Tuesday, June 26, 2007


LCS is an internet-usage abbreviation for Local Comic Shop. My LCS is Buy Me Toys.com and it's located in Mishawaka, Indiana. I've known the owners, Casey and Kelly Heying, since they were quite literally kids. I used to sell Magic: The Gathering and Star Trek: The Customizable Card Game cards as well as action figures at trade shows and in malls on weekends and quite often, I'd see them at some of the same shows. Their business was called "Shadow of the Bat" at the time, and they grew big enough with their mail-order sales of action figures to open their own storefront in Mishawaka's 100 Center. Later, they moved to the late, lamented Scottsdale Mall, where they opened Buy Me Toys. I thought it was funny that their store had the same name as the fictional toy store in Kevin Smith's "Mallrats," but they assure me that it's just coincidence. It would have been funnier had it been deliberate. Despite the store's name, they also sell comic books and a lot of them.

It's nice to have an LCS because it gives me a place to hang out and talk about comic books with people who have similar interests. It serves as a base of operations for local comic book creators and people who generally enjoy the medium as I do. The odd thing about it, though, is that sometimes the place makes me feel...well, old. Casey and Kelly are considerably younger than I am and when I reference some obscure Batman story from the 1970s I sometimes get blank looks. Comic book fans are funny that way; there is an expected knowledge base of comic book history that comes with being a comic book fan, and woe be to anyone who exhibits the slightest ignorance. If you've seen "the Comic Book Guy" on the Simpsons, you get a slightly exaggerated idea of what many comic book fans are like. I have to laughingly forgive some of their knowledge lapses because of their youth, but it does make me feel old.

Our LCS is well-stocked and the service is very good. They are leaders in sales of action figures, and they have a pull-list service for new comics. The pull-list service probably could use some work, but they are just two people operating the store so on the occasion that I miss a comic on my list, I don't get too upset. They also tend to know their customers' reading habits and make good recommendations to enhance their reading pleasure. That's a good move and a big plus in my book.

The most fun thing to do now is to take Sera to the comic book store. Casey and Kelly had their third child while we were in China, so they appreciate little children too. I'm still picking out which titles to get for Sera when it's reading time. I have a few favorites, and they have shared their daughters' personal favorites as well. I hope there are more options soon.

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