Randy Myers might technically be in the business of selling books, but he says he doesn't fret the impact the Internet or e-readers is having on the business, recently opening his second Collector's Corner comic book shop in February in Harford County.
"People want to hold [comics] in their hand," Myers said. "It's the tactile nature of the comic book that gives it more of a chance at surviving the digital age. It's not just the words, but it's the illustrations."
The shop prides itself on its selection of popular titles, such as the widely known series-turned-hit-TV-show "The Walking Dead," the classic DC and Marvel Comics brands and small stapled comics from obscure indie brands such as Microcosm Publishing.
"It's about offering diversity," Myers said. "The indie comics won't sell as well, but not everyone wants to read about superheroes."
The shop also carries classic video gaming systems, comic-based apparel, action figures and toys based on popular characters.
The quaint Bel Air shop is about 700 square feet, about a quarter of the size of the main location in Parkville, which opened in 2001.
Myers, who grew up in Baltimore, says he believes his move to Bel Air was a good idea with the increase in people adopting a local shopping mindset.
First-time visitors Joshua Rozmiarek, 10, of Bel Air and his stepdad, James Gault, 51, were roaming around the store recently, picking up "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Avengers" comics.
"My library teacher gave us a flier about Free Comic Book Day, and I wanted to see if it was open before time and it was," Joshua says.
Joshua said he's not a big reader, although his mom, a schoolteacher, makes him read a few nights a week. He said he likes the speech bubbles in comics because it makes him feel as if he is reading less.
Collector's Corner isn't just a place for the boys. Following suit with the Parkville location, the Bel Air location will start holding its Girls Only Comics Club for newbie and veteran female graphic novel readers the second Sunday in May.
Amanda Tress, 29, of Bel Air has been reading comics for over two years but first got into superheroes watching "The Justice League" on Cartoon Network.
"The comics have an art style I really like, and I really like the twists and turns," Tress says. She says reading comics gives her a "freedom to believe in something" regardless of what society shows.
17 N. Main St., Bel Air