I was raised on comics, learned to read with them. My dad spent hours showing me old Justice League issues, pointing out words and reading along with me, and as an adult I frequently joke that Batman taught me how to read. There’s something I get from comics that I don’t get from traditional novels or poetry. It’s a special genre.
So when I moved to Hattiesburg it felt essential to find my local comic shop, a place where I could browse and subscribe and chat with other comic fans. I went to such a shop with my dad when I was a kid--Mommy’s Books and Daddy’s Comics, long closed, in Vidalia, GA--and I wanted that same comforting experience away from home.
Enter Bombshell Comics. From the moment I met Justin, the owner and operator at Bombshell, I knew that it was a good, safe space to enjoy comics and find new favorites. Bombshell is truly a comic shop. They sell comics of all sorts--trades, new issues, older series of all types. They both have an extensive wall of new releases and a serious collection of back issues. And, if you like the odd comic-themed trinket or Funko Pop, they have that too! But their main focus is the books themselves.
There are all sorts of people who like comics. My dad, for example, is a classic DC man. I like Marvel, but my deepest love is for Image comics, who I had honestly never heard of until moving to Hattiesburg. No matter what sort of publisher or theme you’re into, Bombshell has you covered. One thing I particularly like is that unlike some other stores, Bombshell privileges Image, a publisher that is creating (in my opinion) some of the most exciting titles out right now, like Nailbiter, Saga, and, of course, The Walking Dead.
Bombshell’s promotion of Image comics alongside Marvel and DC is just one sign of my favorite thing about them: You can like what you like! Little indie comic no one has heard of but you want to read? They’ll order it for you. Want to read the Riverdale comic adaptations without feeling shame (like I did)? The Bombshell staff is happy to ring you up, and maybe even chat with you about your selection. It doesn’t really matter what you like as long as you’re reading and enjoying comics. There are all sorts of people who enjoy different things, after all.
The store features subscriptions, so you can have your favorite titles pulled off the shelf and ready for you to pick up, and they also have an extensive selection of trades (which, for the non-comic reader, is a softbound edition that collects an entire arc in one text). They also do special orders if you’re looking for something they don’t have. Basically, they’ll get you what you want and do it all with extremely fast, friendly customer service skills! I’ve visited many a time to just browse and been recommended titles I ended up loving. That’s one of the great things about the local comic shop: you never know what you’re going to find or who you’re going to see there!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of the stigma I’ve experienced at shops in the past. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been seen as an outsider at times because, simply I’m a girl and a girl who knows things about comics (not everything, but hey! I grew up reading them! I have written academic papers on them!). This isn’t an uncommon issue, and people have written about it in the past (including one of my favorites, Noelle Stevenson). That being said, I knew Bombshell was going to be different as soon as I talked to Justin and his staff about comics. I’ve always felt welcome and supported, both as a comic fan and a member of the community. I’ve never been talked down to or excluded, and I’ve always been invited to participate in conversations and events at the store. To me, this is the most important aspect of any store: everyone should be welcome.
If you're in Hattiesburg and want to spend some time and money supporting a wonderful local business, give Bombshell a visit! You can also check out what's going on at the store online on their Facebook page. The store is a midtown staple--close enough to campus to walk over and located next to one of my favorite coffee shops, T-Bones. Pop in, buy a comic or two, and let them know Mary sent you!