This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on April 19, 2017.
The foundation of ComicBook.Com is comics. While we love to cover all aspects of pop and geek culture, our roots lie in the comics community and the plethora of characters and stories that have sprung from it. If you speak with anyone in the comics community about what has made the medium successful in North America, you’ll quickly discover one answer that stands far above the rest: local comics stores. They are the bedrock of comics in the United States and Canada, supporting fans, communities, and conventions with open doors and a dedicated staff.
This year on ComicBook.Com we are highlighting this important aspect of comics and culture by taking a look at one local comic store each week. These are stores that embody what it means to support culture and community. We hope you can visit some of them throughout 2017.
When you come to Las Vegas you expect one thing wherever you go: excellent presentation. It’s a town defined by its glitz and glamor. People from across the United States and beyond travel to the city in order to be astounded by shows, lights, and shops. That rule doesn’t just apply to the casino floor or high-level attractions; it’s a philosophy that encompasses most public-facing aspects of the town. That includes comics and MaximuM Comics is a set of Las Vegas based stores that set an example for how to make this medium look good.
The stores are spacious, organized, and clean. A vast array of comics line the shelves ranging from current superhero hits to some deep cuts. It’s a storefront designed to welcome customers no matter their expectations. Someone who walked in by accident could be expected to stick around if a giant statue of The Hulk didn’t happen to scare them off.
“The 5 Senses Rule is our foundation to building a successful day each day we are open” says Jay Bosworth, the owner of all four MaximuM Comics locations. That rule refers to the idea that each of the sense should be pleasantly engaged, including smell and taste. Each store offers a wide array of snacks and there’s not a single note of stereotypical must to be detected in the air. Bosworth goes even further when examining how he approaches the customer experience, a phrase he likes to capitalize as “The Experience”. It’s not just making things clean and well-lit, temperature, music, and many other elements are all carefully considered.
All of this focus on presentation is part of the store’s core objective: “To provide the best comic shop experience on every visit to every person.” They were fans of the phrase “comics are for everyone” before it was popularized by comics artists Jordie Bellaire and Declan Shalvey on t-shirts. When speaking about the MaximuM Comics reader base, Bosworth is particularly enthusiastic about one group: children.
Many articles in the mainstream media tout that comics aren’t just for kids, but Bosworth worries that kids might be left behind as the medium focuses more on mature readers. Bosworth says, “Comic shops haven’t always been welcoming havens for younger readers, yet this is our future readership!” That’s what led MaximuM Comics to partner with the Clark County School District. They offer hour long classes to visiting students in which they cover a variety of topics including the history of comics, the teamwork involved in making comics, and the skills needed to work in a comics store. It’s an educational opportunity that encourages reading and artistic expression all through the medium of comics.
MaximuM Comics has seen a very enthusiastic response to their educational programs. Students and teachers both enjoy the presentations and their are free comics for everyone as well, which isn’t a bad deal. While many shops rely on regulars who have read comics for years already, MaximuM is actively discovering theirs. “We see so many kids and parents coming in to the shops that mention the presentation and it creates so many new readers and hopefully future comic shop owners!” says Bosworth.
That sense of excitement, presentation, and fun doesn’t end with classes either. MaximuM hosts regular events that have given the store a party-minded persona. They often theme their events around decades with recents 80s and 90s shindigs complete with costumes, music, food, and prizes. The parties have been a big hit with the local community and also do some good work. “We love to have big events that gather the community together, always with a charitable organization as a recipient of the party’s proceeds” says Bosworth. Each effort to find new comics readers is also an opportunity to support the communities in which each of the 4 MaximuM Comics locations exists.
The stores have noticed this approach changing the demographics of comics readers in Las Vegas. Over the past decade the stores have noticed a significant increase in the number of women visiting them to buy comics, meet with friends, and attend special events. The cleanly presentation, community efforts, and family-friendly attitude have made it clear these stores are open for everyone and their audience has responded. “Creating a space where everyone from all walks of life feel welcome and comfortable has been essential in growing this new segment of readership” says Bosworth. He also notes that this same philosophy has helped them to welcome back lapsed readers seeking out old favorites and new reads.
Bosworth and his team have built MaximuM Comics into a successful Vegas brand that sprawls across 4 stores in just over a decade. It’s a place where all people can come to enjoy comics and one that actively seeks out new readers with a smile. MaximuM is spreading the good word of comics in one of the most traveled cities in the world. When Bosworth is asked if there are plans for expansion in the future, he answers with a wink.
“Well, we didn’t name it Minimum Comics, now did we?”
Click ahead to see full details and photos of MaximuM Comics.
Name: MaximuM Comics
Address: Centennial Centre, Suite 120
7950 W Tropical Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89149
Website: MaximuM Comics
Facebook: MaximuM Comics