I have been in a lot of comic book shops in my life.
I will be honest, when I first heard a year ago about a new comic book shop opening in south Florida, I thought “more of the same” but did not know much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, that “more of the same” is something I love and has equated to untold hours leaning over long boxes hunting like Indiana Jones for the comic book version of the Golden Idol. While I have never had to outrun a giant boulder to get to the register, I have had to dust off mylar and polypropylene, slide out boxes from the nether regions of folding tables for better lighting and rearrange boxes and comic book stacks like a Tetris champion due to lack of space. This archetypal shop is a construct, an assumption that we’ve all made that this is how comic book shops need to be.
Lauderdale Comics has taken this paradigm, this very familiar model and turned it on it’s head.
When I first walked in to Lauderdale Comics on May 23rd – opening day – I was literally met with a breath of fresh air. I was greeted with two thousand square feet of light and space. The carefully curated merchandise adorning the clean, white shelving create an atmosphere of a high-end boutique-style comic book and nerd emporium. Despite the light, open atmosphere, the space is most certainly not light on merchandise. The comic books are meticulously stacked and organized. The beautiful assortment of Funko Pop! and Kotobukiya and DC Collectibles stand proud on glass shelving around the shop, elegantly poised, ready for that discerning eye to pass buy and bring it home. From the Gotham City Garage statue of Catwoman on a motorcycle to the Kotobukiya Bishoujo Wasp statue whose wings sparkle and gleam in the brightly lit room and the metallic glint off of the C-3PO And R2-D2 statues by ArtFX, everything feels like it is placed with purpose. Pokemon, YuGiOh, graphic novels, snacks, drinks, clothing and accessories are all available.
The high-end evocation of the premium statues coupled with the modern, industrial look and feel of the space as a whole come together to create a unique, fresh take on the idea of a comic book shop. The industrial look gives the space its requisite cool-factor while the openness and lighting provide balance with a warm and inviting feel. The space draws you in physically; it’s a place that you want to walk in to and spend time. This is exactly what Stacey Giulianti – the owner of Lauderdale Comics – wants, to create a space “where customers are encouraged to hang out, debate the latest issues in the world of comics, read a new graphic novel or play D&D with their buddies.” To further encourage this, a Boba Tea and coffee bar will soon be added to compliment the selection of Japanese snacks that you can take to any of the lounge areas to hang out and read and socialize.
Mural by Derek Garcia
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Stacey to talk about his new shop.
On a sunny Sunday morning this past weekend, I sat down with Stacey at his shop, in comfortable rouge lounge seating and against a fantastic backdrop, a mural created by local Miami artist Derek Garcia of the shop’s mascot Lauderdale Man. I wanted to find out how and why. Why this shop, why his store, how did he arrive here at this point and how would he carry his shop and his vision forward. I found out the answers to all of these questions and more. I learned of his nerd bona fides, his passion and I learned that he truly cares. The welcoming openness of the design layout carries over to him and his staff. Watch the video below on the JLS Comics YouTube page.
I learned of the great variety of merchandise at Lauderdale comics but whatever your interest, whatever you decide to purchase, I also learned you will walk out of here with new friends.