Books With Pictures has just been named the best comic book store in the world.
Yes the *world*.
We reported that the store was nominated for the Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award and at that time, owner Katie Pryde was heading to San Diego Comic Con to see if the store had won.
Well its done.
“It’s hugely empowering and kind of weird,” Pryde said. She said she spent a lot of time dealing with her impostor syndrome. “I feel good in the store. I feel good with the staff. I feel good in our inventory. The big question for me was, “Do I count as a comic book store for the purposes of this award?” because we are such a non-traditional store.
When Pryde says non-traditional, she means her store strives to make the space inclusive. Not just a little inclusive, but an entire section dedicated to LGBTQIA+ characters and creators in stories, BIPOC-centric displays, and outdoor event space to make sure immunocompromised people feel safe to attend in these times. of pandemic.
Pryde believes comics are for everyone and having an inclusive inventory and space is part of that mission.
“I come from the perspective that there’s something in comics for anyone who’s curious about reading comics,” she said. “There’s this kind of old-school point of view from a certain group of, uh, guys, that they really want their girlfriends to like comics or they want to convince them to like comics . And I really feel like what’s here speaks for itself. You don’t have to do a lot of persuasion and cajoling. If anyone is curious and interested, let them in and let -find what interests him.
For many decades, comic books have been a white male-dominated medium in both the creator and retail space.
Pryde acknowledges that some traditional comic book stores that aren’t focused on inclusivity can be a daunting space. She told a story about her friend who is now an industry professional, but used to steal comic books.
“The reason she was shoplifting comic books was not because she was broke, she had money, but because the first time she went to her comic book store to buy a comic, she put it on the counter and the salesman said something mean about her book,” Pryde recalled. “It was just more appealing to imagine the police calling her parents because she was caught stealing, than it was for her delicate teenage soul to go buy a book and asking someone to make a sarcastic comment.”
And Pryde said that before she was an industry professional, she always worried that the books she brought to the counter would tell the employee something about herself. She was afraid of making the wrong choice of books.
Books With Pictures, and Pryde herself, provide a judgment-free zone for people to purchase books and comics from “X-Men” to “Genderqueer.”
Pryde’s latest recommendation is James Spooner’s autobiographical graphic novel “High Desert.” But if you’re looking for something to read, the store employees are happy to help or you can visit the shelves around the store which have personalized recommendations from many staff members.
“Nobody needs to be cool here. We’re all weirdos.