so long I was very interested in going to see what they were all about. In this essay I will be discussing the role of superheroes in the shop, the other merchandise offered there, and the personality of the shop.
Parking in the back of the shop there is a sign outside that says the name of the shop with a picture of Spider-Man on it. Inside the shop there is another banner/sign with the name of the shop and an image of Wonder Woman on it. Both of these images are displayed clearly in the shop. Superheroes play a huge role in the shop. I noticed that most of the comics sold there are superhero comics. They had the comics organized by new arrivals, the most recent back issues, and then comics and graphic novels. When I looked at the new arrivals section there were so many more superhero comics than any other type, although the My Little Pony comic stuck out to me, as I love that show. If I had to put a number to it though, I would say 7 out of 10 comics were superhero related. This is more than I was expecting, as there are so many different types of comics available. I was surprised to see how large the market is for these comics.
Within the shop there was a lot of other merchandise, not superhero related. They have a huge selection of graphic novels and other types of comics. The space is quite large to fit them all. There is a section of Pop Figures and other collectables on a table in the middle of the comics’ section of the store. On the other wall there is a huge space for people that play Magic the Gathering. There are tables set up and a display that sells the playing cards and snacks. They have tournaments there on the weekends. When I did my official visit there was no one playing, as it was a weekday. I had gone in previously to purchase my floppy serial comic for class, and on that day there were a lot of people in there playing Magic. I thought it was really cool that the space of the comic book shop is able to be available for other types of fandom. Besides Magic, the shop also has various events throughout the week. They have comedy nights, meet and greets, comic releases, and sometimes even free comic book days. With a wide range of events, there is a large base of people that come into the shop. I’ve been to some comic shops in the past that are very small and only offer comics, and I think those are great for some people. For me, I felt more comfortable with this shop, as they offered so much more than just comics.
While the shop includes other media and merch, I do think that they hold true to being a comic shop. All of the banners and decor relate to comics, and the largest majority of space within the shop is devoted to comics. The two times I have been there, there have been other people in the shop buying comics and sitting there reading them. I think that is a good sign, that even though there are more cultural events there, the heart of the shop still revolves around comics.
As for the atmosphere of the shop, I felt very welcome there. The space itself is very open, as they have a large amount of space. The walls are not cluttered, like a lot of other comic shops. It felt very open and easy to access the material there. The guy who was working there helped me to find what I was looking for, and also talked to me about comic book culture. He told me that he grew up going there for comics, and that is why he works there now. It was nice that he had such a personal connection to the shop, and was able to tell me about it. He wasn’t judgmental about my lack of hardcore comic book knowledge, and was glad to explain things to me. The overall feel of the shop is very open and welcoming, with people there that care about comics and are willing to help you find what you are looking for.