Nearly one year ago, Oxford resident Seth Buck anxiously waited outside the locked door of a small storefront off of Jackson Avenue. Today was the day.
It was almost 9 a.m., and at the turn of the hour, Bad Eddy’s Hobbies and Collectibles, a comics and gaming store, opened its doors to the public for the very first time. He was their first customer.
A lifetime fan of the renowned card game, “Magic: The Gathering,” Buck never had a place in Oxford to test his mettle against other players.
“What makes this store way better than other stores is there’s a real sense of community here,” Buck said. “Everybody knows each other, and it’s fun to just show up here and waste six hours just chilling with everybody else.”
From “Yu-Gi-Oh!” to “Star Wars,” and Xbox and PlayStation, Bad Eddy’s caters to fans of gaming and comic culture.
Founded by Kent Eddy and Andrew Glasgow, the store boasts a variety of comics, movies, figurines and manga, or Japanese graphic novels. Bad Eddy’s is also a cultural hub where gamers and “nerds” of all types can feel comfortable.
The duo previously worked together at Collegiate Security, a business Eddy owns. Bound by a mutual love of comics and gaming, they decided to take a chance on pursuing their passion: opening a comic store.
Eddy found his love for comics at an early age. While his father worked at K&B Pharmacy in Hattiesburg, Eddy thumbed through the store’s comic book section.
“(K&B Pharmacy) had a little magazine area that had a comic book rack,” Eddy said. “When I’d go there with him while he was working and whatnot, I would just read comics.”
He’s a fan of detective comics, such as DC’s “Batman,” and loves to crack open an edition of Marvel’s “Uncanny X-Men.”
Around 15% of the store’s original merchandise was from his personal collection. To beef up his inventory, Eddy traveled around the United States looking for special items to stock his shelves.
One of the main issues he noticed throughout the country was the lack of variety he encountered at comic stores.
“The main thing is (other stores) had certain comics, or were just dealing with card games or just dealing with board games. They didn’t have it all together in one,” Eddy said.
Bad Eddy’s tries to incorporate as much content under one roof as they can.
This was why first-time customer Daniel Ibarra decided to stop by Bad Eddy’s for a visit.
Ibarra, the assistant director of facility operations at the University of Mississippi, moved from the University of Texas at Dallas and became a fan of anime and comic books when his students introduced them to him a few years ago.
“I’m a big ‘Gundam’ fan,” Ibarra said. “Ever since I was a kid, I watched some of the different series that came on, and now, with Hulu and Netflix having them also, I watch through there.”
Ibarra was in the store Monday looking for a place to buy some knick-knacks for his on-campus office. He was examining “Gundam” figurines, which are characters from a fictional universe of giant robots.
Bad Eddy’s gave Ibarra an opportunity to look at these items before he purchased them, which can sometimes be difficult, as some are quite rare or difficult to get.
“When I got introduced to ‘Gundam’ in 1990, at the time, a lot of that stuff you had to know someone who actually knew someone in Japan to order the models and get them sent over here,” Eddy said.
Shopping in a brick-and-mortar store also struck a nostalgic chord with Ibarra.
“It brings back memories for folks,” Ibarra said. “That’s, for me, who grew up on ‘Gundam’ and ‘Pokémon’ and ‘Digimon,’ all those mainstream ones on the TV, to see now as a 27-year-old, it’s like, finally, I can relive my childhood through those figurines, posters and whatnot.”
In addition to hands-on access to figurines and memorabilia, visitors can connect with other players who can take part in the fun right there in the store.
The store offers a membership with varying price plans, and upon joining, members receive a key fob that grants 24-hour access to a members’ area with 1-gigabyte internet speed, private gaming rooms with couches and flat screen TVs, gaming tables, a restroom and a vending machine.
Non-members can gain access to these amenities for the day for $5, as well as rent out tables for playing games throughout the store.
In addition, Bad Eddy’s hosts a game night every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at the Blind Pig Pub and Deli on the Square, offering a variety of board games and video games, including the popular “Super Smash Bros.”
Bad Eddy’s has subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu, as well as various other streaming services, and is going to purchase a Disney+ subscription when the service rolls out on Nov. 12. The new streaming service will include access to exclusive “Star Wars” and Marvel films and shows.
Eddy said that Disney Marvel’s films, which began with the 2008 film “Iron Man,” started a revival of comic culture and created a new generation of comic book fans. He said that parents have been bringing their kids in, too.
“Each generation, you know, they have to get introduced to it,” Eddy said “And what better way is there to have something new introduced to them than turning around and looking at the old stuff?”