Have you ever tried to take a comic? At Nostalgia Collectibles, customers are immersed in all kinds of visually stunning comic book covers. Iconic characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman and the X-Men line the shelves as one searches for something to read. The space has a nostalgic past with brick walls and wooden floors suggesting that there have been generations of comic book fans who have passed through here. The store also sells collectibles such as Magic: The Gathering trading cards, minted superhero action figures, and rare statues such as the “Egyptian Queen” painted gold and blue by the artist. science fiction Frank Frazetta.
Carrie Braun, sales assistant at Nostalgia Collectibles, has worked for the store for more than 30 years. Braun said the current location has been operating for four years. Although Nostalgia has been in operation since 1987, their former storefront which merged with Nostalgia a few years ago, Emerald City, opened in the early 1970s. Braun said their business is the oldest comic book store from Oregon.
Loyal customers from all over the country come to Eugene to purchase the store’s unique items, Braun said. Nostalgia has a box subscription program for customers who request that items be saved in the slot files behind the cash desk. If a customer can’t find something in the store, they can ask Braun and other employees for help and have them look around the back. Their back room is an endless room of genre-categorized graphics stacked to the ceiling.
“We have a good niche of people who come to Eugene, like our box subscribers,” Braun said. “They come once a week, sometimes once a month to pick up the comics. They also buy graphic novels and toys. There’s a guy who comes down from New York about once a year just to come see if there are any retro editions.”
Comics were historically an accessible and easily produced medium for children, Braun said. In the golden and silver age of comics from 1938 to 1970, comics were not taken seriously as a form of adult entertainment. Children would simply throw away their stories or recycle them for the war effort during World War II, Braun said. Comics that have survived from this period are considered rare because the majority of them were destroyed or in poor condition.
“At first, comics were for kids and weren’t really considered adult entertainment,” Braun said. “Kids would fold them in half, write their names on them, or throw them everywhere. So when you can find one of these other comics in good condition, that’s why they cost over a million dollars.
Braun suffers from memory loss from multiple sclerosis and finds that images from comics or graphic novels “stick with you longer than words will”. She thinks people with reading problems like dyslexia need other ways to understand language.
There’s a comic for everyone, from Braun’s favorite fantasy series Neil Gaiman to Japanese artist Junji Ito’s manga series about cats, Braun said, and they’re only getting better over time. as you read them.
“The first time you read something, it doesn’t penetrate as much as the second time because there are things you can miss,” Braun said. “If you have a favorite movie and you’ve watched it a few times, you might notice things in the background the third or fourth time around. There are things you won’t notice at first, and with the comics, you can keep rereading them.
Sean Coats, a local high school student and first-time Nostalgia customer, said that since he was little, the Flash was a character he could always relate to because of “the morale that can be learned from him”. . Coats was a former customer of the old Emerald City site before it closed. Coats said his last time at a comic book store was before the pandemic. His favorite thing about comics is the guidance they provide to people of all ages.
“I think comics are a moral compass to show people how to find the good in others,” Coats said. “For me, comics bring me back to my inner child but also give me hope for the world.”
Nostalgia Collectibles is located at 1280 Charnelton Street, Eugene, OR 97401. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.