When a comic book publisher has a “crisis on infinite earths,” maybe it’s a sign there are just way too many comics out there. Stocking them all is a Herculean task and enough to give any comic shop a meltdown, which is why when looking for comics outside the mainstream, the intrepid collector may have to venture to some out-of-the-way places. Even places as exotic and far-flung as Eagle Rock and Burbank.
Guarded by life-size statues of Batman and Spider-Man, Another World Comics carries a varied selection of old and new comics, toys and video games. Here you’re likely to discover a hidden gem stashed away between such curios as back issues of fright magazine Eerie and DC’s out-of-print Watchmen role-playing game. Diverse as the collection in this timeless crypt is, what you can’t find here is likely to be found in the shop’s warehouse.
Some comic shops are more like museums. A curator decides which artists to stock, there are some very expensive pictures hanging from the walls .?.?. and I’m afraid to touch anything. When I mentioned this to the clerk at Burbank’s stylish House of Secrets, she told me to, by all means, touch. Boasting not only the latest and most popular titles, which draw in comic book collectors from nearby NBC Studios and Disney, House of Secrets gets points for its gorgeous collection of Art Deco and noir pin-up girls. This is a museum where you can walk out actually owning one of the pieces. Cast off those safe-bet collectibles like prebagged Spawn No. 1’s, and forget the artifice of multiple covers for each issue. Instead dig for that lost, underappreciated comic. There are still rare treats out there to be found from before the dark age of comics when collectors' items became commodities.
Another World Comics 1615 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 257-7757 or www.anotherworldcomics.com
House of Secrets 1930 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, ?(818) 562-1900