Like corrupt police officers or broadcasts of NASA's “moon landing," comics use clever framing to convey an alternate version of reality. Set thought bubbles adrift with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of comics at The Escapist Comic Bookstore in Berkeley.
Famed superheroes duke it out with bloodthirsty vampires and 20-something meta-protagonists on the shelves of The Escapist Comic Bookstore, named after a superhero imagined by famed local author Michael Chabon. The impressive stock encompasses a vast inventory of vintage comics, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels from well-known publishers and small presses alike, mingling in as much natural harmony as authors and costumed mascots at a comics convention. Exciting new titles such as Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated ($3.99) explore the superhero’s uneasy place in an age of global commerce, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Eight, Volume 8 ($16.99) finishes off the series with a potent silver bullet.
Small-press collections such as Minty Lewis’s fruit-themed PS Comics ($11) deliver a colorful blend of whimsy and smarts sure to tickle contemporary literary sensibilities with more humor and fewer paper cuts than nuzzling a dictionary. Having purchased the entire inventory of the legendary (and now out-of-business) Comic Relief in downtown Berkeley, The Escapist capably fills the shoes of that comic giant with regular multimedia reading events, book-release parties, and a knowledgeable staff of holdovers.