It’s been a few weeks since our NM trip. Somehow this adventure in comics got stuck in my drafts…
After taking a walk thru the historic Santa Fe market square, a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum and our attention turned, as its does , to where is the local comic book and game shop. Unfortunately, after a short google search and asking a couple of locals we found out that there is only one in town. There may be more, but they were not being easy to find.
Fortunately for us the one, Big Adventure Comics, was only a half mile away and just a few blocks from our hotel <giddy laugh> lucky me.
After a short walk in the morning sun we found the shop, almost hidden around the corner from the Jean Cocteau Cinema and next to The Santa Fe Train Station. Sporting a classic banner sign proclaiming in huge letters, “COMICS”, Big Adventure was open and waiting for us…
Brightly lit and high ceiling , the small space seemed quite a bit bigger. Though I never made it past the front room, there may have been more space in the back, I’m not sure. My first impression was of a well organized, user friendly shop with game tables beckoning to one side and a graphic novel bonanza to the other with Comics taking the featured front and center space. All of this believing the wide ranging variety of the store, games, accessories, art, local comics and more. The shopkeeper was engaged in an animated discussion with a patron. It was clearly a welcoming space.
Where some shops I find the staff in quiet conversation with locals, getting side eye from them as I enter. This was not that place. Their conversation almost inviting, daring me to join in. The shop keeper acknowledged us as we entered and left us to discover his shop in hindered, returning to his conversation. We were immediately confronted by a great display for RPGs, highlighting Beginners getting involved in D&D. Beyond that well lit open gaming tables.
Suzanne split off to discover on her own as she saw immediately that I would be here for a while.Circling the store I marveled at the Local comic artists section and the clever displays, inviting new comics readers in clever ways to dive in. Everything I looked for was easy to find, and i am usually not looking for the obvious.
While looking at the Graphic novels I could no longer contain myself and chimed in with some humored sarcasm to the ongoing conversation. I was drawn into the conversation in the friendliness that a love of comics can bring. The conversation subsided and their transaction completed the other r patron departed. I moved over to the counter and began my own conversation with Joel , the shopkeeper. after some history of the shop and general comic and game talk ( D&D of course) I got a recommendation for a Graphic Novel – a re issue of the Oni Press, Greg Ruka written , “Queen and Country”. New to me I finished the compendium over the next few days.
We also spent quite a bit of time introducing me to works by local comics artists, I purchased and soon devoured works by five locals. Amazing. There is a vibrant comic arts scene alive and well in Santa Fe..
I could go on and on about this shop, how it may be one of the smallest ( square footage) shops I have visited but is actually one of the Largest. But, I am going to leave the rest for you to find for yourself when you visit this incredible shop that is now solidly in my top five shops in America. No pressure.
Oni Press – Queen and Country Definitive Edition Vol. 1
Writer: Greg Rucka Artists: Steve Rolston, Brian Hurtt, and Leandro Fernandez
This series’s new to me (not sure how I ever missed it). The back cover of this compendium proclaims, Eisner Award Winner, best New Series 2001. Between the recommendation of Joel at Biga Adventure Comics and the striking art on the cover it was an instant must buy. I will neither confirm nor deny that Oni made me think of ONI from Halo ( no relation), always a plus.
Within an hour I had read and reread the first chapter. Penned in all blacks and white the style is striking and the writing, clear. The. action unfolds quickly and flows seamlessly from Panel to panel, page to page and each leaves the reader wanting more.
If you like Action, espionage, great art or good dialog, you will love this book, this series. After looking up the series on the Oni website, I was delighted to see there were quite a few more volumes in this compendium. Likewise , I was impressed to track where all of the artists involved with this book have gone since 2001 and the great projects that they are involved with.
Espionage, spies and mystery all appeal to me as a reader and this book has them all. Lately I have been partial to pen and ink, black and white books and the art in this book does not disappoint.
Nerdz give this Two Thumbs Up!
Derek T Smith