Last week, I traveled to Los Angeles, and though there are a ton of geeky things to do, my hubby and I decided to make comic book stores our particular emphasis on this trip. We did some research ahead of time, scrolling through many “Best of” lists naming comic shops in the Los Angeles area. We chose our top four, and had great success!
Our first stop was at Meltdown Comics on Sunset, because it was on pretty much every list we looked at. And of the four we visited, it was definitely the biggest and had the most going on. They had studios where several different podcasts are hosted (more on that later), they host comedians and panels, have book signings and classes–it’s an all around cool place and definitely worth the hype.
A number of the lists we looked at ahead of time rated comic shops by how snooty they were about their knowledge of comic minutiae. This is always a little bit of a concern for me, because I like what I like and I try to focus on those books so that I don’t let things get out of control. I have totally felt uncomfortable and out of place at certain shops before, and I have let that hold me back. Luckily, Meltdown was super chill and happy to help no matter what people were looking for.
Meltdown has comics, of course, by all of the publishers you would expect to see and plenty of more obscure ones. They also have an impressive array of action figures, toys, cards, games, apparel, and all kinds of collectibles. We went in on a Tuesday afternoon, and since Wednesday is new comic book day, employees were getting all the new books ready for display. And before you ask, no, they definitely won’t let you buy anything early.
I browsed–a lot–because there was just a ton of cool things to look at. There were some comics that I would never have found or even heard of if I hadn’t seen them on the shelves right in front of me. That’s one of the many awesome reasons to actually go into your local brick and mortar shop. Unfortunately, I was limited by budget and what I was going to be able to bring back home in my suitcase. I went back and forth on a lot of books, but eventually picked out two that I couldn’t live without (see photo above). I took pictures of everything I thought looked cool for future reference.
Meltdown also sells Loot Crate boxes, but even more interesting, they sell their own special take on them where they mix and match items from past Loot Crates. Hubby got one and we plan to do an unboxing video in near future. We’ll be sure to share it here on The Travelling Geek Show!
We headed up to the cash register with our items and talked with Francisco, one of the owners. I asked if he knew if Meltdown had a copy of the J.R.R. Tolkien autobiographical comic that came out in 2012 or if they had any other Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit memorabilia. I had only seen one Nazgul statue in the whole shop. Francisco said that he didn’t think they had anything else, and even if they did, it wouldn’t last long because TheOneRing.net records their podcast there, and those guys would certainly have snatched it up. In fact, he told us, they were recorded right then!
It all started to click. This was the place where TORn recorded their weekly podcast, TORn Tuesdays, and it was Tuesday. I started texting my fellow Middle-earth News reporters to tell them about this crazy coincidence. Meanwhile, my husband mentioned it to Francisco, and the next thing I knew, he had texted the guys during their podcast and they had invited me to join!
But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can watch the full podcast here; I make my appearance around the 58 minute mark.
Of course, our crazy Meltdown adventures don’t stop there. During the podcast, who should show up but Andy Dick? He was streaming via his Periscope app, and after making his way around the store, he came up to share a behind-the-scenes look at the podcast. When Cliff and I headed back downstairs, Andy was talking with Francisco, and eventually we were drawn into their conversation. Andy was nice enough to pose for this picture with us. Thanks to Francisco for snapping it!
Whew! I was riding high on my Meltdown Comics experience, but we weren’t done for the day. There’s another comic book shop just down the road on Sunset called Secret Headquarters, and we headed there next. You can read about it soon as part of my LA Confidential series!