WTOP is proud to spotlight the many small businesses that make up the D.C. region as part of our Small Business September coverage. The Small Business September series is brought to you by EagleBank.
Running a D.C.-area comic book shop provides an opportunity for constant learning and exploration.
It’s a place where the vivid, colorful world of superheroes comes to life.
“There’s a big crowd for that here in D.C.,” said Jacob Shapiro, owner of Fantom Comics in the District. “It’s a pretty nerdy city.”
Fantom Comics, which is on P Street Northwest in the Dupont Circle area, offers a wide selection of comic books and graphic novels.
The store is a hub for comic enthusiasts, from die-hard fans to newcomers eager to check out what’s on the shelves.
The dynamic nature of the comic book industry ensures that no two days are alike.
“There’s new stuff every week, whether it’s Batman, Spider-Man or obscure stuff you’ve never heard of before,” Shapiro said. “We have a few older comics, but for the most part, we focus on new stuff coming out.”
From hosting themed events to organizing signings with artists and writers, there’s always something happening at Fantom.
The creativity involved in selling a diverse selection of comics, graphic novels and merchandise keeps the atmosphere fun and lively.
Customers who shop at the store include a “mix” of people who read comics and those who are looking to collect them, according to Shapiro.
“We try to focus primarily on people who are actually buying them to read them,” said Shapiro. “That’s not to say that collecting is bad, but it’s a fine balance.”
The shop is a gathering place for like-minded comic lovers who share a passion for storytelling and visual art.
It’s a place where fans can connect, discuss their favorite content and create friendships.
“People come in because of the sense of community,” said Shapiro. “We’re not just here for the business transactions. People still value human interaction.”
So why don’t people just read comics on their phones?
“Clearly, people still value having a physical book to hold,” Shapiro said. “The printed artwork will never look the same on a screen.”