The Thing is purple and Silver Surfer is blue
I've been buying comics at LCS for about 35 years now. It seems like in Las Vegas, comics shops are thriving, and that makes me happy. When I was a kid and lived in Northern California, I think there was only one in the entire (densely populated) county.
The only shop I could get to without driving 25 miles was run by an Italian man who never seemed to really like comics. He only saw it as a business I believe. He never talked about books, characters, artists, etc. There was never anybody in his stores most times, and I wondered how he stayed in business. He even had 2 locations at one time. To my 8-years-young eyes, it just seemed like he had the greatest job in the world, and it brought him no joy.
Later on when I could travel, I found shops in Berkeley, Oakland, SF and the peninsula. Most of them were either combo bookstore/comic shop, or college-type with a more mature slant. I only found two they I really enjoyed: a touristy-shop at Pier 39, which seemed to have an awesome back issue selection, and high prices; and a hole in the wall in Burlingame that was run by a guy who always seemed to be on the brink of financial ruin.
When I graduated unto adulthood (about 20 minutes ago), I found Flying Colors in Concord, CA. It is run by a true legend in the LCS world: Joe Field. Even though his shop was on the small side, it packed something for everyone. It didn't cater just to college kids, juveniles, or children; it had something for all. And you know what? The store was always busy. I think he was the first LCS owner I ever met who knew that you should treat every customer like a friend, always be helpful, and sell comics at a fair price.
Now in Vegas I see a many stores following the same path, and with much success. The 3-store Maximum Comics chain is truly amazing. The owner Jay does some crazy things in the name of promotion, and does it tirelessly. (Seriously, I think he's a robot or something; how does he do it?) Last week he made a Facebook post telling the world that all "long wall" comics were $1 that day. That means all recent issues that would normally still sell at cover price, except comics released this week. ONE DOLLAR EACH! Between the 2 stores I bought about 90 issues. I filled in gaps. I bought whole runs. I picked up a lot of new things I'd never heard of. It was crazy. Indeed, Freaky Friday as he called it.
Jay's shops do a lot of everything. Big gaming, big comics, big toys. One of his stores has a life-sized Silver Surfer (with board) right on top of the back issue bins. It's majestic. One of his stores currently has the full run of Walking Dead for sale (or did as of last week). His staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. This guy is building a comics empire, in one of the most economically depressed cities in the U.S., and he's making it look easy.
Anyway, I want to say thanks to all comics shop operators out there. Now I may not buy all my comics from you, but don't worry about that; you'll still get plenty of my money.
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In the UK there is only one chain of comic book stores and they don't even carry a selection of back issues.
Most of the comic book stores here in the UK are small independent stores doted here and there sometimes hundreds of miles apart and most of these independent stores have very limited stock.
Most of the comic sales from the UK must be Mail order or internet buys.