Cosmic Comics is the epitome of the iconic comic book store.
Looking for cellphone covers? You might want to try looking elsewhere.
Consoles and PC hardware or peripheries? Nope.
Action figures? Yes, but less of the toy type and more of the collectable variety.
Manga? Some but not a lot, although they will order if you ask nicely.
Statues and Pop!s? Oh yeah, they have lots.
Really? Apparently, there is such a thing as a stupid question – not to say that you, our readers, are stupid, but in the past, I have been asked what Cosmic Comics sells, you’d think the name would explain it all.
But what about variant covers? I hear the more seasoned collectors asking. Cosmic Comics is pretty much the only comic book store that I know of that actually orders enough comics to get even the rarer variant covers. Sure you can get them off eBay or you can order them through some other store, but chances are, Cosmic already has that cover in stock, or at least, they will have it the moment it comes out.
Or maybe you’re wondering about those few random back-issues that you seem to be missing? Chances are they have those too, Cosmic always orders enough copies per issue to ensure that they have enough back issues to last quite a while – which is where the majority of a comic book store’s sales come from, believe it or not.
You know every now and then in my articles I’ll mention having worked in a comic book store? This is the one I’m referring to. Now, I’m not sure if there is some set of rules that bars ex-staff members from reviewing the company they once held a job at, but I’m going to give this a bash anyway.
Cosmic Comics is run by a couple, Shane and Karyn Brocklebank, they’re our two superheroes (in a ‘League’ of their own), and their trusty sidekicks, James, Seth and Ryan (they’re the Teen Titans in this equation; no, James, not the Titans, the Teen Titans, suck it up).
Shane has been reading comics since the tender, young age of six years, his grandmother collected comics and he’s been hooked ever since. Karyn read Walt Disney Comics and Garfield as a child and, during an extended hospital stay, was given a stack of 2000AD comics to read; its almost as if she never put those books back down.
Cosmic started as a stall at the Hillfox Flea Market back in 2000, Karyn and Shane had just moved from Margate to Joburg and were looking for work; Karyn was, for a time, a waitress, while Shane managed the stall during the weekends. For anyone who has been to the Hillfox Market, you’ll know that there is no real air conditioning or heating, so “winters were killer”, on top of that it doesn’t help that they would have to arrive at six in the morning to secure their spot in the market.
However, their struggles paid off and Cosmic Comics went from market stall to actual store in November of 2002, setting up shop in Heathway Centre; eventually they moved a few blocks up the road to their premises on the corner of Mountainview Road and Beyers Naudé (which is NOT their current address, I’ll put their new address at the end of the article).
Shane’s favourite comic book characters are the Hulk, Spider-Man and Superman; while Karyn likes Jubilee and Dazzler; Shane’s favourite comic book author and artist are Dan Jurgens and Ivan Reis, whereas Karyn is currently enjoying the work of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (Descender), along with the art of Ed McGuinness.
Like most comic book stores, Cosmic gets all their comics on Wednesdays (make sure you drop by at least once a month, because most comics come out either every two weeks or once a month), they usually also get Pop!s and graphic novels on Wednesdays as well.
Speaking of comics, Cosmic is among the few comic book stores, that I’m aware of, that actively bags and boards their comics – because no, they do not come like that, sadly. The process of counting, bagging and boarding comics can take at least a day IF the store is quiet and there aren’t too many comics, otherwise, it is a process that can easily take two days, sometimes two and a half.
Which time is best to stop by Cosmic? In my experience, Wednesdays would be ideal but because that is when shipments come in, the comics you want to buy might not have even reached the store yet; come Thursday, they might still be busy with those comics. Your best bet is Friday, because most, if not all, of the comics, have been bagged, boarded, priced and put on the shelf or into your call-order box, on top of that, Fridays aren’t too busy but the store isn’t deathly quiet either (Mondays are the quiet ones you have to look out for).
‘How many comics does Cosmic sell in a week?’ you may or may not be wondering… well, that’s a business statistic, so technically I couldn’t give you the answer even if I did know, but Karyn estimates they easily sell about one thousand comics on a quiet week, with busy weeks obviously resulting in many times that number being sold.
