Located in Lansdowne, Virginia (not quite Ashburn yet not quite Leesburg), Laughing Ogre Comics is in an excellent spot to do business. Located right off of the ever-busy Route 7, Laughing Ogre is only a minor detour away for those many commuters that use the route, and I have seen firsthand the incredible amounts of business it can get on a Wednesday right after work lets out for the general populace. But does this shop have the quality to truly capitalize on its location? Follow the jump to find out.
Well, let’s break it down. The most important attraction in any comic shop, in my opinion, is the availability of new issues. Sure, this may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve been to some shops where new issues are in small supply. Laughing Ogre has no such trouble. Whenever I go in on a Wednesday (and often even later) I have absolutely no problem finding an issue of something I was interested in, even if it wasn’t on my pull. Everything is arranged very orderly in easy-to-navigate stands, with previous months’ issues sitting behind the most recent, while still being visible without having to flip through a stack. All in all, Laughing Ogre brings their A-game in this essential field.
They don’t skimp on the trades, either. Laughing Ogre has a very interesting setup for their trade presentation, and it is probably my favorite in any store. First, when you enter through the front door they have displays on the left of various series that have earned critical acclaim, each with short blurbs giving an overview of the plot direction. These are the comics that those who are new to comics are more likely to check out: The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man, Johns’ Green Lantern, and many more. Then in the back there is a series of shelves that are organized by writer (and, sometimes, artist). In both of these divisions, the store makes sure to have every single trade in a series available; you will almost always be able to find all ten trades of The Sandman, all seven trades of The Invisibles, and so on and so forth. Anything not in either of these categories is on their smaller, just as easy to look through shelves in the middle of the store, and boy do they have a lot.
There’s so much more to Laughing Ogre comics. One very important thing for me is that it looks nice. It doesn’t look like some scary dungeon, with the comics being suspended on wire racks that look like they would fit in better inside of a garage. No, Laughing Ogre uses actual bookshelves, which seem to be a rarity in comic shops nowadays. Sure, it’s just an aesthetic thing, but nice looks go a long way. Additionally, they have some of the nicest and most helpful staff that I’ve ever encountered, who seem to be gifted with infinite patience considering they don’t show the slightest bit of annoyance when I mumble and bumble up at the cash register. The store has a good amount of other “nerdy” hobbies available, from trading cards to pen and paper role playing games, but not enough to make the actual comics division suffer.
My only problem with the Lansdowne location of Laughing Ogre Comics is their lack of back issues. At the end of the month, they take comics of a certain age off of their shelves to make room for new ones and ship them off to their Fairfax location. Sure, Fairfax isn’t that far from this location, but it isn’t close enough to warrant a trip just to flick through back issues (which is one of my favorite things to do at a comic shop). Other than that, however, Laughing Ogre is the model I would base my dream comic shop on, and is one of the primary reasons I got back into comics. If you’re in Northern VA, stop by and check out what they have to offer. I promise it will be worth your time.