Friday, January 29, 2010

There's no place like home...

Baseball cards and comics!

2312 E. Dorothy Lane
Kettering, Ohio 45420
(937) 294-4900

It was the day the music died for those of us who'd been traveling to the Bookie Parlor for so many years in search of our weekly comic book fix. I'll never forget the day when an anxious knot of us gathered outside Hal's establishment and for the life of us couldn't imagine why his shop was locked up tight and dark inside on a Wednesday afternoon. On a Wednesday!? We waited. And we waited. And Hal never showed. Not that day or any day thereafter. Hal had died.

Eventually everybody began to accept the reality that the Bookie Parlor wasn't going to open and conversation inevitably turned towards alternative supply sources for the acquisition of our comic book fix. That's when a young man turned to the group and said, "There's a little store down the street at Dorothy Lane and Woodman called, Mavericks." And that's how I started a nearly twenty-five year relationship with the store where I still buy my comics today.

Although Mavericks has been in operation since 1981 I tend to believe that it's continued success began when current owner, Jack Poland took over the store in the late eighties. Jack is a throwback to the days of the "mom and pop shop" where customers were treated as members of a family rather than interchangeable cogs in the great machine of commerce. You'll always get as warm a welcome from Jack whether you spend a hundred dollars or simply window shop.
Jack brought heart to Mavericks and a love for comics as deep and abiding as the passions of the most fervent of reader. His knowledge of character and story lines is second to no one's and talking comics with him is always a joy. But the one thing I like about Jack the most is his love for kids. I don't think I've ever seen a youngster with any sum of money in his pocket less than a nickel walk out of Mavericks without something that didn't have his eyes aglow with wonder. Jack Poland nurtures and encourages children in ways I wish more of us took the time to do with our own sons and daughters. I love taking my son to Mavericks and I love introducing him to a part of the family I hope he'll enjoy spending time with for many years to come.

Just as one single ingredient doesn't make a successful dish so Jack Poland isn't the only reason for the popularity of Mavericks. Jack has surrounded himself with quality people who are as enthusiastic about comic books and collectibles as he is himself. Between the minds of Jason Young, Jeremy Hoyt, Matt Brassfield and Glenn Mason I don't believe there is a single topic from comic books to Magic the Gathering to sports memorability that this brain trust can't help you with. I trust these individuals to make recommendations for my pull file and that's about the highest compliment as a comic book reader I can give them. (They always seem to suggest something new and interesting instead of pushing something commercial upon me.)

Mavericks is more than just a store where I buy my comics, it is the home of my friends. Every Wednesday is a family get together where everyone in attendance comes together to share in the camaraderie that only those who share a common passion can know. Yes, we do love our comics, but we also love this homey shop and the good people who keep it going year after year. If you're looking for a comic home, I'd suggest giving Mavericks a try. We'd love having you join the family.

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