In 1895, a newspaper called The New York World debuted a comic strip entitled “The Yellow Kid.” Written by Richard Outcault, the comic quickly became famous and led to more writers trying their hand at the new genre.
120 years later, the comic has become a part of mainstream society. Whether you grew up during the age of Blondie, Mutt & Jeff, and Little Orphan Annie or that of Calvin & Hobbs and the Fantastic Four, chances are great that you have enjoyed a comic or two.
Although the digital age has fostered a movement towards digital books (and comics), the print book is still thriving. One need not look any further than Paradox Comics-N-Cards, Inc. to see the evidence. Open since 1993, Paradox has steadily expanded its customer base and carved out its own impressive niche within the Downtown Fargo business sector.
The paradox is more than just a retail store. Although it does have a vast array of comics and graphic novels, it is also a haven for fans of card, board, and role-playing games. Walk into the store on any given day and in addition to customers of all ages, you are likely to see a game or two being played in one of the store’s two game rooms.
Unlike most retail stores, Paradox has a youthful exuberance about it that brings people together. It is a space shared by folks with the same interests, and it is within that sense of comradery that the store really shines. “We build community and give people a place to run events and we always have a new angle on how to get people together to have fun,” Owner Richard Early explained.
Early has been a comic fan since he was five. Once he got into gaming, it seemed natural to open his own store. 23 years later, his success speaks for itself. “The secret to being open this long is evolving all the time, and our future plans are just to continue to evolve,” Early said. “A lot of people have a plan, it doesn’t work, and they quit.”
Paradox has made a concerted effort to attract a different type of fan base, which is a big reason for the store’s large, loyal customer base. “We just launched a lady’s night in the spring. 70 women showed up for the first one,” Early explained. “For women who have ever felt awkward or uncomfortable in comic shops, this is for them.” The store also has a variety of tournaments and specialty days that highlight certain games and/or customer groups.
Some people think that comics are written for children, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In most cases, comics are as sophisticated and intelligent as mainstream novels. The fact that comics are a combination of the written and the visual only serves to enhance the reading experience. For all of you that love movies like Avengers or Iron Man, those are simply comics that have been adapted for the big screen. You are essentially watching a comic.
If you have never been to Paradox Comics-N-Cards, Inc., Early would like to extend an open invitation. “If you are enjoying comic book movies and TV shows or have ever played a board game, you should check us out,” he said. “We have a whole world of stuff.”
More information about Paradox Comics-N-Cards, Inc. can be found at www.paradoxcnc.com.
By Jamee Larson