Boutiques and Geeks Holiday Gift Guide 2010

2 Dec

Diesel Slown Shirt
70 GBP – republic.co.uk


Three Robots Decorative Wall Sticker
$45 – kirnazabete.com


Pack of 12 baubles
4.50 GBP – habitat.co.uk


pac-man iPad decals
technabob.com


Comic Pick of the Week – Invincible # 75

6 Nov

Invincible # 75

For me nothing beats a good space epic, I mean I really love them! I remember being a kid and just waiting for the next issue of Silver Surfer or Green Lantern to come out, because you never knew what you were in store for. Invincible 75 fits that bill perfectly.

Reading this issue brought me right back to being 12 years old, laying on my living room floor, in complete anticipation of what would be waiting for me with the turn of each page. Robert Kirkman and company have been building up to this Vultrumite War arc for quite sometime, and it’s no disappointment. If you’ve been following Invincible, you’re already familiar with the intense and often graphic action that has become synonymous with this title (if you’re not, get off your butt and go grab a copy!), this issue is no exception. Taking place in the far reaches of space, we join Mark (Invincible) and his small crew of heroes on their way to confront the last remnants of the Vultrumite empire, once a vast world conquering race, now reduced to a couple handfuls of soldiers. The problem is every one of the Vultrumites is as strong, if not stronger than Invincible himself. When the two opposing forces meet, the ensuing battle explodes, leaving casualties on both sides.

Visually the book is amazing! Ryan Ottley, with assistance from on again off again inker Cliff Rathburn and colorist FCO Plascencia, blow it out of the water! Every page looks like these guys put their all into it. Throwing in no less than three double page spreads, they make it feel as though you’re part of the action, something that has been a hallmark of this book since the beginning.

Even though the story takes place in the middle of the war, Kirkman does a great job of bringing you up to speed, making this issue easily accessible to new readers. So no excuses, go to the comic shop and treat yourself to one of the best ongoing titles on the rack today!

Atomic City Comics – Philadelphia, PA

2 Nov
On our trip back up the east coast, Nik and I took an impromptu detour through Philly to soke up some local hospitality, by doing a little shopping, and enjoying some must have Philly cheese steaks. Our first stop was South street, known for its boutiques and eateries. We went to stop in at Showcase Comics, and found out they evolved into Atomic City Comics and had moved a few doors down. Cool, a new store.
Walking in the shop we were greeted by a couple of the employees, which I feel is something neglected in a lot of shops, immediately giving it a nice neighborhood feel. The first thing I noticed was a wall of manga, definitely the most of any shop we’ve been in thus far. Right next to the “wall of manga” was the first of a few different arcade games for customers to play, another cool, inviting element of the shop. This place utilizes every square inch they have. No matter where you turn your head you’ll be looking at something, be it comics, statues, posters, plush dolls, belt buckles, or even a selection of masks. Their current comic selection was more than ample, comprised of everything from pop culture icons like Spiderman to lesser known titles such as Rasl. Similarly their graphic novel selection was extensive, and had something for everyone. I took special notice of their large inventory of omnibi, essentials, and showcase books. There’s a small room in the back for back issues and adult books. They also have a wide array of t-shirts, which I’m a glutton for.

The bottom line is, I really enjoyed Atomic City Comics. They have a great selection of comics and merchandise, coupled with a nice friendly shopping environment.It’s the kind of place that makes you happy to be part of the comic book community. Check Flickr for more photos!

 

Atomic City Comics

640 South Street

Philadelphia, PA

www.atomiccitycomics.com

Nectar – Baltimore, MD

13 Oct

Nectar is a women’s clothing and home goods boutique in Fells Point, Baltimore. The boutique had a very welcoming feel with hardwood floors, bright lights, and small displays which made it easy to shop. The fitting rooms were located in the back room of the store which were gorgeous with gold drapery and chandeliers.

The boutique seemed to have a large array of independent designers. There was a pretty large summer sale section when I was there, and they were just beginning to get in their fall collection. The woman behind the counter was not the owner of the boutique but did mention that the owner, Christine Short does come in her boutique often.

The boutique also had a small selection of baby onsies and hats that were adorable! When I went on their website I saw there was large selection of childrens clothing including: hats, onesies, and flip flops. So cute!! This boutique in Baltimore is quite small, but it looks like there is a lot more to shop on their website. Check out Nectar’s boutique online at http://www.nectarboutique.com.

Nectar

1628 Thames Street

Baltimore, MD 21231

http://www.nectarboutique.com/

Comic Pick of the Week- Artifacts

3 Oct

Artifacts

If you’ve grown up reading Marvel and DC comics, as I have, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the different imaginings and convoluted histories that come with the 60-70 plus years these characters have been knocking around. Having said that, I like a good amount of the stories coming from “the big two” these days. Sometimes though it’s nice to step back from all the sieges, black nights, and countless mini-series and one shots that come along with them, and find something that doesn’t require years of knowledge to easily read. That’s why when I read artifacts, from Top Cow, it was a nice change-up from all the mega events.

