A Genuine Nerd - Part II
Here is Pat holding down the register. Challengers doesn't glow, that's just a light leak in my camera.
In showcasing comic book fans, and continuing with my favorite comic book store employees, I bring you the proprietor of Challengers Comics + Conversation, Pat Brower. Anyone who knows Pat will tell you, they are the luckier party.
Having opened Challengers with W. Dal Bush just a year and a half ago, Pat and company have already claimed a spot among the wide-ranging Chicago comic book scene (Chicagoans have an insane amount of stores to choose from). It’s a store that shares many qualities with Pat’s personality: instantly welcoming, eclectic, and often host to some killer parties. If you are in the Chicago area and have yet to visit Challengers, make the trip sooner rather than later – I guarantee it will become part of your comic book buying routine. But back to Pat! Even if you know him, you probably won’t ever have his taste in comics pegged. He could probably find a common interest with just about anyone who walks into his store, whether it’s a love of Buffy, Doctor Who, or metal bands from the 80’s. I asked Pat to give a recommendation to a customer with no prior comic book knowledge. Here is his response:
"I don't have a blanket book that I recommend to everyone... I need to find out what the person in question is about first. Usually asking, "What TV shows do you watch regularly?" is a good way to gauge which direction to point the reader towards. But I will say that 2 good 'starter' books would be "Y The Last Man" vol. 1 or "Walking Dead" vol. 1. Both books are unlike most regular comics in so much that any pre-supposed comic book expectations will be shattered by either book and both stories are engaging enough to make people NEED to know what happens next. Also, getting new readers into trades over single issues is definitely the way to go.
For kids, "Amulet" or "Jellaby." For teen girls (or 41-year old comic store owners), "Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane."