Retail Spotlight: “Mission: Comics and Art” in San Francisco

Here’s the second of my ongoing “Retail Spotlights”, to highlight those comics shops that want to reach out to LGBT customers. The goal is to connect queer folks who are already comics readers to shops they can go and find the stuff they want to read, as well as invite LGBT communities around the country to explore what today’s comics shops have to offer by visiting one near them with a great selection and welcoming staff. If you’re looking for a fun place to shop where you can “come as you are”, then look no further!

This time around, we’re going to shine a spotlight on Mission: Comics and Art in San Francisco, California, courtesy of proprietor Leef Smith. This shop is a “junction point for the worlds of fine art, comic books, and popular culture”, and has a great selection of indie and local graphic novels, as well as all your must-have superhero books. In the back of the store, you’ll find something you don’t usually find at a comics shop: a full gallery space dedicated to showing original comics as well as artwork inspired by comics. Cool!

Mission offers a lot of other stuff you might not expect from a comics shop: they offer a Graphic Novel Rental Library, so you can read more for less money; they host a “monthly Comic Creators Meetup encouraging the creation promotion and distribution of independently produced comics”; and they also have a monthly graphic novel book club where you can enjoy a new work and share a lively discussion about it with other comics lovers. No stereotypical basement-dwelling hermits here!

According to Leef, this is a great time to come explore what comics have to offer, with the new relaunched—and more diverse!—DC Comics. Mission is even playing a part in DC’s big push to embrace digital comics, with digital subscriptions and online management via Comixology.

LGBT customers can rest assured that Mission: Comics and Art will help connect them to fantastic comics and graphic novels. Says Leef:

We’ve got a dedicated LGBT section that includes award winners like Teleny & Camille and Fun Home, and new releases like Gingerbread Girl and Wandering Son. Our local shelves also include Waste of Time and fan-fave Wuvable Oaf. We’re also happy to point out the mainstream superhero comics that do a good job depicting LGBT characters, such as Batwoman, Young Avengers & X-Factor among others.

Mission: Comics & Art has a special focus on comic books as an art form, with our gallery, artist receptions, and strong selection of self-published and Indy books. We offer a Graphic Novel Rental Library, and “buy” back graphic novels to add to the library. We’ve got an excellent coffee shop right next door, Rodgers Coffee & Tea, with fabulous “brew by the cup” coffee.

Mission: Comics and Art is located in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, at 3520 20th Street, Suite B (between Mission and Valencia). They are open Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 8pm. You can find them on Facebook and check them out on Twitter at @missioncomics. Being true San Francisco tech-heads, they’re also on Flickr, YouTube, Yelp, and Foursquare! (And, as I mentioned earlier, ComiXology…)

Mission will be hosting the big debut party for Rick Worley’s A Waste of Time at the beginning of October, during APE. Don’t miss it!

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