BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP - 2005
Big Brain Comics
There's not a comic book collector alive who doesn't think the virginal, sublimely condescending comic shop owner on The Simpsons is funny--and sure enough, there's a cardboard cutout of the character on a shelf of D.C. graphic novels at this store. But Big Brain proprietor Michael Drivas is so not that guy. Offering his frank opinion on wares to anyone who asks, the former Dreamhaven manager seems willing to meet you at your own level of expertise (the word "geek" is stamped on each of the shop's brown paper bags). The new Washington Avenue location has an open atmosphere worthy of the nearby Loft Literary Center: a sunny room of exposed brick walls, track lighting, and wood shelves stacked (though never overstuffed) with new comics--superhero, porno, Archie, Jimbo, manga, Disney, you name it. The spot is inviting for newbies, who can also admire the toys (check out the Uma Thurman doll from Kill Bill Vol. 1) and non-comic tomes (the rich new punk history 924 Gilman). And while collectors of back issues will have to go elsewhere, the staff caters to lifers as well with customer "pull-form," allowing buyers to pick up a monthly stack of requests without missing an issue. The form's bold-faced advice nicely sums up Big Brain's noncollector philosophy: "Please only buy the comics you read and enjoy."