I just finished re-reading my friend Rob's book "Hey Kids, Comics!!" (the book was named after a website of his)! The book is filled with essays by various comic book pros and fans alike. And a common theme in these essays, is that of how much of a struggle it could be to hunt down your favorite comics (back in the day, you had to cover some ground in order to get to ALL of your favorites). And , those essays served to remind me of how lucky I was as a kid growing up in the 1970's.
I actually DID have a comic book shop in my town! It was (and still is) called the Rock Bottom Bookstore! Most of my books I bought at the Rock Bottom. But Wilda (NOT Wilma) who owned and ran the shop, did not carry everything that I loved and collected (I never knew for sure, with absolute certainty, why Wilda did not carry some books. I always thought it was because she did not think that her customers would be interested in books like Richie Rich, Archie or Scooby - Doo). For those books, I had a network of convenience stores all over town. I even gave them descriptive names of sorts (I never paid much attention to the names of the stores back then).
One such store (now a liquor store) I referred to as simply "The Card Store". I rarely bought comic books there , but they had an assortment of trading cards . This is where I bought cards based on TV Shows like The Incredible Hulk. It was not a frequent stop, but it was a place to go to when we were in the area. I could not find those Incredible Hulk cards in ANY other store! The worst place back in the day to look for comics was at one of our local IGA stores. There were several in the area, but this particular one was ALWAYS grungy and run down. I only bought ONE comic book from that store EVER! The comic? It was a slightly bent up copy of Detective Comics #495 - "Murder In Quicksilver"! They had their comic books in a dilapidated old spinner rack that refused to spin. Whenever you would try to check the rack, it would make a horrible screeching sound in protest and not budge. Fortunately , the spinner rack was next to one of the store windows, which had a small, brown platform type of window sill. The sill went all of the way to the ground. It was wide enough for me to stand on, and so I did!
I must have made a sight to see in climbing through the window, but it was the only way to check all of the racks. Sadly, most of the books had busted spines and torn covers from people bending the books back in order to see what books were behind the front book. I found a copy of the aforementioned Detective Comics (it had a couple of small nicks in the spine but it was the BEST comic book that I had seen there. Yeah, I could have gotten a better copy at the Rock Bottom, but after all of that trouble, I was going to get a comic book from there regardless!
Next time -- stories about MUCH better stores and experiences !!