By Johanna Edwards
The buzz was early and intense.
901 Comics came on to the Memphis scene in a big way, generating considerable attention before they'd even opened their front doors.
It's easy to see why.
From the moment a friend first posted about it on twitter, I knew we Memphians were in for something awesome. With two comic book aficionados at the helm, 901 Comics promised to be something special, and they've more than delivered on that promise.
The owners, Shannon Merritt and Jaime Wright, are the real deal, and it shows.
Despite only opening last month, 901 Comics has already hosted a number of successful in-store events, featuring signings and talks with both local and national artists. You can keep up-to-date on their events by checking out their Facebook page (which, incidentally, has already garnered lots of 5-star reviews and thousands of “likes,” despite the business being incredibly new).
Nestled beside Goner Records, in the heart of Cooper Young, 901 Comics looks deceptively small from the outside. Don't let that fool you. The store is packed with a curated selection of comics, memorabilia, prints, action figures and more.
But the merchandise isn't the only draw. Owners Merritt and Wright have built something truly epic, creating a friendly, fun atmosphere where you come for the comics (40,000 of 'em, and counting) but stay for the the experience.
The vibe at 901 Comics is so chill that you halfway forget that you're in a store. Instead, it almost feels like you're hanging out at a friend's house, browsing through his personal collection. (And let's just pause for a minute to reflect on how bad ass it would be to have a personal collection of 40,000+ comics.)
Whether you pop in on a busy Saturday or a less crowded weekday morning, you'll get the same warm welcome from the staff and owners. On my first visit to 901 Comics, the store was pretty packed and I was admittedly a little nervous about coming off like a fool. You see, I've only recently gotten into graphic novels. If you don't count my childhood love affair with the Archie series (and, please, let's not count that!) the only comics I'd ever seriously gotten into were The Walking Dead series. I've slowly been discovering more and more comics, from the old Marvel Team-Up series to my personal fave and current obsession, Harrow County.
But in a lot of ways I'm still a newbie, so I worried about being the proverbial annoying customer.
I shouldn't have stressed. The 901 Comics staff welcomed me into the fold right away, happily sharing their extensive comic book knowledge and inviting me to hang out and peruse the stock for as long as I'd like.
As I made my way across the floor, a couple came in after me, and they were treated to the same warm welcome. There are no hard sales tactics here, no ushering patrons in and out the door. Merritt and Wright have truly succeeded in creating a place that's not just awesome for comic book enthusiasts, but for the Memphis community as a whole.