A long time ago, in a neighborhood far, far away, I worked part time for an independent book store that specialized in science fiction and comic books called DreamHaven, I had been out of comics for a while and lord knows why I thought working in a comic book store was a good fit, but there you have it. But because of DreamHaven I discovered many independent comics that would influence my career.
Around the time I discovered a lot of independent cartoonists I created my own autobiographical comic called ‘Fake Farm Landscape’. FFL became the first real comic that I did on a regular basis. I learned a lot about comics from doing this. I did a lot of these comics while I worked at DreamHaven, and I did many strips about the bookstore itself, such as this:
DreamHaven has been in business for 35 years, a loooong time for an independent bookstore in the age of Kindles and amazon.com. But Greg Ketter, the owner, held on. I have fond memories of DreamHaven. It was at this store that I drew the first few issues of Uptown Girl. I’ve met lifelong friends, readers of Uptown Girl, and discovered a lot of new writers and comics. It was fun.
After Sophie was born, I finally quit working at the store to spend more time with my family. Around this time Greg closed the store I had worked at for ten years and reopened in a smaller location. I’ve filled in a few times at the current location and although the staff and location changes, it’s still DreamHaven. Same boxes of comics, same customers.
But as is normal to DreamHaven, further change was inevitable. Last night was the last night Greg would be open for normal business. The store itself would no longer be open regular store hours. Instead, Greg would stick to mail order and conventions. So last night was kind of a going away party of sorts.
So last night I actually left the house to bid the store farewell. I saw old friends, loyal customers, and former coworkers. I wished Greg well and said goodbye to the store. The store was such a big part of my life for so long. If it wasn’t for DreamHaven. I doubt Uptown Girl would even exist.
In some ways, I miss that store more than I miss the house I grew up in.