Two weeks ago, 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!
One thing I forgot to mention in my last post was that finding a parking spot in LA was a constant problem. At Meltdown, we were lucky enough to find a place on the street. At Secret Headquarters, we were having no such luck. However, Tacos Delta, a local favorite across the street, had a few open parking spots. So we parked, ordered some food at the window (try their horchata–it’s made with magic!), and asked them if it would be all right if we stayed parked there for a bit while we checked out Secret Headquarters. They were totally cool with it.
I was expecting more of a lair when we arrived at Secret Headquarters. Instead, it’s a quaint little storefront with olde-timey lettering on the window. If you’re not careful, you’ll walk into the record store next door. It had a different vibe than some other comic shops; it felt like the kind of place that would’ve been at home in Portland or Brooklyn. But, as I discovered later, we were in the hip part of town.
Sure, the shop was small, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a great selection. All of the mainstays were there, and again, since it was Tuesday evening, they were starting to shelve the new comics for Wednesday. They also had a number of small, independent books and zines that gave me plenty to browse through.
As is my custom, I pulled up a picture of Bluewater Productions’ comic, J.R.R Tolkien: The True Lord of the Rings, on my phone because I am determined to one day get my hands on a copy! The man at the shop looked it up for me, but without luck. However, knowing that I liked Tolkien, the woman (I’m kicking myself that I forgot to get their names) suggested the Mouse Guard series by David Petersen, which is a series I had been considering sinking my teeth into. It was great that she was able to pinpoint me so precisely. Just like my last LA comic book shop experience, I was never made to feel like a lesser nerd because I didn’t have an advanced degree in Wolverine studies. It seemed to me that shop employees were always excited to try to find me what I was looking for or make a recommendation for something I would love.
Before we left, we noticed a bowl on the checkout counter where you could drop your suggestions for the name of the Secret Headquarters mascot. For years, there had been a stuffed raccoon up on one of the shelves in the store, and eventually it turned into their official mascot! Whoever comes up with the best name for the old raccoon will win a $25 gift certificate. So here’s the deal: If the mascot ends up being named “Bandit,” you’ll know I won. If the raccoon ends up with the moniker “Speakeasy,” you’ll know hubby won. Since we’re from out-of-state, we’re going to have to forego the prize, but if by some chance we win and they send us a gift certificate, we promise to raffle it off here on The Travelling Geek Show!
Secret Headquarters was our last comic book shop for Tuesday, but we picked up the trail again the following day. You’ll be able to read about our trip to Golden Apple Comics in the next post in my LA Confidential series!