We’re coming close to the end of MA reign of LCBS spotlights. While there are several stores I’ve been too that are worth mentioning, I don’t visit them enough in order to be able to write concise commentary on the store. As far as memory serves, there’s only two stores I have left that I can write about like that.
Bedrock Comics is a tiny little store off route 9 near where I work, and I used to often times pop in after work on Wednesday to grab things I don’t think I would normally be able to find, although I do go more frequently now. It’s a tiny shop run by two guys, Jack and Jim, both of whom are very open and friendly. And while this store is rather tiny compared to other stores I frequent, it does have a lot of heart and I often times prefer going here for harder to find issues.
I would also like to say right off the bat that I apologize for my rather unconventional picture at the top in order to show the store. I was unfortunately unable to find any pictures of the store and have had to settle for the best I could do. On the plus side, though, the address is right there in the picture in case you want to visit!
I would say that my habits and policies for reviewing stores are pretty standard at this point, so I won’t waste too much time before getting into it. I will say as a starter that, while I’m not sure exactly how long Bedrock has been around, I know it’s been there for quite some time because I remember having my parents drive me by it when I was a wee lad. What this goes to show is that despite it’s size and location, the store is still doing quite well for itself, and if you’ve ever gone inside and browsed the content you’ll know why. I think it’s an important thing to note when factoring my reviews together. I only know what the store looks like now, but clearly it does have a lasting effect if it’s managed to stay in business for so long against chains and giants, etc. I mean this as an incredibly positive comment.
So let’s start with the basics – comic inventory. As far as new releases go, Bedrock is a great place to go. In fact, it’s THE place to go in the local area. They get all new releases, although in what quantity depends on the book. There are some books that will have “50” copies, and there are others that will have one or two, so if you’re looking for some incredibly hard to find title or perhaps one that is just starting out that week on a minor publisher, you might want to get there early. If you are big into hunting back issues, then it’s a toss up. Bedrock is great for recent back issues, and depending how big the title is they have a great selection of older issues (big titles like the Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc). They do have a fair set of back issues, and I have actually gotten some great hard to find books there in the past like Criminal, but in general it has been explained to me that they don’t like to over stock the store with too many back issues. What they do have instead is bagged runs. This is a practice that you can actually find in most comic stores but I haven’t mentioned a lot until now because Bedrock wins the throne on this. Basically, they take a set number of books in a given run, bag them together, and give you the whole shebang. This methodology for comic books has actually been quite useful to me in the past, and this is what Bedrock has more of then just back issues. In fact, this is a really great tool when it comes to collecting comics if you’re unsure of where to start a book and don’t want to buy a trade (or can’t for whatever reason). On top of that, the prices on these are GREAT. I bought a full run of the Flash (13 issues at $2.99 plus a special) for just $20. That’s incredible, and I lose a lot of money just in this part of the store.Continued below
When it comes to the extras, Bedrock has a great set. We’ve got toys for low prices, we’ve got t-shirts and statues, we’ve got super rare issues on the back wall – all the staples you’ll find in any given comic book store. Don’t go there expecting all of the latest DC Direct toys, though. That’s not the specialty of the store. What you will find is a set of toys you haven’t seen in years that you may want as a collector, and 9 times out of 10 that toy in question is actually a great little quirky figure that would look great at home in any collection. So the best way to look at the toy situation is that it’s an added brief bonus to peruse before you go to the counter. That’s not to say the collection isn’t great – it is. But these, as well as brand new trades, are not things Bedrock usually gets on Wednesdays (although they have no problem special ordering). AND – if you want a superhero logo t-shirt that you’re having problems finding elsewhere? You’re in luck. You are so in luck my friend.
Then there is my final category – the employees. I have two categories within this category that I usually comment on, and that is general comic knowledge as well as friendliness. So as far as the general comic knowledge goes, I’d say the owner is great. Everything I’ve ever talked to him about he’s been rather knowledgeable on, and we’ve been able to have brief yet informative dialogues in the past. On top of that, he is open with me about how he runs his store, and I’ve learned some neat things about comics from the retailer perspective. On top of that, the owners are actually quite friendly and always encourages me into friendly dialogue when I’m there. Despite me not having a pull there (since I do pre-orders online), whenever I come in to pick up books I haven’t already pre-ordered I’m treated with a pleasent smile, even before I was a regular. Also, in being a wallflower, I notice a lot of repeat customers who all stop and chat with the two owners, and they’re always showing what comics are on sale. On top of that, every time I even quietly mention that I can’t find something, they immediately jump to bat and offer to order it for me, even if that’s not something I am interested in on any given comic. Needless to say, it’s easy to see why they get repeat customers.
Now, aside from all of my commentary on the store, there is one very important thing I’d like to bring attention to. The store is the home front of something called Operation: Comix Relief. From what I have read, the owner of the store started the program in 2003 in order to send comics to troops over seas who are wounded or ill, or any soldier on the front line in general. This is such a great idea and I know that if I was overseas I would greatly appreciate the thought. You can mail comics to Bedrock or you can drop comics off at the store directly. It’s such a wonderful little program and I can’t endorse it enough. Please read more about it here.
As a side note, I’d also like to point out that comic companies do make soldier-specific books, which is also cool. I actually have one of the New Avengers issues meant for overseas soldiers in which the Avengers (and Deadpool…) help the army take down the Hulk. It’s an entertaining read.
So while Bedrock seemingly has cards stacked against it with it’s location and size, it’s actually a very nice little shop. If anything, it really proves that size doesn’t matter when you have good customer service. When I look at it as I do a shop I reviewed a while ago (Legends Comix) and see it as the comic shop that you make your own personal LCBS vs. the one you randomly visit as you would any store, I think the store has a lot of merits. In fact, if this was near where I lived as opposed to where I worked, I would make it my personal LCBS. A lot of great stuff can be picked up here, and it definitely stands the test of time. So Bedrock is not the store I would recommend to people just randomly comic-hopping stores around the states (like I do) but rather those looking to make steady visits to a shop for all their needs. Seriously, when you get an LCBS that really does make you feel at home in the store, you know it’s one that’s worth while. On top of that, when a big “chain store” like Newbury Comics (although I’ve ranted that that’s not a real comic store and shouldn’t be viewed as such) is right up the street and Bedrock is STILL kicking it’s ass, that oughta tell you something. And it is of course worth at least one visit to see what rare stuff you can find!