Much beloved comics shop Big Brain In Minneapolis is closing down at the end of June.
For 20 years, Drivas and Big Brain have been synonymous with Minnesota’s comic book culture. During that time, local artists have counted on the owner as a friend and adviser, while the shop has been lauded for its diverse mix of superhero stories, graphic novels, alternative titles and self-published
Among the Twin Cities’ dozen or so comic shops, it sticks out. With exposed brick walls, soaring ceilings and silver air ducts looming overhead, Big Brain’s interior could almost pass for a trendy clothing boutique — if it weren’t for the shelves and shelves of comics.
Owner Michael Drivas says the reason is he’s just tired. “You’re either always working, or never working,” he told the Star Tribune. OR as he tweeted:
Thanks for kind words everyone. Other than feeling like I've given a whole city the "It's not you, it's me" speech things are good.
— Big Brain Comics (@BigBrainComics) May 6, 2016
I’ve had the pleasure of many conversations with Drivas over the years, especially in the scrappy days when it was a fight to try to believe that comics could be more than just capes and tights. I know he’s been a dedicated soldier in that winning battle for decades, and losing him and the store is a blow. At the same time, I feel like quite a few people from that generation (heck my generation) are doing a “mic drop” now. Certainly running a comics store is a ton of work, and unfortunately it isn’t the kind of thing that you can do as an absentee owner while raking in tons o’ bucks. Comics are a marginal business, and that means a lot of wear and tear. I wish him the best, and hope that Minneapolis’s thriving comics culture can develop a new center.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.