On first entry, the cool, spacious Star Clipper may seem more like a "real" bookstore than a place to catch up on Spider-Man
. That's the point. With rock music blaring and easygoing employees who know the tastes of their regular customers, the store is working overtime to give comic books a long-overdue aura of respectability. To that end, you'll find edgy fare such as Transmetropolitan
and Love and Rockets
given the top-shelf space usually reserved for superhero product, as well as a heroically sized selection of collected volumes devoted to the medium's history. Equally friendly to obsessives and novices, the store offers Japanese manga
in the original language and staff picks that are eclectic but always dead on the money. The icing on the cake, though, is that they carry an impressive selection of local comics and zines, thereby providing an outlet for the next Stan Lee or Dan Clowes.