There is a large presence of comic book fans in Columbia, proven with the emergence of Soda City Comic Con along with the International Comic Arts Forum that USC held last year. In this new series I want to showcase the various places you can go to support local businesses that provide the merchandise comic fans love.
Silver City Comics
Location: 538 Knox Abbott Dr.
Owner: Ann Hart
Deals: $1 back issues, recent back stock is 25 percent off during the week and 50 percent off on Saturdays, loyalty card that ensures 25 percent off next purchase after 10 visits spending $10 or more.
Around 60 years ago, Silver City Comics opened in Columbia, South Carolina. It is the oldest comic shop in the city and is currently on its third owner, Ann Hart. The Silver City Comics that we know today didn’t open until 2000 after a fire completely destroyed the original store — and the 300,000 comics inside. This tragedy led to Silver City buying collections from customers and relocating to Columbia’s original Hardee’s building right across the river in Cayce. Now, Silver City boasts the title of being Columbia’s only comic shop run entirely by women.
Angela Augustine, Hart’s daughter, talked about some of the store’s history and her own personal experiences running a comics shop. She bagged and boarded issues as we talked, and it was clear that she loves her job as store manager. In fact, she had trouble coming up with any sort of negatives to her job and highlighted that watching people’s worries leave as they walked in the door was what made it so enjoyable.
“People come in and they’re having a bad day, and they walk through the door and their bad day is left out there. And in here, it’s all happy. It’s superheroes. It’s their favorite thing in their world. They get to talk about something other than what’s making their day bad,” Augustine said.
This comes across well in the store's prominent slogan: “Reality Stops Here!” Augustine insists that Silver City Comics is “your happy place” regardless of how the world is outside. In Silver City, you don’t have to worry about anything else for just a little while.
The only downside to owning a comic book store, according to Augustine and her mother, is just the fact that there are so many here in Columbia. For a long time, only Silver City and Heroes & Dragons (who we will cover later) were the only comic shops in Columbia. In the past decade, several others have popped up and stretched the market out. Competition is good for consumers but can make things tough for the businesses. Even with a large number of college students visiting their store, Silver City has suffered from the explosion of other comic book stores.
“This area isn’t populated enough to support this many comic book shops,” Augustine said.
With a ton of back issues and many great deals, Silver City Comics is a great option to shop. They have a back room past the register, new comics and a shelf that contains numerous statues and busts available for sale. If you stop by, be sure to ask about Superman stopping a bullet. They’ll know what you’re talking about.
Watch out for our other comic shop spotlights, and be sure to check out Silver City’s Facebook page.