How did you get started in the industry?
“About four years ago, I did a couple children’s books. While doing that, I started my own publishing company. We were in Tennessee at the time, then moved out here to Rockaway (Beach). We noticed there was a lack of that type of media in the area. I always wanted to do comics and it’s one of her (Luna’s) favorite mediums, so we decided to switch from a children’s book publishing company to a comic book publishing company. To support that, we decided we were going to open a comic book store. It was a way for me to have an office and a way to make money while creating the comic books. It did alright for a little while, but Rockaway was a little small, so we decided to move our store to Seaside. We did a comic con in Tillamook in March, and that’s when we launched our first comic book, ‘Rando.’”
When was your first official day of business in Seaside?
“Aug. 1. We closed our Rockaway location about two months after moving here.”
How has business been since your move to Seaside?
“The shop has been doing really well. We’ve been making some changes here and there, just trying to get in line with what everybody wants. It’s been an adventure for sure.”
What appealed to you about Seaside?
“It was bigger. The age-range of the community is more appropriate for this type of business and that was really the turning point that made us come up here. It was either here or Portland, but we like the coast.”
Who is your target demographic?
“There are two different demographics. You’ve got the tourist and local demographic, and within those there are varying degrees. With the local demographic, there are more teenager to 40-year-olds, but then you also have the older, retired population, who bring in their grandkids. With the tourists it can really be anybody from a 6-year-old to an 80-year-old, never know what you’re going to get. The local community has been cool, a lot have come out and been supportive.”
Among the comic books, playing cards, and collectibles, what is the breakdown of your sales?
“Right now it’s more comic books than anything. ‘Magic: The Gathering’ sales have been increasing. We didn’t even know if we were going to offer it up (“Magic: The Gathering”) here since we didn’t in Rockaway. When we moved here, we decided to take a chance on it. A lot of our regulars are from the ‘Magic: The Gathering’ community.”
Do you offer matches with “Magic: The Gathering?”
“We’re trying to get sanctioned. To do that, you have to have a certain amount of players. We haven’t held any official tournaments yet, but we have constant game play, there’s always a casual game.”
How would you explain the game to someone who’s never played or isn’t familiar?
“It’s not as in-depth as you think. A lot of the time people see the game being played and the number of cards there are and they get a little intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the game. It’s really a bunch of smaller mechanisms within the game that, once you grasp those, the game isn’t nearly as big as it seems. A lot of people who haven’t played are getting into it for the art, which is why I do it. It’s about magic, casting spells and creatures and that’s what really gets people interested.”
Are there any games or comics that are making a comeback?
“‘Magic: The Gathering’ definitely. Magic comes and goes. When I first started playing, I was 14 or 15. I played for a few years then quit. It seemed like the game took a dive, then a few years later there’s more players. Right now they’re releasing ‘Ixalan,’ which is the newest expansion all about dinosaurs, wizards and pirates. They’re really enticing new players and a younger audience.”
Are there any particularly rare or valuable comics you carry?
“Yeah, we knew we were only going to do back issue at first so what I wanted to do was all my favorite vintage comics like Hulk and Spiderman — the stuff they are making the movies out of now. I wanted the comics that they were working from. A lot of my collection is vintage. I want people to be able to get what they would have found walking into a comic books store in the early 90s or late 80s. There’s a nostalgic factor for a lot of people my age.”
And you also carry independent comics?
“Independent comics have been going really well. We have a couple guys in Washington and a company on the east coast called Top Secret Press, who has a character called Betty Wicked. Instead of shoving the newest Superman or Spiderman down your throat you can pick up something you’ve never heard of before and you don’t have that preconception of what it’s going to be.”
Luna: “We carry a lot of independent comic book publishers in the area. A lot of the younger crowd here has picked up on those. They enjoy that they’re not your normal super hero tale, but their own original stories. The comics that you can’t pick up anywhere else have done really well.”
What was the inspiration behind “Rando,” the comic series you created?
“My dad used to tell me this bedtime story about a creature that lurked in the woods. It’s always kind of haunted me. It’s about childhood isolation and growing up in an environment that’s not stimulating.”
You’re planning to arrange a comic convention, or comic con, in Seaside next summer. Can you tell me more about that?
“We’ve booked the Seaside Convention Center for July 21st and 22nd. We’re talking to quite a few guests. We’re going to have a “cosplay” beach party and beer crawl. We’ve got a lot of events planned and a few celebrities that we will reveal once we have them ironed in. Our website will be up in a week or so.”
What is the website?
Luna: “We carry a lot of independent comic book publishers in the area. A lot of the younger crowd here has picked up on those. They enjoy that there not your normal super hero tale, but their own original stories. The comics that you can’t pick up anywhere else have done really well.”