Craving comics: Stores cater to avid readers

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

“Did ‘Batwing’ get shipped?’” “Oooo, ‘Aquaman.’ ‘Aquaman’ is great.”
“‘Irredeemable’ – It’s a Superman-type character who snaps and turns evil, evil, evil.”
These conversations – and much more – go on inside Tupelo comic store, Poe Poz. It boasts posters, action figures, new comic books, graphic novels, superhero paraphernalia and T-shirts.
“It’s kind of a nerd memorabilia store,” said Charlie Dexter, who works on a volunteer basis.
Owners Chris and Alicia Inman quickly jump in with another description – “an independent pop culture store.”
The store celebrated its first birthday this month, marking a year of helping people get their fix of what is going on in the world of “Grimm Fairy Tales,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and the like.
The store on South Gloster Street emphasizes new comics and graphic novels and gets deliveries every week.
It also carries back issues and sometimes buys comic books from customers.
Downtown store Main Street Vintage Guitars also carries vintage comics, focusing on editions from the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, owner Mike Gillentine has his personal collection of superhero toys and action figures for sale, along with the guitars his shop is known for.
“Out of everything that I do, comic books are my favorite,” he said. “Guitars are my least favorite.”
He also specializes in collectors’ editions and mint condition comic books. G.I. Joe items are good sellers, as are his comic books in the horror genre.
At, Poe Poz, “Star Wars” items fly off the shelves. Alicia Inman also said that “Buffy,” “Smallville,” “Charmed,” “True Blood” and “Supernatural” comic books are popular.
“A lot of things you’re watching on TV, you can get the side story in comic books,” she said.
Poe Poz and Main Street cater to different clientele.
Poe Poz markets itself as the place in Northeast Mississippi for new comics. It has a subscription service for customers, plus it sells digital comics on its site.
Main Street sells the vintage comics and nostalgic toys more as an add-on. Gillentine said his vinyl record offerings are popular, and those customers usually are interested in his vintage X-Men comics or his toys for The Simpsons.
Plus, they serve as good decorations in the store, he added.
Some of his comics are less than $20, while others sell for $200. At Poe Poz, the new comics have a much lower price tag, averaging about $2.99 or $3.50 each.
The Inmans said they’ve found a demand for new comics in Tupelo, but they still work other jobs to support the business. Chris Inman works nights doing sanitation at Plumrose, and Alicia Inman operates a machine at ACCO and works at Centerville Fish & Steak.
Chris Inman’s goal is to get Poe Poz going well enough so he can quit his factory job at Plumrose. He’s hoping Marvel’s release of “The Avengers” movie this summer will speed things along. Plus, AMC’s new TV show, “Comic Book Men” focuses on life in a comic book store.
“There are a lot of exciting things going on in comic books,” Inman said.
Added his wife, “The reason comic books won’t disappear is because of people like us. We’re in our 20s and we’re still getting into it.
“We want something to look at and hold.”

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