Mayor Greg Ballard proclaimed this past Saturday as Free Comic Book Day and few were celebrating as much as those at Downtown Comics.
Downtown Comics started with three friends from different walks of life trying to make it after college, putting together a business plan and opening a comic book store in Indianapolis. Then one day, they got a call. A comic book store owner on the westside had walked out of his location, leaving his inventory behind. And thus, a new adventure was born.
Downtown Comics was once located just off of Country Club Road, but moved to its current location at 10 Street and Girls School Road in December of 2010.
“It’s a nice area, a brand new location, and was a fantastic move,” said Doug Stevenson, one of two original owners still working at the stores.
When they started out, there were more than 20 comic book stores in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Now, other than their own locations, there are less than five, but Stevenson said the enthusiast base is as diverse and growing as ever.
“The comic community is more diverse than people give it credit for,” Stevenson said, adding that the customer base at his downtown store on the circle is primarily lawyers, politicians, and city workers. “There’s a stigma with comic book fans, or what has been changed and renamed to the geek culture. But geek culture takes people all across the spectrum.”
Jeff Himes is the company’s creative director, and he agrees, saying that video game culture and movies have contributed to widening the comic book enthusiast demographic.
“I think the exposure that television and film have brought to the medium give it more crossover potential,” Himes said. “Now there’s far greater diversity of genre in comics than there was 20 to 30 years ago. Superheroes are still a mainstay, but with video games and movies and so forth, there’s a greater influx of material now.”