I absolutely love visiting comic book stores. It’s always exciting to check out what’s going on in the world of your favorite superheroes. However, most comic shops tend to have a lot of the same. Sure, there’s typically something that makes each place different, but one could go just about anywhere and find the latest big name comics like Batman and Spider-Man. There’s one shop out of all the comic stores that I’ve visited that’s rather atypical compared to the rest, and that is Gutter Pop Comics.
Gutter Pop Comics on Elmwood Ave may have a shelf in the back dedicated to DC and Marvel, but the majority of the store is dedicated to independent comic books. They of course have the bigger titles in the realm of independent comics like the Walking Dead, but most of their product includes more unheard of titles. Some of these titles include things like After Laughter, Gumballs, and Hip Hop Family Tree. Also in stock is a great selection of comics based on TV shows like Rick and Morty, Spongebob Squarepants, and Steven Universe.
I think it’s incredibly important to have a store with an emphasis on the independent side of comics in the area. If I’m looking for the latest X-Men comic, chances are that I could find it by walking into any comic book shop around. Something like Morning Glories might be harder to come across.
The independent focus of Gutter Pop Comics is important to both newcomers to comic books and those who have been readers for years. It shows people how much more there really is to comics than superheroes. Obviously, superhero comics have taken over the industry after famous names like Batman and Superman entered the scene in the 1930s, and they continue to rule due to the popularity of television series and movies. The original comics didn’t even include superheroes. They were initially funny newspaper periodicals. Superheroes were created afterward, but still were never the only thing to read about in a comic. There have been countless non-superhero comics to leave their impact on pop culture, like Archie and Dick Tracy, and there are many that continue to do so like the Walking Dead and Preacher.
Independent comics are an important staple of the comic book world that can unfortunately go unnoticed, which makes what Gutter Pop is doing incredible. These alternative comics offer an infinite array of reading experiences, as they can be written about literally anything. The number of indie comic creators has been vastly growing in recent years. It really is great to see support for the smaller names in comics right here in Buffalo.
There are, without a doubt, a few downsides to Gutter Pop, though. One is how small the shop is. Not many people can be shopping at once. Other comic shops feel like an exciting hangout spot, but Gutter Pop Comics doesn’t have the space for that. Outside of a claustrophobic shopping experience, the size also affects the product on the shelves. Only the first couple volumes of each series are seen in the store, but the rest are in the back storage because of the limited space. Most comic stores sell things other than comics, but Gutter Pop doesn’t offer the usual collectable figures or tabletop games. They do, however, have a small selection of anime DVDs. Another major downside was that the whole place smelled like wood chips so much that I could taste wood after I left. Hopefully this is because new wooden shelves were recently put in or something of the sort.
Altogether, Gutter Pop Comics is a magnificent place to shop. They certainly fit the Buffalo vibe. They’re an indie-owned business that’s supporting the indie world. They even have a section of vinyl records of local bands and artists. They are the perfect place to look for that specific, hard-to-find read, and they perfectly capture that local, indie feel.
Gutter Pop Comics | 1028 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, NY | (716) 436-4806 | See Facebook event