Business: New World Comics in Oklahoma City, OK
Owner: Buck Berlin[Interview had been edited for clarity.]
Kristen: How long have you been into comics? How long has your store been in business?
Buck: I got into comics full time in 1991 but got introduced in ‘89 with the Batman movie. I started with Fantastic Four 361, and X-men 4, and have been buying multiple times a week since. The store has been in business since 1982; I first went into the shop/fell in love with the shop in 1997. I got the job there at 17 in 2001; I took over at 22 in 2006.
K: What kind of items does your store carry? Just comics or a little bit of everything?
B: I carry new and old comics, tpbs/graphic novels, toys, statues, board and tabletop games, and comic supplies (when available, lol).
K: Do you carry indie comics? If you do which ones?
B: I carry tons of indie comics. I carry whatever I think would be good, is worth supporting, or I think will sell. I have a local comics rack, and have helped the best (in my opinion 😉 ) local comic company become distributed through Diamond to get national release. Heck I've even written a few short stories for them and still give advice.
K: What is something special about your shop that you want people to know?
B: We do lots of charity. It's super important to give back when you have it so good. I also have created a thing I call superhero school where I dress my friends up in costumes and they talk to kids about who they are, what they do, and they interact with the kids, and the kids get to ask questions. It makes getting into comics easier when you know what some of the differences in movies, TV, and comics are. And we include the obscure characters so when they pick up a random comic, they have a better point of reference than only the main character. But we also do bully prevention, reading programs with the schools, outreach for shelters, food drives, and benefit drives and sales. And anything else we can help with.
K: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the one comic or graphic novel (single issue or omnibus) that you would want to have with you?
B: I'd probably say the complete run of John Byrne FF. I have a full run of Fantastic Four. They are super near and dear to my heart. For many, many reasons that run means the most to me, even beyond the writing, art, and significance of story.
K: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
B: Zatanna. Absolutely the most perfect comic book character. And also, my favorite, but certainly best specifically comic book character. She is so many things that check all of the boxes for what a solid character needs in superhero comics. She is attractive. By nature, she's a performer, that looks good, and has to be spectacular enough to keep your attention by definition of what she does by profession. She has a sexy costume by all standards. Yet it is conservative enough to pass by almost all standards. So, universally accepted and/or loved. Check. You can tell what roll she plays by looking at her. Check. She is dressed like a magician. Not an evil sorceress, not a monster, not in skintight clothing with lots of orange and red, or anything like her peers. Check. and here's the nail in the coffin for me. Her abilities are so uniquely perfect for comics. They don't work as well in any other medium. When you see her in cartoons or on TV shows she says something backwards, but you can't understand it. When it is described in books, you don't get the full effect in such a succinct manner. In comics, you see what's happening. And if you can't figure out what she's done, you can simply read it backwards. The simplicity of design of abilities is just so delicate and beautiful in such an artful construction; she is the standard to judge all other characters. The closest you get to her perfection is Batman. Oddly enough my second favorite is Metamorpho. Then Mr. Miracle. Lol. I have lots of favorites for lots of reasons, but Zatanna is A#1, Duke of New York to me.
I want to thank Buck for answering my questions. Remember, support your local comic shops! If you want to support New World Comics, check out their Facebook page here!