Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chronic Review: Double Danger Comics!

Double Danger Comics & Collectibles is a nice little comic shop tucked into Uptown at 818 W Lake Street in Minneapolis.  I'm still trying to figure out how this thing could possible exist without my noticing.  Granted, I'm not a huge Uptown guy. But I am, above all things, a comic guy.  I feel a deep shame regarding my comic shop radar abilities, but now I'm digressing.

My first impression upon walking into Double Danger was a sense of....what to call it...stage presence?  Comic shops have a sometimes deserved reputation (if people recognize that they still exist at all) as low rent, dirty, hole-in-the-wall operations.  They are not perceived as inviting or accessible, and that can actually be part of a shop's kitschy charm.  It aint always supposed to be a sanitized strip mall venture, but an occult lair where the uninitiated need not apply.

Double Danger Bag
When you walk into Double Danger, everything about it pops.  It's clean, it's bright, the fixtures look new and hip.  If you want to see the entire stock of their Silver Age comics, you can ask the help to open their vault.  It's literally a vault, with a spinny dial on it.  You get your comics in an old style brown bag with vintage print ads.  Everything about the place demonstrates consideration and flair.  If presentation counts, this is the place to be.

The product is organized, easily browsed, and there is plenty of room to maneuver.  So many establishments, comics or otherwise, make the mistake of packing their sales floor with as much crap as possible to the detriment of any poor bastard trying to figure out what's actually there.  Double Danger understands the seductive power of empty space. 

You feel comfortable in there.  Aside from the aesthetics, which are superb, the people inside welcomed me in, told me about their current sale, got the pleasantries out of the way and let me roll.  Perfect.  I had a test question for the prototype comic nerd behind the counter.  This guy could not exist anywhere but a comic shop.  He is awesome.  I asked him about the Blackest Night Dex-Starr figure that should have come out right around Christmas that I can't find.  He knew exactly what I was talking about, and if he was in tune with that, I'd say you're in good hands.   

Double Danger is a place you can hang out.  There's space to move around or congregate, the people inside are approachable, there's a giant television hanging on the back wall playing Psych episodes, or at least that's what it was playing when I walked in.  The shop is consciously designed to make it inviting to stick around for awhile. 

In terms of product, the closest corollary is Big Brain Comics.  Focus is on three items in this order; trade paperbacks/hardcovers, new comics, toys/statues.  The draw for me in any comic shop is the availability of out-of-print trades. At this point, Double Danger is simply too new to provide that.  (give it a few years and I imagine they'll be challenging Big Brain for top spot, though)  I did find a nice copy of Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight/New Dawn, a $50-$60 book on sale for $16.  Ka-ching! 

The selection of new material is impressive.  They stock a lot more than your obligatory Batman/X-Men titles. There are some back issues to be had, and also some really nice Silver Age material displayed, with more awaiting inside the vault if you choose to have it opened.

I don't recall any manga, DVDs, or collectible card game type stuff, but then again, I wasn't looking for it. By the register there was a selection of neatly displayed stickers of odd things.  I almost bought one about storing dead hookers.  Like I said, there some ancillary pop culture items, but this is a comic shop, God bless it.

The only down side from my perspective is location, because I'm a coddled little suburban boy without the required hipness or direction sense to survive Uptown.  Finding parking is a distinct pain in one's posterior regions, and if you miss a turn somewhere, God help you.  You'll be in St. Paul by the time you can figure out how to turn around and get going back in the right general direction with all the labyrinthine one-ways you'll encounter.

But if you don't care about parking, and you're hip enough to thrive in Uptown, Double Danger is a damn fine place to hang out and buy comics.

- Ryan


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the good review. We have parking in the back. sorry for the inconvenience... we try.

Chronic Insomnia said...

Parking and such is completely out of your hands, so no apologies necessary.

For little wusses like me, it's a real issue, though. When I came off of 394 and hit Lyndale, I was too far right. By the time I figured this out I was about 50 yards from the Lyndale/Henn. split, hit my left blinker...and none of those jackholes would let me in. Lucky for me, I was a little familiar with Hennepin from visiting the College of Comic Book Knowledge and passed W Lake Street on the way there, otherwise I would have given up on the day I came in.

Any way, thanks for the parking tip! You can bet I'll be back many times in the future, Uptown or not...