Although dedicated comic book fans may gladly pick their way through the densely populated shelves of a typical comic book shop—viewing the cramped aisles and dim lighting as a neutral backdrop to the fantastical worlds conjured up within the pages of the books for sale—Modern Myths doesn’t want them to suffer in the process.
If anything, owner Jim Crocker wants to make his stores as egalitarian as possible, ushering in both the adolescent well-versed in Magic Cards to adults seeking to rekindle their youth by picking up a comic they read as a child.
“Moms need to feel comfortable bringing their kids in,” said Crocker, whose background working for corporate bookstores seems to have informed his sensibilities regarding the store’s layout as well as his ability to channel a childhood love for comic books into a viable business.
But Modern Myths in Mamaroneck is not Crocker’s first venture.
A decade ago, Crocker opened the store’s flagship location in Northampton, MA, a forward thinking city that’s home to the Five College Consortium, as well as a large comic and game loving population.
It wasn’t until Crocker’s wife accepted a job in White Plains, however, that Crocker began to give serious thought to the idea of expanding his operations out of state.
“That sort of forced my hand whether I wanted to do this or not,” he said.
Drawn to Mamaroneck’s “New Englandy” feel and strong business district, Crocker decided to put down roots in the village, but remained stymied for a year until a suitable vacancy opened up.
Located in the former Critter Comforts on 822 Mamaroneck Ave., the store is a little off the strip, but Crocker pays that small detail no mind, knowing that dedicated fans will make the trek.
“We could be tucked away behind the school and the nerds would find us,” said Crocker affectingly.
The store—which is scheduled to open in late September—will be an even split of monthly comic books, graphic novels (an original novel length work published in comic format, explained Crocker), trade paperbacks (a bound collection of monthly comics) as well as games like Settlers of Catan, Magic Cards and Dungeons & Dragons.
And, as comics and graphic novels enter the mainstream more frequently—particularly as movie adaptations—Crocker says his customer base becomes less homogenous.
“A lot of customers are lapsed and their interest gets piqued by movies,” he said.
Still others may abandon their comic book habit during high school when an interest in fantasy or role-playing games may relegate a teen to a socially undesirable stratum, only to be later reinvigorated when they’re in college.
But the store is not just for dyed-in-the-wool fans.
Much like an independent bookstore, Crocker makes himself available to anyone that walks through the door needing assistance or guidance with a purchase.
Additionally, the store will host events like a monthly graphic novel book club; regular Dungeons & Dragon’s games; workshops for figurine painting and game design; family board game night and a class on how to create a comic.
We think Archie, Veronica and Jughead would agree that Modern Myths might rebrand Mamaroneck as the comic book capital of Westchester County.
Modern Myths will have a grand opening party in late October. Please visit the store's website here.