One of the local bookshops in downtown Austin is a small corner store known as Austin Books and Comics. I would always see its location pinpointed on Google Maps whenever I was looking for something to do while I was downtown, something I normally am not. So, when I was down close to it, I decided to go inside and see the store for myself.
The difference; I brought a friend along for the journey.
I was already out with this friend, helping him shop for shoes since it’s starting to become Autumn down here. He had already been in the shop a few times and warned me beforehand that it was mostly comics. It did have other things like graphic novels and mangas and figurines, but as the name stated, it capitalizes on comics more than anything.
In regards to comics, I have never been a big fan of them. I have a lot of friends that are, so I’ve always heard the general story and multiple discussions about comics and just how deep and enriching they are. But as for myself, I was and still am interested more in mangas than comics. As my friend said, I “like something with a bit of weight to it.”
So, naturally, stepping into the place I gravitated immediately to their manga section. Of course, who can blame me? It was right by the door. Most bookstores tuck their manga section away in corners, but this one was right in sight as I walked in.
The selection they had with manga was definitely more impressive than most general bookstores that I walk into. They even had ones that were wrapped up, to display its “adult advisory” content. Pretty sure I wouldn’t get that kind of content at a Barnes and Noble.
Further along, my friend gave me an impromptu tour of the shop, trying to find what could possibly interest me. He even enlisted the help of one of the workers, who directed us to a shelf designed for newbies like me. She was incredibly friendly and informative, just like one would hope when it came to customer service. She led me to two graphic novels that piqued my interest, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan Fiona Staples, and Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda. Saga got recommended by both the worker and my friend (and a random passerby even). Monstress got me interested because the art style was so detailed and dark, just like the story itself was.
The last thing I ended up buying was a big graphic novel that I had an interest in for a good year but didn’t actually buy it until then, and that was Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Nathan Fairbairn. It was definitely the thickest and more expensive of the three that I ended up buying. But oh so worth it.
Overall, this is one of the coolest bookshops in downtown Austin. A welcoming atmosphere, friendly customer service, and comic books. It’s definitely some place I would recommend to a comic loving friend.
Would I return to this bookshop on my own, though?
Well, yeah. I finished the two small ones in one day. There are many volumes to Saga, I know that much. I need to read more and find out what happens. I will return to the shop and hope the experience is just as great alone as with a friend.