With Further Ado #237: Start-Ups & Second Acts in Geek Culture

One of the many great things about Geek Culture is the opportunity for “second acts”.

There’s an old gag that posits 97% of all comic fans want to work in comics, and the other 3% are lying. There’s probably a lot of truth in that.

I would guess the numbers aren’t as high for something like the music industry, for example. I love listening to music, but I have no talent and little aptitude to create music. I even hum off key.

This weekend, Saratoga Springs celebrated the annual Chowderfest. It’s an incredible time, as just about every restaurant and bar erects a Pop-Up to serve their own version of chowder. This annual event attracts so many locals as well as folks like us, who traveled there for the festivities. There were so many people enjoying this event. Along with so many tasty chowders. There were also long lines, more than a few hoisted beer mugs and lots of smiles.

On the way out of town, after this glorified pub-crawl, we stopped at Saratoga’s newest comic store. Cosmic Capes Comics is bright and welcoming comic shop with a fantastic selection of new comics. The new comics are all grouped by publisher, so it was a treat to see all the comics from publishers like AHOY and AfterShock in one place.

The owner Michael Miller is long time comics fan, who just made the jump from a long IT career to that of a comic shop owner. We saw him on a Sunday, and he was so happy and cheery that you’d have thought he was the father of the bride on a sunny wedding day.

I was able to snag a few new comics, and enjoyed talking with Mike about each of them. He knows his stuff and is an advocate for the industry.

My wife even bought me a Valentine’s present there – a beautiful new Tarzan hardcover. I like Tarzan, but my lovely wife Kathe knows how much I enjoy this gorgeous Joe Jusko series. He’s providing glorious covers for all the ERB books. (And there’s a wonderfully inked illustration in each of these books too.)

His old career crept through a bit – he talked about how he was going to review the sales data from the past few months to make better informed buying decisions. Geez, that sounded more like an IT guy than an old comic fan. But clearly, it’s the smart thing to do.

I can’t wait to return one day soon!
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On the other hand, I simply must give a shout-out to one of my all-time favorite comic shops: Excellent Adventures in Ballston Spa. John Belkis has been running this shop for years. He’s a great fan and retailer and is somehow able to balance selling and showcasing both new and old comics (and vintage toys and rare books).

CBR had a fantastic showcase of John’s store a few years ago and you can still read it here.

This is a fantastic place to go treasure hunting. I resisted buying the Major Matt Mason Space Crawler he was selling (including the box) but did scoop up some amazing comics, including a Gold Key Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories (with a Zorro story) and the first two issues of Comico’s Evangeline (for an upcoming Back Issue Magazine article) . I was even able to rescue a ¾ cover of an old Jimmy Olsen issue from the bargain bin!

Every visit to John’s store is like stepping into a magical wonderland (like Narnia or OZ) decorated with the hopes and dreams of all my favorite comics and toys.

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You can visit Cosmic Capes Comics at 9 Hamstead Place in Saratoga Springs.

Excellent Adventures is at 110 Milton Ave in Ballston Spa (right next to Planet Coffee).