Houston is quickly becoming a hub of geek society. Sure, you can find all kinds of high art to explore, but some of us just want a safe place to play Friday Night Magic and find out what Deadpool is up to (Shenanigans with a chance of buffoonery in the evening). So if you've been looking for a place to call your pop-culture home, please try out these highly recommended comic shop stops.
10. R and R Comics 13449 Woodforest Blvd.
As a poor Galena Park lad myself, I can tell you that finding any place east of Montrose for geek culture is damn near impossible. R and R Comics is the only store I've ever seen out that way. It's a pretty standard setup with gaming, new issues, etc, but a boon to my people out that way who have no other option.
9. Fat Ogre 525 Sawdust Rd., Suite 101 The Woodlands
For our friends up north in The Woodlands, you can't do better than Fat Ogre. While they don't have the most extensive comic selection on this list, they sport some of the finest gaming setups available. Their miniature selection and game nights are particularly excellent. Whovians especially should make it a point to drop in as sometimes Fat Ogre sells Doctor Who Monopoly!
8. Pop Culture Company 11319 Katy Fwy.
Pop Culture Company is a great "starter store" for people looking to get into comics and not blow their entire paycheck. Their staff is super helpful, and they offer a constant 20 percent discount on storage supplies so you can concentrate on splurging on the actual books. Back issues sell for $1 in most cases, they price match any advertised special and Wednesday is "happy hour" for reduced-price single issues. Their selection of new and vintage collectibles is also top-notch. So much for not blowing your paycheck.
There's always so much going on at the annual convention that people forget you can actually buy a huge amount of comics there. Vendors from all over Texas and beyond bring any and everything they think they can find a buyer for, and negotiation is always an option. It costs money to get in, of course, but if you like to save up and spend a weekend really getting your money's worth filling in your collection and finding new books, then make sure you pencil in the last weekend in May.
6. Books-a-Million (Katy Mills) 5000 Katy Mills Circle
I'm going strictly by word of mouth here as I don't venture too often to Katy for fear of contracting that disease that makes you unable to leave Katy, but a Facebook poll yielded a great deal of love for the Books-a-Million in the Katy Mills Mall. Their manga and trade paperback collection is supposed to be very, very impressive, not to mention they run a slightly better rewards program than Barnes & Noble does. Also, sometimes storm troopers visit, and anything that's good enough for the Galactic Empire should be good enough for you.Flashback Your Guide to Real Life Superhero Equipment
5. Half Price Books
Three Half Price locations in particular in Houston offer some really great comic sections at super affordable prices. There's a heavy turnover rate at the Montrose store, but with luck you can snag gems like a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier complete with 3D glasses still in the wrapper. Plenty of the more obscure stuff ends up in their stock. The Rice Village store had a huge stack of Doctor Who audio books the last time I browsed, and their trade selection is equally great. Up in the Champion Forest area, they actually take all their geek stock to Comicpalooza as a vendor. That's how into the comic scene they are. If you don't mind used and a little hunting, Half Price is awesome.
4. Bedrock City
Bedrock City is something like the Hot Topic of Houston comic stores, with a fairly standardized stock, usually no game rooms and a slick, clean appearance. Nonetheless, with multiple locations in almost all parts of the city, they're easy to love for comic fans because of the sheer access. You won't find many hidden gems there, but for T-shirts, mainstream comics, figures and basic gaming, they're a wonderful place to stop in. Fun fact: My wife has received at least one gift from a Bedrock location every year we've been together for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You can count on Bedrock for an appropriately solid comic experience.
3. Nan's Comics and Games 2011 Southwest Fwy.
By way of stark contrast to Bedrock is Nan's, which is a geek version of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can find amazing stuff buried all over the store, with my personal favorite being a miniature Red Dwarf! Obscure action figures and even more obscure board games can be found, and while Nan's is one of the pricier places to shop comics in the city, it's also the only place you will find much of what they have. With all the lovely flea-market stalls that got a lot of us into comics in the first place gone, Nan's is basically the last holdout of an old-school style of shopping.
2. Third Planet 2718 Southwest Fwy.
Not only is Houston home to one of the oldest still-running comic shops in America, we also have the largest: Third Planet, down the road from Nan's, in 8,000 square feet of, well, everything. Anime, gaming, figures, T-shirts, books, comics, movies and more are housed there. Their inventory is so large that if you call the store, you have to go through an automated department menu...a menu that is hilarious, by the way. Want superhero drinking glasses and a nice collection of vintage pulp paperbacks by H.G. Wells? They can do that and a whole lot more.
1. 8th Dimension 8475 Highway 6 North
There's a reason we let Jeremy Bulloch of 8th Dimension pick out the comics for our monthly round-up. There's simply no better person in Houston for guiding you to the perfect book for you. His store is bursting with one of the best new-issue sections in the city, a healthy back catalog, an impressive figure wall and perhaps the most enthusiastic game room in all of Houston. There are plenty of nights the store never seems to close as gamers file in to play, and a local pizzeria will deliver right to the table if you join in. If the true purpose of a comic shop is to help you discover new and exciting things you didn't know about before, then 8th Dimension does it best, and if nothing else, Bulloch's running blog on the latest releases is indispensible as a guide.
We're not the only fans of Jeremy Bulloch's. The Scarlet Spider actually had a cameo of Bulloch inspired by Christopher Yost and Ryan Stegman's in-store appearance and the warm welcome they received in Houston. You could also check out the 4 Best Vintage Comic Book Video Games.
Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards, or tell him he don't know nothing about comics in the comments below.