The first thing that you notice about West Philly’s Locust Moon Comics is how welcoming it seems. Upon entering the roomy store, visitors are greeted by a reading area, the centerpiece of which is a leather couch. The fact that such a ridiculously comfortable piece of furniture is featured in the store perfectly reflects the attitudes of store runners Chris Stevens and Josh O’Neill: they are about creating a neighborhood atmosphere as much as they are about selling comics.
Since moving the store’s new location last year, this commitment towards community building has become evident. Connected to the main retail portion of the store is a spacious gallery space that is regularly used to showcase the works of local and national artists. Additionally, the area is also the hub for frequent Tuesday movie night screenings, and will also be used as a place where anyone can learn about the art of comics through seminars and educational forums.
More than just a place to pick up the latest copy of The Superior Spider-Man, the store is also ground zero for a melting pot of Philly comic events. Last year saw the release of Once Upon a Time Machine, a Locust Moon Press release distributed through Dark Horse Comics that re-envisioned classic fairy tales. Stevens and O’Neill were also the minds behind the first annual Locust Moon Comics Festival. Held this past December, the event was a gathering place for the best indie comics folks around — including local artists Jeffro Kilpatrick and Tom Scioli. It was a huge success, and a 2013 follow-up fest is just one of the many events that Locust Moon will be holding this year.
But ultimately, it is all about the comics, and the gorgeous wood shelves that line the walls of the store are packed with every new issue and graphic novel you could imagine. What really makes Locust Moon stand out are the whimsical touches: a fish tank, a fully painted counter, a corner dedicated to pop culture stuffed toys, comics memorabilia — including a vintage Batman bubble bath dispenser — adorning the shelves, and a great DVD rental section that includes plenty of nerd-friendly titles alongside of art house favorites like Wendy and Lucy.
Despite what The Big Bang Theory would have you believe, most comics fans these days are mature adults whose love of fandom is just a part of a healthy, active and mature social and sex life. If you consider yourself this type of person, Locust Moon is for you. It is the next step in the evolution of the comic book shop, and Philly is lucky to have it.
Locust Moon Comics
34 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA. 19104