(Here is the 2012 travelogue.)
While Omaha is quite similar to most metropolitan areas (great restaurants, great performing arts, baseball stadium, convention center), it has, to me, an unusual selection of comics shops, many of them quite decent, and almost all in business for a decade or longer.
I created this “Grand Comics Tour” as a way for me to visit as many of these great stores in as little time as possible, and save quite a bit of money while shopping!
I hope others will replicate this crazy idea, either on Black Friday or Free Comic Book Day. (I did something similar during the second FCBD, visiting all of the participating comics shops in Manhattan.) It can be a one-day event, if in a metro area like Los Angeles, or a weekend road trip if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
So here’s how this year’s GCT went:
At least two shops were advertising online opening at 8 AM, so that was the Zero Hour. Like DC’s, it didn’t go according to plan… Once Parker (my adult nephew whom I innocently seduced with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while babysitting him in the late 1980s) picked me up, it was 8:45. He filled up the gas tank, and I bought provisions (including a bottle of the “real sugar” Mountain Dew). Five minutes later, we were at Krypton Comics, which offered 40% off on everything today, and 20% off Saturday and Sunday. Door busters? More like bookshelf busters! Here’s the list!
- Bone One Vol Tp Regular Price $39.95—Doorbuster Price – $20
- Fables Tp Regular Price $12.99—Doorbuster Price – $5
- Batman Court of Owls HC Regular Price $24.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- Walking Dead Compendium Tp 1 Regular Price $59.99—Doorbuster Price – $25
- YuGiOh Judgement of the Light Special Edition Box Regular Price $31.99—Doorbuster Price – $15
- Deadpool TP #1 Dead Presidents Regular Price $15.99—Doorbuster Price – $5
- Captain America Winter Soldier TP Regular Price $24.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- Guardians of The Galaxy Premiere HC #1 Cosmic Avengers Regular Price $24.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- My Little Pony Tales TP #1 Regular Price $19.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- Saga TP #1 Regular Price $9.99—Doorbuster Price – $5
- Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth TP #1 Regular Price $9.99—Doorbuster Price – $5
- X-Men Days of Future Past TP Regular Price $19.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- Stephen King’s The Stand Captain Trips HC Regular Price $24.99—Doorbuster Price – $2
- Magic The Gathering Holiday Gift Box Regular Price $19.99—Doorbuster Price – $10
- The superhero variant of Sesame Street #1
- Herobear and the Kid 2013 Annual #1
- The “3 Apes 3” issue (#40) of Secret Origins ($2, and worth it for Mark Waid’s essay in the back, where he elucidates on what I call “The Donenfeld Theory of Comic Book Covers”!) 
- The quarter/dollar bin: Marvel Team-Up #9 (Daredevil and Luke Cage eating lunch on the cover), Comics Value Monthly, #79 (March 1993…Giant Size X-Men #1: $185 mint), the new adventures of JESUS (Foolbert Sturgeon, second edition 1971), and Warren Presents: Galactic Wars Comix (December 1978)
- Diamond Previews, December 2013.
Total cost? About $10. The store was busy, but easy to move around, even with the two lines at the registers. I got in line at 9:15, and paid at 9:50. My nephew, doing some Christmas shopping, hit a total of $100+, and had to send two games back, reducing his damage to $60 (hardcover graphic novels, t-shirts).
Ten minutes later, we were at Mail Order Comics, a website with a store/warehouse near the interstate. The store is nice and a bit spare, as if someone opened a comics shop inside their home. Back issues and graphic novels were 50% off, but my copy of Deadpool Annual #001 was a new issue, so I only got 35% off.
We hit the road at 10:15, hit McDonald’s at 10:30 (a steak, egg, and cheese bagel), and arrived at Ground Zero Comics at 50th Street at 10:45. (The store was opened in the 1980s, when the nearby Strategic Air Command was a bulls-eye for nuclear Armageddon. Yes, I think applying that nickname to The Tragedy at the World Trade Center is a bit crass, but that’s just me.) Here, everything in the store was 50% off! I hit the dollar bins, and bought a big stack of comics:
- Free Comic Book Day issues from 2003!
- House organs! (DC Direct Currents, Marvel Previews, Dark Horse Comics Insider)
- Comics magazines!
- Vertigo previews!
- Calliope Comics Presents Musings
- A coverless issue of Welcome Back, Kotter #1, and…
- Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1
Meanwhile (as Dick Giordano used to say)… my nephew was looking through the graphic novel overstock, and found…
Published by Ideals, this was part of a four-volume series, featuring comics reprints packaged with back matter text. We also found the Fantastic Four and Captain America volumes, but not the one featuring Spider-Man. No idea who did the painted covers…
My cost for all of the above? About $12. My nephew: $6.
Back on the road at 11:20, we had a deadline of Noon, as Parker had to cover lunch breaks at Radio Shack in the mall at One. So we decided to cut off the eastern half of the tour, and head to The Dragon’s Lair, my original local comics shop from back in the day. (Yikes… almost 20 years since I left The Big Oh.) But on the way, we made a detour to Benson, Omaha’s small town. (It was annexed back in 1917.) The main street, Maple, has that small-town design with many small storefronts, some in business for decades. We visited two new recent stores: Benson Bazaar an antiques/retro store chock full of interesting items, like the $6 game below. Next door to that is the Omaha Bicycle Company, which is half bicycle shop, half cafe. (Yes, the aroma is a mixture of rubber and coffee.) Parker, via his photography website, had shot some photos for the company, and had a gallery show there last month. It’s a nice store with a great space and staff, and a furry “honorary mechanic” who likes to nap and get petted.
We were back on the road at 12:05, headed to The Dragon’s Lair, my original comics shop. We arrived at 12:15, and the store remains unchanged. Bob, the owner, was behind the counter, and remembered me, even though now I only visit the store once a year, and not every Saturday, like I used to do back in the day, walking uphill both ways. I bought a Christmas present for my niece, a Marvel hardcover, at 20% off.
By 12:30, we were done with the first half of the tour! I returned home at 12:50, and Parker left to deal with The Walking Dread at the Westroads Mall.
I took a nap, then began work on this post.
The plan for the evening was to meet at Legends Comics and Coffee, where the Super Villain Social is usually held in the cafe on Friday nights. However, Legends had special hours for Black Friday, and was open from 8 AM-5 PM. (Pretty cool of them to close early on Black Friday. I hope they retired to J. Coco next door for drinks and eats.)
So… not as comprehensive as previous years, but I found some good deals, discovered some interesting comics, got a little Christmas shopping done, met some new Facebook friends, and had a good time!
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 Want to sell lots of comics? These cover motifs sell: gorillas (or other apes), dinosaurs, motorcycles, fire, purple covers, questions posed to the reader, a crying hero.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!