As I wrap up my tout of Massachusetts before LCBS Spotlight begins to branch out to other states (remember: if you have something to say about your LCBS, please e-mail me a review and I’d be happy to post it here), I come ot a store I spent a great deal of time at in my younger and less formidable years. I discovered it one day instead of attending class and have since returned as often as possible. I used to go out of my way to travel there to pick up comics other stores didn’t have before I lived in the city, and now that I do I still try and find time to travel out there in order to get a good browse. This nice little shop is called the Outer Limits, and it is located in Waltham, MA, on Moody Street!
A long long time ago, I was but a wee lad. Hard to believe, but true none the less. I used to train every morning to a town called Waltham where I would attend school a ten minute walk from the stop. But, if I walked ten minutes in a different direction, I would stumble upon a quaint little comic shop that had everything I could imagine or want. I would leave there with the oddest of comics and/or toys, most of which are still located on my person (although I’m not sure where my Buddy Christ is right now). As time grew and grew, I would be at the store more often, always searching for the odd never-to-be-found that I could take home and gloat over. Things like Gotham By Gaslight, original issues of Sin City, rare never before seen (by me) Watchmen paraphernalia (like a set of pins from the 80’s that haven’t been opened or used). Oh, and how about the entire run of Green Lantern when I decided that was a book I wanted to pick up? I’m talking from issue 1 to whatever was current then. OH, and all those Grant Morrison comics I wanted! And Zero Hour, and Final Night…
Yeah. I’ve grabbed a lot. So let’s look the store!
Outer Limits is the place to go on new release day. For whatever reason, Outer Limits remains a “hidden gem” store, and by that I mean that not enough people visit it on a frequent basis. I can not understand why this is, but due to this there is always a healthy bounty of all the latest and greatest new releases. It is absolutely rare that anything will be sold out, and I’ve only seen this happen on ONE occasion ever, when Incognito #1 came out (that was almost impossible to find for some reason!). Whenever there is a book no one else has, I always know to go there, and that includes for a variant or two. It’s not That’s Entertainment!, but Outer Limits has always been incredibly formidable with providing me what I want when I want and how I want. Remember all those crazy Wolverine art variants Marvel did? Had ’em all! I grabbed the Dali one and it’s framed on my wall right now. Oh, and how about the iPod Thor variant that was hyped up for being silly and awesome yet wasn’t anywhere to be found? Well, Outer Limits had it. And was the book charged up to $20,000,000 for it? Nope. It was the price of the regular book. Swear to God! So if you ever are worried about a book, Outer Limits is the LCBS of choice for me, and I point it out in regards to the fact that it is very much a local comic book shop. Unlike other places I’ve mentioned, it is not a chain or a large scale entertainment store that would call people in it for any other reason than they want to be there. In fact, in many ways this was my other Legends, my other personal LCBS. I brought friends with me to show it off, but if the store five minutes from me didn’t have what I wanted, I drove the extra twenty to visit this one.Continued below
Despite it’s LCBS status, though, it has remained incredibly formidable in what it offers. As I’ve mentioned, I used to go here to pick up the odd item. I got an Army of Darkness lunchbox there once, and remember those Bone action figures that they don’t make anymore? Granma Ben is sitting on my shelf because of that store. Outer Limits also had all the Watchmen movie action figures for cheaper than everyone else. While all stores charged up to 18.99 for them, I grabbed my Rorschach action figure for 13.99. Sweet deal! There are statues, art prints (for one dollar you can buy a poster with Leonard Nimoy as Spock telling you to stay off drugs), and every omnibus/Absolute book that isn’t out of print. You want that limited Boys book that just came out? Yeah, it’s there. You want a random statue of the Spirit? You’re all set! How about a Rockateer bag? Yeah. A Rockateer bag. I think I’ve made my point in this regard, though. Surely SOMETHING you want that is not a comic book will be there.
And then there’s all of the trades. This store, despite it’s rather small size, has an over abundance of trades. And I mean over abundance. We’re talking both the really old out of print versions of Sleeper you won’t find anywhere else, and the brand new Sleeper seasons that were just released right before Criminal came out. Not only that, but the store has it’s own peculiar yet familiar filing system. For the most part, a large set of the trades are done by hero, so there’s a Superman shelf, a Batman shelf, a Spider-Man shelf, a Fantastic Four Shelf… then there’s author shelves, such as for Alan Moore and Warren Ellis… then there’s a Vertigo shelf, a Marvel shelf, a DC shelf, and then a free for all anything goes shelf for too many things to even think about, all done in alphabetical order by title (if I remember correctly). Don’t worry though. If you’re having trouble deciding what is right for you to listen to, the store conveniently provides a display rack on top of the graphic novel shelf in order to show you what’s hot in comics, i.e. Invincible and the Starman Omnibus collection (note to self: get the Starman Omnibus collection next time I am there).
So let’s see – great selection of new releases and recent releases, great selection of random items like toys and paraphernalia, great back issues and odd releases, great selection of trades and graphic novels… there’s only one thing that could possibly destroy this store at this point, right? That would be the service. Well, since the 80’s, one man has run that shop single-handedly, turning down job applications from 14 year old Jewish children looking for an excuse to hang out there more, and he has done an absolutely amazing job. He always greets me with a smile and a wave, helps me out if I need help finding something, and his knowledge of where he’s placed even the most peculiar of items is uncanny. I remember at one time when I wanted to find a tiny little release by Mark Millar, and he knew exactly under what two books it was buried. This is how well the man knows his store, and he always take the time to address any customer with a friendly attitude and a brief discussion on anything comic book related. He’s recommended me books, I’ve recommended him books, and he is quite possible one of the single most friendly LCBS store owners I’ve ever met. A lot of comic book guys (and gals) are often not afraid to speak with the customers but a bit reluctant too (unless, as I’ve experienced, I’m buying something they REALLY love). The owner however, who goes by the name Steve, is quite simply the nicest man you could ever have the fortune to interact with during your purchasing.
It is with this that I have saved the Outer Limits for last. Before LCBS Spotlight moves out into other states, I wanted to make absolutely sure that Outer Limits was fresh in your mind. While it is a small shop, it is definitely a truly magnificent one. Sure, I think the best comic book store in all of Massachusetts is That’s Entertainment!, and I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that as I’m sure the Eisner Award of 1997 will agree. But there’s something a huge store like that just can’t offer, and that is precisely what is available at Outer Limits. Great selection along with amazing service and customer relations makes The Outer Limits a store you just can’t possible afford to pass up during your New England comical travels.