The United States are undoubtedly the center of the comic book world. Where Marvel, DC, Image and many others have been founded and have been flourishing ever since. This is why I expected San Francisco to be a treasure island for the comic book hunters, but I was oh so wrong.
Basically, Marvel and DC movies are reporting gross earnings in the billions and comic book stores all across the world are enormously benefiting from the economic impact. For those reasons, one would assume that the quality of the stores in the Hollywood’s immediate region would be stuff of legends. But things don’t seem to be working that way. The ratio of comic book stores by citizen is ridiculously low. Again, San Francisco is NOT a comic book city.
But if you’re still planing on visiting, here is a rundown of the note worthy locations.
Before arriving in San Francisco I was very excited about this place, not only do they have an amazing website but they also have almost perfect ratings on any social media. But that was it: Great image no content. The service was filled with energy, you could tell that “James” was passionate and knowledgeable, which is great if you’re looking for a chat, hence the two stars. When it came to the comic selection, I couldn’t see anything interesting. They do have a good array of graphic novels, all recent and unfortunately available anywhere else, making their selection very average.
Second on my list was Amazing Fantasy. Based on the ratings and their online presence, I was expecting a good but modest store. It turned out to be exactly that. With a good selection of new releases and trades and a modest selection of back issues, I would recommend it to most of the San Franciscan living in the immediate area. As for the people visiting the city, even though the staff was very friendly and knowledgeable, I’d say it is not worth a detour.
Based in two different location, they both receive a 4/5 from me (but only for silly reasons).
First location holds almost everything you could be looking for in the new and recently released comics. A huge collection of graphic novels organized by author was also available, which could have been a headache. Luckily, the staff was amazingly helpful. They also gained an extra point for their vast indie collection. Unfortunately, it is not the spot for the back issues, hence the missing star. From what I have noticed, they keep them for their second store.
Comix Experience – The Outpost
The second location (The outpost) is everything the first store had to offer but with a huge collection of back issues and amazing wall books. A little smaller in space but it didn’t stop them from making them, from my point of view, the best comic book store in San Francisco. Not only do they have a immense comic selection but they also have a 1:1 scale Iron Man right in the middle of the store, so kudos for that. The staff present at the time, Cameron, was exceptionally fun and competent at recommending new titles. He was even able to find me a new indie graphic novel that fits perfectly to my tastes and even more surprising, that I’ve never heard before. That’s real talent. The only downside is that it is extremely far from the downtown area. Its a good hour away by metro but again, totally worth it.
**** Bonuses ****
Cartoon Art Museum
This museum is relatively small with four different rooms dedicated to the different expositions currently going on. My description of the content will not be very useful since the museum does not have many permanent exposition but instead will alternates every now and then with new subject or artists. The main expositions displayed during my visit was the art of “Darth Vader and Friends” and “Savage Dragon”. I personally enjoyed the complexity of Marc Silvestri’s Savage Dragon and the realism of Alex Ross’s Superman. I have always admired the simplicity and raw beauty of Comic Book’s Original Art and they have hundreds of them. I highly recommend it.
With hundreds of original (and really creepy) antique arcade games this place is a MUST SEE. All functional, these arcades are truly fascinating, all of them represent true mechanical ingenuity. Also featuring some of the classics from the 80’s like Galaga, Pac Man and many more. Located right on the docks, this museum is free and easily accessible.
The holy grail of San Francisco Hobbyist. They hold a good selection of Japanese RC, figures, Toys and Statues but they mainly specialize in Mecha Model Kits, which is immensely popular in the Asian market. Being a huge fan of Mecha’s and after visiting the Model Kits stores of Japan, I can concur that this is up to standards. It is obviously not on the same level, but if you are a fan, it is worth the trip. (Plus, the best Ramen in town is in the neighborhood)
Even though they call themselves a comic book and toys store, they would earn a 1/5 for their 2 long box and a half of comics and a 3/5 for their toy collection. So lets focus on toys. A very small store packed with new and recent toys and lots of sports’s cards (which I kinda overlooked because if my lack of interest). A good choice of current toy series but lacks a retro collections. They do have a dozen old items in display but unfortunately they are “not for sale, only for display”. Which is in my opinion is highly illogical. So Collector’s cave is good for new toys (that you can get at Toys “R” Us), don’t even bother for comic books.
On this, I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you’ll be visiting San Fran for the amazing view and not the Comics.
That’s it folks, see you next time!