Comickaze

Shacking up in Clairemont, Comickaze brings together an assorted milieu of comic books, graphic novels, collectibles and figurines that both obsessed geeks and on-the-fringe fans can appreciate. (Daniell Caddell/Guardian)
Shacking up in Clairemont, Comickaze brings together an assorted milieu of comic books, graphic novels, collectibles and figurines that both obsessed geeks and on-the-fringe fans can appreciate. (Daniell Caddell/Guardian)

Ever since 20th Century Fox exhumed X-Men, the comic-book cash crop has been making the most of an endless harvest. In the past five years alone, there’s been enough Marvel-based movies to keep Tobey Maguire set for life.

Considering San Diego’s Comic-Con International brought in a record flock of costumed geeks this summer, it’s only fair that we should also house one of best comic book stores in SoCal — an unpretentious cache in Clairemont with its own MySpace, book club, blog and assorted collection of plastic-encased Stormtroopers, appropriately named Comickaze.

By the time you finish parking and lift your gaze towards the over-crowded window staring you in the face, you’ll realize that Comickaze isn’t nearly as genteel nor spacious as the Barnes & Noble you’re used to. Judging by the over-jammed bookshelves, wire racks, countertops and windows, it’s outgrown its modest origins and opted for offbeat clutter a while ago. Boxes, box sets and the more popular members of League of Justice line the walls, while T-shirts with screenprints of Gabrielle from Xena (uh, I was 10) hang on racks propped up throughout the store.

The infinite bric-a-brac, DIY crafts and miscellaenous merchandise are all part of Comickaze’s quaint appeal: offering more than comic books for those of us so uncommitted to collecting that we couldn’t tell you if $500 was a decent asking price for the first Venom cameo in the Amazing Spider-Man series. (According to eBay, it is.) Comics might be their specialty, and the first two syllables of their moniker — not to mention roughly 70 percent of their store — but they’re keen on everything from neon lights and glassware of Wonder Woman and Wolverine, to life-size busts and bookends of Hellboy.

In simple terms of comic books, Comickaze is stocked with all the extras: special editions, back issues and complete collections. Whether you’re pining the latest installment of the Umbrella Academy (written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance), the early issues of new medieval epic Mouse Guard (complete with signed copies) or even one of the endless derivatives of a Stan Lee orginal (Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Justice League: Cry for Justice), Comickaze’s got enough pages to keep anyone in the store for hours.

Bookshelves wrapping the store walls host most of the selection, including nearly 25 shelves dedicated to Marvel alone. Eisner, Miller and Moore are a guarantee — and if there’s anything you want that they don’t have, they can usually order it for you.

Imagine an abridged, less-pricey version of Comic-Con, crammed into a midsized retail store — minus the tawdry Tinkerbell — you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Comickaze feels like.

The only category it loses in is manga — which, compared to the UCSD Bookstore, only takes up a single wire rack. But when you consider how much you gain, it’s a small price to pay for a chance to escape the seedy confines of Price Center.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for the best place for manga, look no further than the UCSD Bookstore. For everything else: Comickaze is Comic-Con without the costumes or killer price tags.

Comickaze
5517 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. #A
San Diego, California 92117
www.comickaze.com

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