What author Ron Marz (Witchblade, Samurai: Heaven and Earth) has done here, is succeeded in bringing a company wide miniseries together that doesn’t leave the reader scrambling for a ton of back issues just to understand one panel. In today’s market where books run anywhere from three to five dollars, it’s nice to not feel like I’m being shaken down! The characters are larger than life, and the danger is indeed earth shattering. At the same time the main players are easy to get, and I don’t feel like I’ve been dropped into the middle of an epic that I couldn’t explain in less than a few sentences.

The series stars all of the main characters of the Top Cow universe. You have Witchblade, the Darkness, Angelus, and even Aphrodite IV. The idea behind the story is that these characters are all powered by artifacts, of which there are thirteen. Now someone is trying to collect all thirteen artifacts. If this mystery person succeeds it will bring about Armageddon level trouble for the Top Cow universe. Naturally none of our heroes want this to happen, so somethings gotta be done about it. If you’re unfamiliar with these characters, don’t fret, as a second feature in the issues, the gang at top cow has conveniently put origin stories together for them, using some top name talent in the art department. There was also a free comic book day issue zero that acted as a dossier as well.

The art so far has been handled by Michael Broussard, who having won Top Cows 2006 talent search has gone on to work on the Marvel/Top Cow crossover Unholy Union, as well as becoming the regular artist on the Darkness. His art style is dark and gritty, a perfect match for the tone of the book. Apparently long time comic artist Whilce Portacio, who made a name for himself in the 90’s on books like uncanny X-Men and X-Factor as well as his creator owned Wetworks for Image, is on deck as penciler. Portacio currently finds himself back in the saddle as the regular artist on uncanny X-Men, proving he still has what it takes to tell great looking stories.

All and all if you’re looking to read a big story with big art, but you don’t want the headache that can come along with it, this is probably right where you want to be. So run down to your local comic shop, reserve your copy of Artifacts, and get in on the action.


Trixies Palace – Baltimore, MD

30 Sep

Trixies Palace is a cute little boutique that was located right next to Graphic Novelty (posted below by Will). This boutique was adorable and full of bright colors, vintage inspired clothing, cutesy girly gifts and accessories. The store really seemed to celebrate being a girl!

The girl working was super sweet and friendly. She talked with me for a bit while Will was shopping in the Comic store next door. The store was pretty small but was full of a ton of awesome accessories.I spotted some Hello Kitty merchandise on the shelves, and really liked some of the bags and shoes on display. I guess a lot of items in the store are brought back from the owners travels overseas which makes them all the more unique. Even the fitting room was so cute with doves decorating the wall!

Trixie’s Palace seems to offer reasonable prices. I really wanted to buy something but I had just spent all my extra money on the leather jacket in Cupcake, so I had to hold off. Although.. I couldn’t resist trying on a pair of the rhinestone and studded sunglasses displayed on the way out the door and they were only $10! I will definitely be checking out their website around the holidays for cute gift ideas for my girlfriends.

Trixies Palace

1704 Thames St

Baltimore, MD 21231

http://www.trixiespalace.com

Graphic Novelty – Baltimore, MD

28 Sep

While Nik and I were in Baltimore we only had a couple of hours to kill, so we headed to south Broadway in the trendy Fells point neighborhood. This is a perfect example of the spots we look for when we’re on the road, cute little parts of town we can both get into, with taverns, boutiques, and yes…comic books. We had a nice breakfast at Jimmy’s, then we found cupcake boutique (check out Nik’s post). Graphic Novelty was conveniently located right around the corner.

Graphic Novelty is a newer shop (just under two years old), right away walking in you notice how modern the store looks. All the fixtures were custom-made for the store, and they look great! It’s a small space, but they do a good job utilizing what little room they have to work with, there’s something to be seen in every nook and cranny. Due to the limited room they don’t carry back issues, but they have a great selection of current books, both mainstream, and independent to choose from, as well as a nice size selection of graphic novels and manga. As I said earlier, the store is packed with novelty items like gag gifts, small Japanese model kits, and toys. I was also glad to see they had a pretty robust selection of t-shirts (I have what you might call a sickness when it comes to t-shirts). At the back of the store was a small room used for R.P.G.’s, which they host games in regularly. I also thought it was cool that they were playing Iron Man on a big screen tv, it just kinda added to the ambiance.

I think it’s great to see new comic shops thriving in today’s shaky economy. Graphic Novelty is a perfect example of what a small neighborhood comic shop should be, So don’t forget to stop by and show them some love if you find yourself in the Baltimore area.

Graphic Novelty

1712 Thames St.

Baltimore, MD 21231

http://www.Graphic-Novelty.com

Click here for more photos! http://www.flickr.com/photos/boutiquesngeeks/