By: Sean Ray | Asst. A&E Editor
Comic book fans have a new place to shop at in Pittsburgh. Sitting at 1819 East Carson St., the newly opened South Side Comics seeks to integrate itself into the local shopping scene.
Opened Saturday, April 4, South Side Comics features a brightly lit and very welcoming store front, including a lounge area where super hero movies are played on a flat screen TV hung on the wall. The store features the usual selection of new comic books, as well as a back issues room, figurines, trade paper backs and a gaming section owner Dan Degnan seeks to expand on in due time.
Degnan said opening the store was actually the case of him taking a chance on a long held dream. Having worked as a teacher for six years, Degnan enjoyed working with children, but also had a long passion for comic books, having collected since he was 10-years-old. Growing up, Degnan worked at Pittsburgh Comics, where he learned the craft of running a store. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Degnan opened up the store alongside his partner, Brian Mancini.
“Our model was ‘let’s find a neighborhood where the community was contained,’” Degnan said. “We want to be a neighborhood comic store.”
Indeed, Degnan said he heard a lot of his customers rejoicing over the convenient location of the store. As a matter of fact, the store can easily be reached from Duquesne University in around 10 or 15 minutes with the need to cross the street only twice.
Degnan said that the turn out for the first few days of operation have been very promising.
“We have done very well the first few weeks we were open,” Degnan said. “At our opening alone, we had a lot of subscriptions set up and people were pretty happy with the place.”
Degnan is hopeful on setting up a regular customer basis for the store very soon, saying the newness of the shop is actually a valuable asset in getting to that goal.
“Being that we are newer and smaller, I get to know my customers a lot better,” Degnan said. “I like to speak to my customers and give recommendations and talk about things going on with comic companies.”
As for future plans, Degnan said he wanted to see an expansion of the store’s range of gaming products and the possibility of doing Magic the Gathering tournaments in the future. As is, the store currently only sells Magic cards, but Degnan hopes to change that in the future.
“The back room is set up as an area to play games like Magic and Dungeons and Dragons,” Degnan said, further stating that another area he would like to improve is the store’s selection of back issues, which currently takes up most of the space in the store’s back rooms.
The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Just be on the lookout for the store’s mascot hanging out in the front window: a Lego Star Wars AT-AT walker, though the newly installed sign certainly helps as well. There are plently of books to choose from for any potentially interested readers.