comics heroes

From Marvel and DC to the lesser-known graphic novels, the most recent business to tap into Kokomo and Howard County incentives plans to bring an array of comics, games and other collectibles to downtown.

Shawn Hilton, a former manager at Kokomo Comics, plans to open C3 (Comics, Cards and Collectibles) at 121 E. Sycamore St. The building is the one “with the pizza guy on the side,” as Hilton put it, near City Hall.

He expects to open up for business in early September, with a grand opening on Sept. 25.

C3 will “reinvest” in some of the regular customers from now-closed Kokomo Comics and will also try to reach out to younger ones.

“The typical demographic is about 16 on the younger side to about 40 or 50 on the male side,” Hilton said. “If Dad wants to bring a toddler, we have comics for kids based on Pixar, Disney. We had just started keying in on bringing in younger material at Kokomo comics.”

C3 has a different inventory than Kokomo Comics, but it will include the “mainstays,” as well as some of the rarer books, Hilton said.

The store will have plenty of the classic comic series — Superman, Batman, Spiderman — but it will also stock some of the top graphic novels, such as “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta.”

“To be a comic book store, you have to have both,” Hilton said, “otherwise you’re just not a comic book store.”

C3 will begin with the ground level of the 800-square-foot building Hilton is renting. But once business picks up, he wants to expand into the basement. In a few years, if sales are strong, he would like to expand to other locations.

The shop’s small footprint, with its accompanying lower operational costs, easy access to parking and the incentives to open downtown attracted Hilton to the southeast corner of downtown.

And come Halloween, Hilton wants to introduce downtown to a taste of a — pretend — flesh-eating sub-culture.

He wants to organize a “zombie walk” in October in which people dressed as the living dead roam downtown.

“People dress as zombies and go to businesses pretending to be zombies in a very nonviolent manner,” he said. “It’s just a type of costume party. I’m a big zombie fan.”

Hilton also wants to show “Night of the Living Dead” to the public, and with some willingness from a local restaurant, he would like to have a zombie prom.

He has also planned some more life-like activities for C3, such as “Friday Night Magic,” when people can come to the store and play the card game Magic the Gathering.

• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570 or at daniel.human@kokomotribune.com.

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