Baltimore has a strong comic book scene if you know where to look. Exhibit A: Collectors Corner
, a comic store that has recently gotten some national recognition.
The shop (7911 Hartford Road) was one of seven finalists nominated for the 2013 Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award at last weekend’s Comic Con International in San Diego. It competed against retailers from all over the country and two in New Zealand and Australia.
While the top honor ultimately went to a Chicago shop -- Challengers Comics and Conversation -- this was the first time any store in Maryland made the finals.
“Making the finals is a really big deal,” said Collectors Corner President Randy Myers. “Being nominated is awesome. The real test is getting to the finals because you’re being judged by people in the industry who know what makes a great shop.”
Myers said the award is about more than just running the best comic book store.
“[It’s about] what you do for comic books not just in your store, but for the industry as a whole,” he said. “The more you reach out and bring people into the medium is a big part of it.”
Myers said he was disappointed he didn't win, but found some solace when he heard Collectors Corner was close to the top of the final seven nominees.
Collectors Corner has been a Baltimore institution since it began selling all things comic book-related in 2001. Not only is it a geek nirvana, but it works with local schools, libraries, movie theaters and other businesses to get people interested in comic books and the culture that surrounds them.
“We do it because we’re part of our community,” said Myers. The fact that his charitable endeavors tend to bring in more business through word of mouth doesn’t hurt either, he said.
Myers credited the success of comic book movies like “Iron Man” and nerdy television shows like “The Big Bang Theory” as reasons comic book culture has flourished in recent years.
According to The Master List
of comic book and trading card stores, there are 39 comic book stores in Maryland, including seven in the Baltimore area.
“Comics have a real place in Baltimore,” he said. “Big comic book city, big comic book state.”
Myers said Collectors Corner is aiming to keep up its efforts to draw new fans into the industry and ultimately win that coveted Eisner Award.
“We’re going to stay positive, keep growing our store and [growing] our readership in the area,” he said. “I think that if we just keep doing what we’re doing, we will eventually win the award. We feel like we work really really hard. Not that the award is necessary as validation. But it would be really cool and a great honor to win it.”