Looking for a comic book, vinyl record, or even (gasp!) a CD? Brick ‘n mortar comic book and record shops are hard to come across these days, so we’ve put together a list of some of the best around town. Get your analog freak on.

by Max Fisher

           Imagine it’s been a long day; your job was extra grueling. Time seemed suspended, and every minute felt like five instead. As you walk outside to your car a bitter chill hits your face, this coupled with the snowy slush under your feet makes you put your head down as you sit in your car waiting for it to warm up. When you reach the door of your home and take your keys out, you instantly drop them. They’re now submerged in slush; cold and wet.  You try to wipe them off with the front of your jacket, but after many seconds of doing this, you still have a tough time opening the lock. You finally do so. You sit down on your sofa, but you want to unwind. How do you get rid of the pressures of modern life (at least momentarily), you ask? Well, what I do is put on a vinyl record and read some comics. Let me tell you about a few of my favorite spots, and hopefully, it’ll bring you the relaxation it does me.

Revolver Records

Revolver Records is where I like to go for my vinyl needs because of one thing: THE CRATE IS KING.  There’s a feeling of self-discovery that’s lost in this digital age that is very much present at Revolver Records. Sifting through vinyl in big boxes (yes, they also have vinyl on the walls – I don’t want to make it seem like the atmosphere in the store is a garage sale) takes you back to a place where information wasn’t readily available to you. You look in those crates, and you might find a unique Miles Davis record from the 80s or a modern classic like Good Kid MA.A.D City. You could, of course, call ahead of time and see what they have if you wanted something specific, but that defeats the purpose of the store. Look around; hear the slight crinkle of plastic as your fingers quickly go from one cover to the other, creating a mini flip-book in the process. Talk to the person at the counter, exchange tastes, be open to suggestions, and possibly when it’s all done, your musical horizons will be enriched, and you might have discovered something new.

check out Revolver Records on Hertel Ave.

Queen City Bookstore

On the comic book side, Queen City Bookstore has been a fixture of the city for as long as I can remember. Upon entering, you’re bombarded by superheroes in all forms, T-shirts, collectibles figures, and lamps but most importantly, a diverse collection of comic books. Ranging from the golden age of comics to the modern era, the guys at Queen City have you covered. It’s a genuinely communal space where customers are free to explore and debate their favorite characters as well as learn about new ones. There’s also a sense exploration with the many “back issues” you can look through and purchase; maybe you’ll find the answer to a burning question you’ve had like “does Spiderman wear leg warmers under his suit during the winter months?”

Queen City Bookstore has all the comics

Gutter Pop

Another great comics store in the city is Gutter Pop Comics, and although they have superhero comics, their niche is more toward indie books including Fantagraphics Books such as “Love and Rockets” by the Hernandez brothers or Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martins’ “Tank Girl,” two of my favorites . Gutter Pop also doubles as a small Vinyl store, so if you wish to get your complete fix there, then you’ll be in for a treat. Gutter Pop is a smaller comics store, having a “homey” and intimate feel. The people at the front desk see you right away and greet you like you’re a long-lost voyager coming home, ready to help you in whatever direction your tastes take you on any given day.

Gutter Pop Comics on Elmwood Ave.

Find Your Escape

This world can be incredibly stressful; there is no escaping that fact, but I hope I gave you a few more options on how to lessen that stress. Sometimes peace isn’t found on the screen of your phone but rather in the form of the latest issue of “Criminal” or listening to The Smiths, but then again, maybe that’s just me. As always, let Welcome 716 guide you to the best of the Buffalo Niagara region.