Monday, June 15, 2009

Perth Comic Shops! Part Deux

So here I am in Perth again...six weeks short of having first come here two years ago! Of course, without it needing to be said, I absolutely had to check out the Perth comic shops, despite spending about half a day less here, compared to the last trip.

I certainly remember a couple of comic shops from my last visi, both located along Hay Street in the Perth CBD: Comicszone and Quality Comics.

I also remember there were quite some heated arguments regarding which was the better Perth comic shop in the nearly two years since I posted up the original blog entry, Perth Comic Shops! .

I didn't realise my innocent blog entry would open up such a huge can of worms, but everyone's entitled to their opinions and there didn't seem to be anything deragatory or too inflammatory so there was no need to cull any comments. Those comments are still there for anyone who wants to join in the debate:

Comments from visitors after the original blog entry

Thankfully, there was no unwanted negative exposure of my little blog...and I still maintain it's a VERY little blog that hardly anyone ever visits...I have this blog because I love my comics and video games and pop culture and whenever I want to post something up for posterity's sake, this is the best place for me to express my opinions.

Anyway! Enough of that. By the time anyone reads this new blog entry, I'd probably have been back in Melbourne for a couple of weeks (or more likely, months), happily continuing my comic-shopping-patronage with Classic Comics.

Of course, Classic Comics doesn't have everything I'm looking for and when I can't get something from there or Comics R Us or Minotaur, when in a different country or state, since I'm already compelled to go visit the other comic book shops in that country/state/city, might as well go hunting for those comics that I can't get to add to my collection, hey?

I knew exactly where Comicszone (I seem to remember it being known as The Comic Zone back in 2007...a name change prehaps?) and Quality Comics was along Hay Street, but I wanted to see if I could find any other comics and pop culture shops in the Perth CBD. So I did some research via the trusty yellow pages AND just taking a walk along Hay Street on Sunday evening.

There were five such shops in the Perth CBD, four along Hay Street itself and one along Shafto Lane:

Comiczone - 572 Hay Street
Quality Comics - 872 Hay Street
Empire Toys - 856 Hay Street
Tokyo Underground - The Basement, 816 Hay Street
Fantastic Planet - Shop 8, Shafto Lane

I also saw a sign for Infinite Planet, with Boba Fett on the sign itself, but I believe this shop has been replaced by Tokyo Underground/Freaks + Geeks, since they share the exact same address. Or maybe it's the exact same shop that has just had a name change! Not quite sure there.

Anyway, Comiczone and Quality Comics focused on selling comics and graphic novels. Comiczone seemed to also sell quite a number of pop culture/movie related toys; there were movie Watchmen action figures/toys as well as some busts in the shop display window. Quality Comics a bigger store space and seemingly more comics/graphic novels on display!

The one thing that was a change from two years ago, which surprised me, was that the Quality Comics single issues and graphic novels (in both the tradepaperback and hardcover variety) were on the whole cheaper than Comiczone, which certainly didn't seem to be the case two years ago when I was here.

I just did some very quick price comparisons and the new single issues and graphic novels were a bit cheaper at Quality Comics. Not quite sure whether this was due to the large "under new management" sign that was on the wall as I was walking down the steps into Quality Comics...perhaps in the two years I was away, Ben Templesmith was right in his comment in suggesting that having more than one comic shop in Perth would be good, competition-wise! Hey, with freedom of choice, the people that would win out would be the patrons.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find what I was looking for; to be honest, I doubt I'd be able to find it anywhere else, so this is certainly not a knock on either shops' stocks. The stuff I'm after is pretty much impossible to find nowadays, which is WHY I cannot find them in the Melbourne shops (or online) and why I actually have to go elsewhere in an attempt to find them:

The Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 Hardcover
The Absolute Authority Vol.1 Hardcover
New X-Men Omnibus Hardcover
Absolute Planetary Hardcover
Absolute Danger Girl Hardcover
Alias Omnibus Hardcover
Stardust Hardcover
Young Avengers Hardcover

Heck, these aren't even available on Amazon and some of the more famous American comic book shops (unless one's willing to pay exorbitant prices for them), so I wasn't really expecting a miracle that any of the Perth comic shops would be stocking them.

I did pick up the following books from Quality Comics: new Batman and Robin #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (since I had read that it was just selling out everywhere...this wouldn't even be someting I'd consider as part of my grab list normally!), The Sentry TPB that had its price slashed by about half, School Rumble Volume 9 (manga), which I haven't been able to find in Melbourne, and Boys Be Volume 16 (manga) which was cheap at $5!

The one thing that really impressed me was the the guy serving me at Quality Comics engaged me in a conversation regarding the Morrison and Quitely team, which I quite enjoyed. Don't get enough opportunities to talk about comics to my other friends, so I always welcome a comics or pop culture related chat!

So I've had two extremely positive experiences, one each at Comiczone and Quality Comics. As someone who's travelled all the way here from Melbourne, let me just say it's really impressive and you guys are doing a fantastic job!

I didn't expect to find anything but toys, action figures and the like at Empire Toys, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw a huge collection of graphic novels on the shelves! Couldn't find stuff from the list of comics I was after above (once again, not a knock against the shop!) and the prices were a bit more expensive than the same items sold at Quality Comics.

Tokyo Underground reminded me a lot of Tamarket back in Melbourne in that it sold anime and Japanese-related products...lots of Nintendo products there! They also sold quite a bit of costumes for the budding cosplayers out there! Got myself a blue mushroom (from Super Mario Bros) keychain for myself and a Totoro tote bag and a Totoro foldable-fan for Aeris.

Haven't gone to Fantastic Planet yet, and I don't think I'll make a trip there unless I have some free time. I certainly saw that they sold graphic novels but it seems like a shop that focuses more on selling sci-fi novels.

The variety of comic and pop culture shops in the Perth CBD itself is certainly extremely impressive! Perth comic book geeks: you guys are so lucky and I'm so envious of you! Variety is the spice of life and you can have your pick of shops...once again, the patrons are the winners!

No comments: