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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Proprietor James Sime & the Isotope Staff
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Friday, August 05, 2005
San Francisco's Got a Passion for Comics
And It's Sweet Talking the Isotope
Our first month in our new Hayes Valley location has brought in a lot of new faces and a lot of first time comic readers. We love it when we get to hear that these visits have ignited, rekindled, or stoked the flames of a steamy lifelong love affair with comics, which is just what we've been hearing this week.
First up with a story that will truly warm your heart is Kyle Minor's tale of discovering the Isotope and purchasing his first comics in almost a year's time. Let's face it, there can be no greater reward for doing what we do here at the Isotope than getting cool folks like Kyle excited about reading comics again.
Mister Minor is a regular contributor to the excellent Prism Comics website.
In other comics news, a brand new comics shop has opened up in Hayes Valley... practically on my way home from work. Isotope used to be located in the hinterland of SF's Outer Sunset, but now they've moved to what is quickly becoming one of the coolest neighborhoods in town. It's a great great store, and looks amazing. The staff there is incredible and really go out of their way for the customers. I highly reccommend a visit.
Because of this, I have already bought my first bunch of comics in almost a year, and have read some great stuff. Now readers of my blog might actually discover what my real taste in comics is. Hint: it's not Ninja #1.
Secondly, we've got a great write up from musician/male model/world traveller Larry Hosken
Comic Book Shop News
After spending all of yesterday tinkering with the New Zealand travelog, I needed to get out of my apartment today. So I walked to Isotope Comics' new location. I got my fortnightly fix and looked around. The new space has no air hockey table, and does have comfy benches for reading. I could imagine loitering there in comfort.
As I checked out, the ever-debonair proprietor, James Sime, apprised me of upcoming store events.
A band would soon play at the shop. No, really. A band from Japan. No, really. He said that the band, PINE*am, sounded like Kraftwerk as re-interpreted in Japan. On 8/31 they would play at the Rickshaw; on 9/1 they would play at Isotope. I was still re-drawing the boundaries between the pop-culture areas in my brain when he snapped back to comic books.
Isotope's own Kirsten Baldock wrote a comic book, a comic book that will soon hit the stands: Smoke & Guns, about warring gangs of cigarette girls. No, really. When the book is released, the party plan is to go to Jackson Arms and shoot guns. Exact date, when known, to be announced the store web site.
So I'm having one of those I-love-this-town moments, sort of like when I was walking on Haight and saw the sign announcing Banghra Espanol. But you have to watch yourself. I imagined myself smoking clove cigarettes and announcing to no one in particular: "I attend only two shows each year. One must be Sleater-Kinney. And the other must be from Japan." When you surf a wave of culture, you must make sure you don't wipe out and become trapped in a whirlpool of degeneracy. Or something like that.
Still, I made a note to listen to some PINE*am sound clips and maybe show up for the show. And I gratefully accepted a preview showing a few pages of Smoke & Guns. It looks pretty funny, in a violent kind of way. Something to look forward to.
And last but certainly not least is an enthusiastic report from Sophie Yanow the cheif mistress and ruler of the recently launched gumpop.com
Today I visited Isotope Comics on a whim. They just moved closer to the ol' Golden Gate, so I figured I would give it a whirl -- with the new location and the freshly bestowed Best of the Bay title from the Guardian, I thought now was the perfect time to stop in. Anyone who's been to Isotope realizes that the next step is for me to admit that this is my new favorite comic store. Well, here's the thing. Four years ago my local comic shop closed. Since then, my whole County has had one shop... a very small one, catering largely to the gaming and manga crowds. What can I say, I dabble in those fields, but indies are my true love. Isotope is all about comics. And damned if it isn't all about comics I love.
When I walked in I saw owner James Sime engaged in lively conversation with a young comics fangirl, while another guy chilled over on the couch checking out a book. The atmosphere rocks - they've got couches and chairs for you to kick back in, and the space is nicely decorated in a style very reminiscent of Mod culture. It's not wall to wall comics -- there's no stale air lingering around in the back room, because, well, there isn't a back room. It's all one big roomy space. The comics are layed out tastefully and James was more than willing (excited, even) to pick out an array of comics for me to check out (some of which I ended up buying) based on the conversation we had. I can't wait to dig into them, and hell, I could have just chilled on the couch at Isotope if not for the Phenomenauts show I had to scamper off to (which, coincidentally, James was pining over).
Bottom line: Isotope kicks ass, so if you like comics, interesting conversation, and a great atmosphere, che-ch-che-che-che-ch-check it out.
The Isotope staff are all really excited to hear that cool people like Ms Yanow and Misters Hosken and Minor are still discovering the shop thanks to our move to swanky Hayes Valley. We love meeting new people who share our enthusiasm for comics, pop culture, and cool communities. And as any scene is only as good as the people who populate it, it's exciting to see so many interesting and creative people coming in our new front door this past month.
And hearing how much these folks are enjoying the shop really brings a tear to our eyes.
Thanks to one and all for lavishing us with so much love!