By Tim Stevens
Ask someone what city in the United States would make the most sense as the “capital” of comics and you probably will receive a few different answers: New York for its role as the birthplace of the modern comic and, of course, the home of Marvel Comics; San Diego, site of the world’s largest and most well known comic book convention; Portland, Oregon for seemingly having the highest concentration of comic creators in one area. Options abound.
However, on April 16, if everything goes according to Mayor Robbie Perkins, Councilman Zack Matheny, and the staff at Acme Comics’ plan, the City Council of Greensboro, North Carolina will alleviate the city to a location that has to be high on that list as it considers a new name: Comic Book City, USA.
Jermaine Exum— best known in the comic book retail community as “Lord Retail”— from Acme Comics places the credit for the resolution firmly at the feet of the good people of Greensboro.
|Acme Comics in Greensboro, North Carolina|
“We’ve been saying for years that Greensboro loves its comic books,” he explains. “Creators who have visited the city have commented on the level of interest and support they've experienced from Greensboro. We have a huge turnout every year for Free Comic Book Day that is currently at an estimated 1500 attendees and Greensboro is a very progressive city so we tried to come up with an idea that reflected those things. Why not wear that unique level of geekiness on our sleeve? We have been Comic Book City USA in spirit for a very long time and now it is time for that spirit to be officially recognized.”
Supporters of the resolution hope to tap into that spirit to help advance the cause. For instance, to commemorate the vote, Acme has already begun to plan a march/rally the day of. A release from the store invites all who wish to be involved to meet at the Melvin Municipal Office Building at 5:00 PM that day.
“Come in costume!” it declares. “Come with comics to give away to your fellow citizens! Bring the kids! Bring your co-workers! Bring your neighbors! Show our City Council what we already know, that Greensboro is Comic Book City, USA!”
Although a fun nickname in and of itself, “Comic Book City, USA” represents more than just that for Exum and Mayor Perkins. Both point to the resolution’s emphasis on local business promotion and literacy as an undeniable benefit.
“Greensboro is very supportive of its small businesses,” asserts Perkins. “When we were approached by the idea and its tie in with literacy awareness, it was a natural for us to get behind. People learn in many different ways, and if reading comic books helps some folks to become interested in reading, it benefits all of us.”
Exum echoes the sentiment: “What a declaration like this means is, acknowledging what we and so many others close to the fandom and industry already knew, that this city supports literacy, reading as entertainment, and comic books in a significant way.”