These days, Hollywood superheroes seem to have lost their footing. (See: DC Extended Universe, Universal’s Dark Universe, and Sony’s many failed attempts to create their own Marvel-style franchise.) In fact, Disney’s Marvel Studios is the lone entity to successfully create a cohesive narrative with its Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meanwhile, original source materials like comic books and graphic novels have held onto their storytelling superpowers. Comic book fans old and new are reacquainting themselves with the overlooked medium. Lucky for them, North Texas has plenty of comic book stores, many specializing in a specific aspect – independent comics, superhero titles, toys, or collectibles like busts and t-shirts – making for a rich and diverse community.
Allow us to introduce you to five of our favorite shops in the area. We hope you visit each to discover the rich comic culture in North Texas that’s evolved beyond just a boys’ club, but one open to everyone, regardless of gender, race, or class.
Red Pegasus Comics
319 N. Bishop Ave. Dallas 75208
What makes it special: Intellectual yet unpretentious staff that can guide you through the best independent titles highlighting queer, WOC, and culturally important voices in comic writing and art.
This Bishop Arts staple provides an inclusive and dynamic independent comic selection to Oak Cliff, a predominantly Hispanic community battling gentrification. Co-owners and partners, Gabriel Mendez and Kenneth Denson provide customers with an experience which goes beyond a stellar comic selection. Recently, they’ve hosted the re-launch party for horror magazine Fangoria, writer signings with queer creatives like Sina Grace (Iceman), a podcast titled Pages & Panels, and the best book club in the city.
At the last book club meeting, the group huddled together around Denson’s cellphone inside the shop, after burgers, shakes, and comic talk at Hunky’s next door. The book of the month was Snagglepuss, a political comic on what it means to be a free in our political, creative, and romantic identities, through the eyes of Hanna Barbera’s big gay pink cat. Denson held the phone while the comic’s writer, Mark Russell did a Q&A with readers of all ages, bonding with Russell’s pink feline playwright over the wants and needs of a lonely heart.
5400 E. Mockingbird Ave. Dallas 75206
What makes it special: A comic book chat with employee Michael Johnson Curry is worth the drive alone for his sense of humor, deep knowledge of comics, and riffs on contemporary pop culture.
Dallas’ quintessential comic shop (open since 1989), the store provides a sensory experience upon walking in. A YouTube channel dedicated to niched comic publishing news plays in the background, as guests peruse a solid selection of independent, Marvel, and DC comic titles, Star Wars collectibles, and discontinued action figures. Co-owner Keith Colvin knows how to staff his five shops, with the Mockingbird location being the hub for the best conversations (both had and overheard). They also have a ladies-only book club where artist Brianne Haddox hosts discussions on gender studies and philosophy around titles like Mariko Tamaki’s Supergirl Being Super or the black queer graphic novel, Bingo Love by Jenn St-Onge and Tee Franklin. The discussion night is always accompanied by snacks and beer.
101 W. Camp Wisdom Rd. Dallas 75116
What makes it special: Exceptionally curated array of action figures ranging from the hard-to-find, to out-of-the box loose figures, and accessories for collectors looking to complete a figure or set.
Don’t let the bland name fool you, this comic and toy shop is worth the trek to the Duncanville suburbs to pursue the shop’s wide breath of comic collectibles. Duncanville Bookstore serves a young African-American and Latino community which rarely has access to comics outside of a trip downtown, making this a crucial hub for South Dallas creatives and their families. Collectors flock to this shop for rare figure variations and molds, completing their Fantastic Four or Avengers team with retired versions of each character. The store also has a dense supply of Marvel and DC trades, providing all the essential storylines like Marvel’s Civil War, The Ultimates, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther series that provided the source material for the MCU narratives we know and love.
Zeus Comics and Collectibles
1334 Inwood Rd. Dallas 75247
What makes it special: Largest selection of new single issue titles, LGBT friendly staff.
Zeus is a clean, well-organized store that is thoughtful with its selection of titles. It’s one of few stores to provide a comprehensive back issue selection for those missing a key issue for their favorite Marvel or DC collections.
Owner Richard Neal has created an inclusive and warm environment in his shop over the past 18 years. Zeus hosts the monthly female book club, Birds of Prey, which meets over comics the first Wednesday of every month. The space has become a home to many LGBT comic readers, and regularly throws LGBT mixers. The shop also boasts the best sale in the region twice a year (usually around the store’s birthday in July, and at the end of the year when clearing inventory), when they offer 40% off all their back issues, toys, statues, and most importantly, trades (which is almost unheard of at any other comic shop).
Cosmic Comics and Cards
728 E. Marshall Dr. Grand Prairie 75051
What makes it special: A no-frills comic shop with exceptional customer service, owned and operated by the Rubino family for decades. Also, one of the hottest Magic the Gathering tournaments in North Texas.
Before the recent resurgence of comic book interest, the little shop in Grand Prairie survived the ebbs and flows of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The phenomenon of Pokemon cards, The Death of Superman, the rise and fall of sports trading cards – owner Mike Rubino has seen it all. The single friendliest comic book guy in the state, Rubino provides great customer service to comic book readers of all levels, helping customers find the perfect card, comic, or collectible.
The shop has also been a major hub for Magic the Gathering tournaments since the 90’s. In a city with some of the worst police traps and recently voted the “Least Hipster City in America”, Cosmic Comics and Cards stands as an oasis in the culture desert, providing prose and art to generations over the years.