Welcome to ICv2’s newest feature, Shop Talk, a periodic round-up of comic and game store news coverage with the latest on stores opening, closing, changing, and their notable events. If you’re covered in local (or national) media and would like to see your store in this feature, send us a link at News@ICv2.com, with “Shop Talk” in the subject line.

Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy in Houston, TX, saw a surge in business when the pandemic restrictions were eased. “When people started coming back out, it was with a vengeance,” co-owner Robert Prohl told Houston Life. “So, it soon became standing room only every night of the week. We were running out of room, and it became pretty evident that we needed to seek a larger space.” After leasing a new space, Prohl and his wife Christine ran into problems that delayed the opening of the new store, so they put out a call for help on social media. The community responded, helping the Prohls to finish the new space. The new store is 10,000 square feet, with a gaming space and a mural by local graffiti artist Manuel Castillo, and the Prohls plan to add an in-store cafe soon.

Sales of single-issue comics are up, supply-chain issues continue to plague retailers, and three distributors are better than one. Those are some of the comments Publishers Weekly heard in its annual overview of the direct market, which included a roundtable discussion by a panel of book and comics retailers that included Eitan Manhoff, owner of Cape & Cowl Comics in Oakland, CA; Jenn Haines, owner of The Dragon in Guelph, ONT; Ty Denton, manager of Austin Books & Comics in Austin, TX; Mitch Cutler, owner St. Mark’s Comics in Brooklyn, Doug Chase, a buyer at Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR, and Liz Mason, manager of Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago. The retailers also discussed the how some of the measures they took to get through the pandemic, such as switching to a new point of sale system and doing Facebook Live events, have helped to boost sales.

Pocono Update covered the grand opening of Lost Eden Comics, in Tobyhanna, PA. “The end goal of this is to not only have a place to sell pop culture stuff but also have it be a haven, a place for people with similar interests to hang out, talk, chill, and hang out with each other, maybe further down the line we will get some events going,” said co-owner Steven Little. “Video game tournaments, smash tournaments, whatever we can get our hands on.”

The Dundee, Scotland, comic shop Big Dog Books has closed its doors, a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Daily Record. “We have tried as hard as we could to keep going, but the world post-pandemic has just made it impossible to continue,” owner Stuart Kane said on Facebook. “Continued covid interruptions, shipping delays, soaring costs, physical products moving to digital platforms, companies that once supported local game stores moving to direct sales, the rising cost of living and other political issues... the list goes on...”

Quick Picks:

Travis and Heather Gooch recently opened Nerd It Up, a comic and game shop in Gerald, MO, that is designed to be a safe space for nerdy kids, according to emissourian.com. The brick-and-mortar store offers $1 comics and free plays on classic video games, and it also serves as a showroom for the Gooch’s online comics business.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy paid a visit to Montclair’s East Side Mags, the Montclair Patch reports, to draw attention to the state’s Main Street Recovery Program, which provided over $40,000 in economic development grants to the comic and game store.

The Nation profiles Red Planet, a Native American-run comic shop in Albuquerque, NM, right off Route 66.

Veteran comics reporter George Gene Gustines visited 30 comic shops in every borough of New York City for the New York Times.

Hamooda Shami’s comic shop Paper Tiger, in Richmond, VA, will focus on graded collectible comics and will present them in a gallery-like setting, according to RichmondBizSense.