What’s that in the sky? Is that Superman? Charizard? Harley Quinn?
It’s all three. Each of these characters is featured on the sign of Oxford’s first comic and collectible shop, Bad Eddy’s.
The shop, which is set to open on West Jackson Avenue later in October, is the creative collaboration of Kent Eddy and Andrew Glasgow. While the front part of the store will be dedicated to comics, manga and action figures, the back half will have rooms in which members can play card and video games and build robots.
“We want to be the home of nerdism,” Eddy said.
The two friends decided to start the business while working for Eddy’s security service, Collegiate Security. Both Eddy and Glasgow came to Oxford to attend college but were disappointed to find that there was not a place to enjoy comics.
“We were sitting there one night on a security shift and were like, ‘This place needs something more,’” Glasgow said.
The two are also lifelong manga and anime fans, and Eddy enjoys building models of giant robots. By bringing their hobby shop to Oxford, Eddy and Glasgow hope to unite people in the community with interests like these.
“If you have a nerdy bone in your body, we want you to feel comfortable here, hanging out with people that are like you,” Glasgow said. “I have had people come (by) the store (that are) between 12 (and) 40 years old. I do not think people in Oxford realize how mainstream (comic fans) are.”
Currently, few local businesses sell graphic novels or comics. Square Books Jr. sells some children’s varieties of graphic novels, and Off Square Books sells only used comic books. Bad Eddy’s will be the first shop in town to sell both.
“I think it would be great to have a comic shop in town,” said Sami Thomason, a Square Books Jr. employee.
The shop will include areas for customers to browse comics and manga. The comics brands offered will include Marvel, DC and Image. The manga selection will include popular genres such as school life, romantic comedy and action.
A variety of action figures and toys will also be sold in the store. Customers can come to workshops, which will be hosted twice a month, to learn how to build the types of models sold in the store.
“We thought it would be a good thing because a lot of people who go to school here live in dorms and do not have room to build (the models),” Eddy said. “They can rent a section here, buy a model, build the model and take it back with them.”
The shop will provide extra perks for customers who become members. Members will receive key cards that will allow them to access the back half of the store any time they want. Rooms will be available for them to play cards, board games and video games.
“If you get done with your studies at two o’clock in the morning and you are wired on caffeine, you can come over here and play some games with your friends,” Glasgow said.
For students and faculty at the University of Mississippi, the new comic shop will provide more opportunities to enjoy comics, hands-on. According to journalism professor Samir Husni, having a brick-and-mortar store that allows customers to read the comics will provide students with more enjoyment than browsing online.
“Any time an opportunity opens itself for folks to browse and touch and feel, it sends a better signal for the value (of an item) you buy, ” Husni said. “If ink and paper is good for Superman, then it is good for (me).”
Journalism graduate student Jacquelyn Lawton, who is currently working on a project involving a comic book delivery service, also agreed that a brick-and-mortar comic shop is convenient for collectors.
“A collector is wary to buy online because of the fear of items being ruined in shipping,” Lawton said. “I think … a comic shop will be a great place for people to meet one another and hang out.”
Glasgow said the retail part of the shop will be opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, but that members will be able to use the back half of the shop at all hours.
“We want people to feel comfortable saying that this is what they like doing,” Eddy said. “We want to connect everyone and to tell them they are not alone in their hobbies.”