I have confessed previously of my belief that Gosh! is the greatest comic book shop in the world. However, on a recent visit to Brighton, I finally visited a comic book shop that is a close second. And not just because it has my name in the title.
Dave’s Comics is a shop so good it needs two separate shops, even if they are only separated by a small shop in between. According to the website, they are technically two separate shops: Dave’s Comics and Dave’s Books, although I will consider them one shop separated by a location. The shop(s) is(are) located in The Lanes, an area in Brighton full of narrow streets and a wonderfully diverse selection of shops and eateries, where you can spend hours and not see all it has to offer, so Dave’s Comics fits right in.
The shop on the right as you look from the other side of the street, located at 5 Sydney Street, is Dave’s Comics proper, so I’ll talk about that first. Downstairs is full of graphic novels and trade paperbacks in the most eclectic and complete range I’ve ever seen. Political/historical/humour books are on the right as you enter; on the left side are the independent publishers. At the left rear of the shop, the collection is dedicated to a ‘creator spotlight’ of writers such as Ellis, Moore, Morrison, Remender, Vaughan, before turning into an alphabetical collection of everything else, plus a small room dedicated to manga. At the right rear of the shop are the TV/film-related books (Star Wars, The Walking Dead, Alien, etc.), completing the fabulous range of books. Upstairs is the new comics and new trade paperbacks, predominantly the superhero stuff, dedicated to the Wednesday regular, with all the posters along the narrow aisle from the stairs being DC or Marvel. Again, the books are well stocked and well ordered, so it’s a joy to peruse the stock (unlike some places I could mention).
The shop at 3 Sydney Street has the words ‘BOOKS’ and ‘COMICS’ on the front, but this shop contains the merchandise on the ground floor. There are board games, card games and lots of stuff I didn’t recognise because my geekery is fairly focused; there was merchandise for more recognisable names as well, such as Games of Thrones and Star Wars, because the owners obviously know what they’re doing. At the back on the right, you can find the superhero statues; at the back on the left, you can find cheap trades and old books such as Star Wars comics and Commandos. When you go upstairs, the two rooms are devoted to back issues of comic books: three layers of comic book boxes around the walls and in the central aisle of each room, plus the walls are covered with specific issues. I’ve seen bigger back issue rooms, but it’s impressive what they’ve done with such a relatively small space and they cover a wide range.
The shop was full of a variety of people, from hardcore fans to casual punters, families with young children, and Brighton natives in all their eclectic splendour. It was a heart-warming scene to see so many different people, buying books, talking about their purchases with their friends and enjoying themselves, as well as buying lots. Dave’s Comics deserves its reputation and it deserves to continue to do well with such an excellent demonstration of the business of selling comic books. If I lived in Brighton, I might have to reconsider my opinion from the first line of this blog …