Congratulations to Green Brain Comics on celebrating their tenth anniversary! The store, located in Dearborn, Michigan, has been a staple for comics lovers there for a decade now, and even longer if you count the time it operated under different ownership and a different name (Comics Plus). Dan and Katie Merritt bought the store in 1999, after Katie had worked there for several years. They describe it as the right place at the right time, and they've been celebrating ever since.
"Green Brain has become a great place to throw a party," Dan says. "We have hosted a gazillion creator signings, readings, and gallery openings." Plus, they throw a huge party each year on Free Comic Book Day ("the centerpiece of our event calendar," Dan says), host live music (there's a record shop on the floor above them, so there's plenty of mutually beneficial opportuntities), and they hold monthly Comic Jams.
The store attracts a diverse clientele, due in large part to the Merritts' unique approach to the locale and to their concentrated business efforts. There's an art gallery in the store, which brings in people who might not otherwise have dropped in, and the owners pride themselves on their store's overall look and feel. "Our main focus is comic books and graphic novels," says Dan. "We decided that, to do it right, we really had to keep a tight focus on our product line. Keeping the place well-stocked and visually appealing is very important. Having so many different comics available and on display required that we devise a visual indexing method that helps keep things more organized and also helps customers find what they are looking for quicker."
Having a huge selection readily available is important to the Merritts. It's what makes a comic store complete and attracts more people to rely on the store. "We pay special attention to the small-press publishers and have a wide selection of comics and graphic novels that haven't gotten much attention in the average comic shop," Dan says. "We have developed a reputation as the place to go if you can't find it anywhere else."
That commitment has led to a large clientele faithful to Green Brain and helped them win the local Metro Times Best Comic Book Store four years in a row. "Our store is located near the border of southwest Detroit," Dan notes. "The area is very ethnically diverse, and our clientele is a great cross-section of this humanity. We also have a great mix of men and women and children from all income levels, proving that comics can appeal to all ages and income levels."
And the store has had the added bonus of allowing Dan and Katie to work together in a business they both love. "We have made this store into what it is today," Dan says, "by working together and coming up with solutions to the challenges that we face in this dynamic and ever-changing business."
He continues, "We love comic books! Our store reflects that love. The way we do business is designed to carry that message to everyone who shops here. Every project that we are involved in has a goal of infecting others with this love. Men, women, old folks, young folks...we want everybody reading and enjoying comic books!"
Green Brain Comics
13210 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Top Ten Graphic Novels
1. The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn (Image)
2. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)
3. The Boys, Vol. 1: The Name of the Game by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Dynamite Entertainment)
4. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson (Vertigo)
5. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)
6. Wet Moon, Vol. 5: Where All Stars Fail to Burn by Ross Campbell (Oni Press)
7. 100 Bullets, Vol. 13: Wilt by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo)
8. Flight, Vol. 6 edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Villard)
9. What It Is by Lynda Barry (Drawn and Quarterly)
10. The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone By by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (Image)
Top Ten Manga
1. Blade of the Immortal, Vol. 21: Demon Lair II by Hiroaki Samura (Dark Horse)
2. Oh My Goddess! Vol. 32 by Kosuke Fujishima (Dark Horse)
3. Berserk, Vol. 30 by Kentaro Miura (Dark Horse)
4. Full Metal Alchemist Vol. 19 by Hiromu Arakawa (Viz)
5. Inu Yasha, Vol. 38 by Rumiko Takahashi (Viz)
6. Starcraft: Frontline, Vol. 3 by Grace Randolph, Josh Elder, et al. (TokyoPop)
7. Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 4 by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
8. Sinfest, Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Ishida (Dark Horse)
9. Fruits Basket, Vol. 23 by Natsuki Takaya (TokyoPop)
10. Pixu: The Mark of Evil by Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and Fabio Moon (Dark Horse)