We know a comic book fan who once sent a girlfriend into a local comic shop. No, it wasn't a practical joke; he was sure she'd be impressed by its selection of offbeat magazines. Big mistake. His friend returned verifiably creeped out. See, girly-bombs like her rarely make appearances in comic book shops, and apparently the hobbits couldn't stop themselves from leering. This was discouraging news indeed. Happily, recent visits to various comic shops have restored faith in the deportment of their employees. In every instance, expectations of surliness were erased by notably helpful clerks. Comic shop employees understand the labyrinthine lay of their land and are usually ready to help you navigate them or to recommend something new to read. So selecting a winner in this category was no "gimme." While most shops provide outstanding service and selection, they remain a bit dark and cluttered. Big Brain wins for two reasons. Its shelves are crammed the same as the others, but a visit to this open downtown shop feels more colorful than claustrophobic. And the sheer breadth and depth of its inventory makes it the Cities' best selection of new comics. You'll find whole sections bursting with superhero, independent, anime, and kids' comics. The toys, books, and magazines are judiciously limited and appeal to Big Brain's regulars. Go, bring a kid with you, and maybe even...a girlfriend.