Thursday, December 29, 2016

Comics Return to Maui

So, I recently learned some Hawaii factoids: there are nine comics shops on Oahu, three on the Big Island, and just one on Maui. That shop used to be Compleat Comics, which I visited in its temporary digs in 2007 shortly before it closed for good. But after almost ten years of no comic shop on the island, a new Maui institution has arisen in its place:   

Maui Comics and Collectibles fills a small storefront in the same open-air mall that the Compleat Comics stall was in; I spent some time there on the way back to the Kahalui Airport at the end of my recent trip.

The storefront is a bit unassuming  - it's difficult to see the posters and such because the windows are tinted.

(If you were to print out this panorama and wrap it into a ring, you could get a VR scene of the store: essentially one small room that effectively maximizes the display space. )

The space is very welcoming despite its size: Maui Comics is one of the most fun shops I have been in. It has a large selection of new titles and a surprisingly extensive range of back issues. My particular interest lay in the local Hawaiian comics scene - I had read some articles about good homegrown stuff coming out of the islands. I had a great conversation with the young man running the shop, who filled me in on the latest news, recommended a few titles, and commiserated with me that back issues were not available because of the short print runs. I wound up taking home issue #3 of 'Aumakua and issue #1 of Native Sons (about which more in a future post).

And this is perhaps the most appealing aspect of Maui Comics: it's clear from the staff and the time they spend with the customers, from the store itself, and from its social media presence that Maui Comics exists not just make money or even fill a niche, but to promote and foster the love of comics on the island.

The in-store materials reflect this, with a mixture of standard industry posters and pieces by and about local artists on the walls:

The store was also the impetus behind Maui's first-ever Comic Con - which I missed by about eight weeks!

All in all, I can't say enough good things about Maui Comics and Collectibles. If you make a trip to the island, be sure to include a stop here on your itinerary. It's well worth it.

Oh, and there's this: I visited Maui Comics and Collectibles two years to the day after I made my visit to see Mike Sterling at Sterling Silver Comics in California. How comic-bookally coincidental!