If you take a walk down Lonsdale Street in Melbourne, you’ll find a fantastic little comic book store that’s starting to make a name for itself. Located on Level 1, 410 Lonsdale Streetis All Star Comics, a shop that is fast becoming my favourite place to get a comic and pop culture fix.
All Star Comics opened on February 5th, 2011, and the staff have worked hard to make their mark onMelbournecomic book collectors. My first introduction to All Star Comics was at Supanova. This first meeting made a big impression on me, as I was blown away by the great range of products and friendly staff milling around the All Star stall. I was eager to check out the store itself, and a couple of weeks later, I did. Ross and I have visited the store many times since then, and even attended Free Comic Book Day at All. It was a fantastic day, and it was very clear that even though All Star is fairly new on theMelbournebusiness scene, they’ve managed to build up a loyal and enthusiastic band of customers. The atmosphere in the store on Free Comic Book day was friendly and electric. The staff were all dressed up as their favorite comic book characters, and many customers had made the effort to put together costumes of their own. The store was filled with huge smiles and happy customers. It was obvious from the turnout at Free Comic Book Day that this is one comic book store whose star is rising.
The store is beautifully set out with a clean, modern aesthetic. The latest comic book volumes are meticulously displayed on glossy red shelves. There are separate sections for trade paperbacks and even a counter at the front filled with child-friendly comic books. My favorite part of the store is the display of toys, records and memorabilia that runs along the top of the main shelves, spanning the last six decades. The first time I visited the store, I was ecstatic to see a Speak and Spell exactly like the one I had as a little girl sitting atop one of the shelves (I was a spelling nerd then too!).
The store has an eclectic range of stock. As well as all the latest comic book titles, All Star boasts an impressive range of toys (both new and old), pop-culture paraphernalia, trade paperbacks and even jewellery. The back section of the store is lined with glass cases filled with toys, figurines and lego. It’s enough to make your head swim. All Star have also got some fantastic posters for sale, including All Star launch posters and a gorgeous set of graphic prints featuring famous cities, such asNew York,LondonandGothamCity.
By far though, the thing that I believe really sets All Star Comics apart from other comic book stores is the customer service. Some comic book stores tend to skimp on the customer service. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been to a comic book store only to be confronted by a surly, unhelpful staff member. This certainly isn’t the case at All Star though. The staff at All Star Comics are friendly and helpful. They’re happy to let you browse, but will leap into action if there’s something you need a hand with. At All Star Comics, you can count on being able to have a relaxed chat with the cashier while they ring up your purchase. To me, customer service is vital, and if a store treats it’s customers well, then I’m happy to return time and time again.
I had a chat toTroyand Mitch, the owners of All Star, about their budding business.
– What is the most rewarding part of running your own comic book store?
The most rewarding part of owning our own store is the fact that we are in control of our own destiny.
We have tried to make the store fun, and in turn make the shopping experience fun.
The best way to stop people buying online is to give them something that can’t be replicated online…..interaction, great customer service, and the freedom to browse the shelves!
We also love the fact that people have embraced the store and it now has a life of its own separate to us.
–Your store is filled with fantastic stock, from comic books to toys and even jewellery. What have been your best-selling items so far?
Our best selling items so far has been a mix of new and old trade paperbacks.
New books like Daytripper, Locke and Key and Morning Glories have certainly sold as well as Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.
We have also had success with posters by the very talentedChicagoartist Justin Van Genderen.
– What can first-time visitors expect from a trip to All Star Comics?
First time visitors can expect a spacious store with a strong design ethic and an emphasis on good customer service!
We have a good range of stock and have something for everybody. There are also a few vintage displays which people really enjoy!
-What are your plans for the store over the next few months?
Our future plans for the store include some more fixtures and displays as well as stocking a wider range of product.
Free Comic Book Day was such a success for us that is has inspired us to come up with other events both in, and out of the store.
– Finally, if you could have any super-power, what would it be?
Mitch would really like the power of flight!
I (Troy) would like the ability to manipulate and travel through time. …..I would also like to be able to draw!
If you’re looking for a brilliant place to get your pop-culture or comic book fix, where you can get excellent customer service and meet some lovely people, you should check out All Star Comics at Level1 410 Lonsdale StreetMelbourne. It’s the perfect place for avid comic book collectors, and those who are just starting out. I’d also recommend a visit to All Star if you love vintage toys, lego or pop-culture tidbits. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed.