Sunday, March 25, 2007

Comix in paradise

In between relaxing on the beach and, well, doing even less than that, I decided to stop in at a comic book store here on Maui, just for curiosity's sake. The only place I could find was Compleat Comics in Kahului, the area near the main airport in the center of the island (right where the two big masses meet). The website seemed to indicate it was a pretty elaborate shop, so one day, after coming back from watching the windsurfers near Pa'ia, we stopped by.

I was surprised to find that the store is no more than a kiosk, the kind you can find in a mall selling cell phone covers or sunglasses or Hummel figurines; of course, since this is Maui, the kiosk is at a mostly-outdoor shopping center.

I found that most of the stock did not seem to be comics: there were lots of card sets, like Magic, and a lot of manga (which I guess makes sense), and a few action figures, and not many comics on display at all. In fact, one of the most prominent display spots was given over to a DC superheroes sticker book, and all of the new comics are sold from four short boxes:

I talked to the fellow a little bit, and he said that he had had a much larger space for over twenty years, but lost his lease and had to move. This place was temporary, and had been for about two years now. (That must be island time perspective.) He didn't seem too concerned about finding more room and even joked about being the world's smallest comic book store. I guess a lot of his trade is by mail; it would have to be for any back issues - there was none in the store.

So, if you're ever in Maui, check it out; it's right next door to a great organic foods grocery store and deli - stop in and try the veat loaf!


Compleat Comics

Down to Earth

Oh, and I bought two singles just to be polite: Ant-Man #6 and Wonder Woman #5. Ant-Man made me feel like narrator-ant who opened the book: I am bored and falling asleep. This title is starting to feel like a SNL skit that has gone on too long. Wonder Woman wasn't bad, although it felt a bit like a book-length PSA. There was nothing in it to make me want to continue buying the title, however.

I was going to leave the comics in the condo rec room for another guest to read, and then I had this thought: The WW cover calls to mind the sense of wonder as well as the innocence that most people would associate with Superfriends or some such interpretation of the character. The issue, however, deals seriously and authentically with aspects of domestic violence, and ends with a scene of carnage that is not for the squeamish. In the end, I will take the issue home rather than leave it around for some unsuspecting parent to give a child.

Geez, when did superhero comics get so complicated?

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