Comic Swap

I’m in State College, Pa., for a few days because I had some time off, it was within driving distance and I had a free place to stay. Before my grad student friend left me to go teach his class, he said “The comic book store is that way.”

As much as I love the stylishness of stores like San Francisco’s Isotope and Brooklyn’s Bergen Street Comics, I love when a classic comic book store is done right. Comic Swap is just that.

While it’s in a basement, the store bright, clean and well-organized. The graphic novel shelves are the first thing you see, and they’re arranged by category and then alphabetical by title (a set-up I prefer, because I’m often more likely to remember a title than the creator). To the right is the floppies, interspersed with minicomics (some by local creators) and to the left is manga, back issues and other comic-related peripheries (role-playing games, etc.).

The store is fairly small and even though it’s not overly packed with goods, it’s obvious whoever runs this store has put a lot of thought into it. The graphic novel selection had a lot of great titles, ranging from the classics to the smaller gems. I also loved the extensive children’s section (I think every comic store needs one). I think it’s great they sell minicomics alongside the big titles from D.C. and Marvel.

The staff was friendly and my brief chat with them was great. They seem like they’re having fun.

I encouraged my friend to go there — he’s a sometimes comics reader but felt a little intimidated by the Batman and Spider-Man signs in the window. I told him he has nothing to worry about. It’s a lovely, comfortable store. I know State College is a college town, but any city would be lucky to have a place like Comic Swap.

2 thoughts on “Comic Swap”

  1. Comic Swap is a wonderful store and the folks there are truly friendly and professional. I used to be able to drop in there in the early 1990s because of work travel twice a year, and despite six months between visits they not only remembered me but they remembered–and set aside–something I’d been looking for. Hooray for Comic Swap!

  2. Very cool. It really seems like a great store and I’m glad I got to check it out. It’s practically legendary.

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