Pat Thompson couldn't yet read, but he could follow the images. Sitting by his mother as she recovered from a car accident, the 5-year-old Thompson found Amazing Spider-Man #6 in one of the care packages sent to the hospital. As he flipped through the pages, he sat awestruck by what he saw: a web-slinging superhero battling a half-man, half-lizard villain commanding an army of alligators. "I was hooked like pike," he said. He held onto the comic until he could finally read it, which only deepened his fascination. So when the opportunity came as an adult to own a comics store, Thompson cobbled together all the resources he could to make it happen—getting money from family, taking out a loan, robbing a lemonade stand, and teaming with a former employee to buy 8th Street Books and Comics.
Today, Thompson and his wife, also an avid comic-book reader, continue to share their passion for comics, graphic novels, and books with new customers and regulars that have frequented the shop for 18 years. Thompson maintains an efficient organization system, grouping every product—from more than 4,300 adult graphic novels to nearly 2,000 manga titles—in its own section. He does the same for his comics, carrying every major publisher and titles from many independent presses. A self-professed reader—not a collector—Thompson keeps issues for up to one year only, or until they start to taste funny. He's not shy about sharing what he thinks of the newest releases, teaming with an old friend Theo on CFCR 90.5 FM radio's Comic Chat with Theo and Pat every Friday at 6 p.m.
Beyond the comics, graphic novels, and books, the Thompsons also stock pop-culture merchandise that includes action figures and lunch kits, as well as costumes and magic supplies. Additionally, they also host regular Magic: The Gathering tournaments.