I could be wrong, but having worked at Cosmic, I get the feeling that they have the consistently largest range of Funko Pop!s for sale. Everything from Pickle Rick (of which they still had quite a few last time I checked) to Wonder Woman (of which there is basically nothing left; seriously, Wonder Woman-related stuff sells out incredibly quickly, and that is due mostly to the Wonder Woman film which came out last year).
But let’s say a Funko Pop! isn’t your style; you want something a little larger and considerably more detailed; where do you go? Cosmic Comics. Their wide range of Gallery statues is enough to make any Marvel or DC fan drool (unless you own each and every Gallery out there, in which case, I hate you; and so does my boss). But what if you like your superheroes and you like anime-themes? Well, for all your anime-themed, gender-bending needs, there is the Bishoujo range! (don’t worry, no one will judge you, I very nearly bought the Loki Bishoujo last year – Hey! Hey, I said I wouldn’t judge you, now stop judging me… I can practically feel the judgement as I write this).
What? You want something bigger than that? Something grander? Look no further than their PCS (Pop Culture Shock) range!
PCS specialises in large, detailed statues, and if you have lots of money and lots of display space, there are very few reasons not to buy statues from the PCS range – as of the time of writing, Cosmic is awaiting the arrival of a PCS 1/3 scale Goro statue (to the value of about R35 000, which is terrifying because, at current, the most expensive item in the store is a Batman cowl replica worth R18 000).
On the topic of large statues, you may be wondering if they stock anything from Sideshow’s Premium 1/6th scale range…
Unfortunately not, Karyn and Shane have aimed their focus more directly at comics and figurines, and in their previous premises they just didn’t have the space to stock either Sideshow Premium or Pop Culture Shock statues – but their new premises is much larger and there is WAAAAY more room for displaying statues, so you never know, nothing is set in stone.
When I started working at Cosmic last year, there were the regulars and then the film fans who had no idea what they were walking into, I asked Karyn if there had been any change in the customer base since superhero films became the biggest thing in Hollywood and she said that the customer base definitely has changed over the years; apparently there are more women buying stuff from Cosmic than ever before (which is amazing, considering the comic book industry has been described as one which typically caters towards males) and there are certainly more children leading their unwitting parents into the store as well.
Despite the change in customer base and the growth of the fanbase, on an international scale, comic book stores are disappearing, many have either shut down (like Zed Bee’s, in Edenvale, did last year) or have turned to other revenue sources (games, anime, manga, etc). I just had to ask what Cosmic’s secret is…
Karyn said there was no secret (which is exactly what one would expect a secret-keeper to say; secretive secrets are secretive), but she did point out that they also sell t-shirts and other related paraphernalia. They have tried to sell games, anime and manga in the past but it wasn’t really working out for them so they phased those out (but, like I said, they are capable of ordering manga for you) and now pour all their time and energy into comics and figurines… Karyn is the one who orders the crazy stuff you may or may not occasionally see in the store.
When asked about events, I was told that Cosmic always exhibits at ICON and rAge and that they will be at Comic Con Africa this September.
Speaking of Comic Con Africa, did you know that it is being sponsored by the same company that sponsors rAge? VS Gaming.
I asked Karyn if she thought Comic Con and rAge being so close together, and sponsored by the same company, would affect rAge in any way; while that is a legitimate concern on my part, Karyn seems to think that the fact rAge is so well-established in the South African market and has a large enough fanbase to remain unaffected by how close it is to Comic Con (rAge is literally three weeks after Comic Con). Maybe you guys could let us know what you think by Tweeting us or by commenting on one of our Facebook posts?
Cosmic recently moved to their new premises, not too far from their previous premises on Mountainview. Their current address is 254 Beyers Naudé Drive, on the corner with Acacia Road (where Full Throttle used to be), you can see their signage from Beyers, can’t miss it. And don’t worry, there is plenty of parking space around the back.
Hope to see you guys there!