Locust Moon brings the good ol' days back to campus
The Dark Knight Rises has grossed over $289 million to date; The Amazing Spider-Man, over $1 billion. In an endless barrage of superhero blockbusters, it’s easy to forget what we might once have loved most about such narratives: the comic books from which they originated. Not so at upper UCity’s Locust Moon Comics, though. Here, neatly printed graphics and handwritten scripts offer comfort and familiarity for nerds and novices alike. Owners Josh O’Neill, Chris Stevens and Justin Postlewaite are determined to make the second incarnation of their shop (the first was at 41st and Locust) “the comic book store for everyone.” And certainly, their inventory reflects this desire. While classics like Thor and Superman are in no short supply, O’Neill expressed distaste for the idea that comics should have an esoteric, strictly-superhero fanbase. At Locust Moon, Hellboy, Sin City, Indiana Jones and Watchmen brush bindings with lighter fare like Calvin and Hobbes, as well as with more obscure titles like “How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less” and “The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read.”
When asked how the store first got its name, O’Neill replied, “Uh, we were on Locust Street, and we looked up at the moon?” Though he admits that the name makes less sense at the new location (and says he’ll start pretending they were once a Chinese restaurant), O’Neill is optimistic about their venture, and the space mirrors his enthusiasm. Black leather couches and a veritable garden of houseplants invite customers to settle in with a good read, while a pleasant offbeat soundtrack creates the effect of chilling in a friend’s apartment. A fish tank with neon green stones sits embedded in the wall; each fish has been carefully named —“Moisturizer,” “Mr. Bojangles,” and “Neon Nancy,” to name a few.
But fish are not the only creatures at home here — the whole place is spotted with what appear to be large handmade grasshoppers, mildly garish in a folk-art sort of way; above the register is an elaborate mobile of orbiting bugs. Such small touches provide a sense of the people who run Locust Moon — a refreshing and personal quality unique to independent bookstores.
Locust Moon’s proprietors will not hesitate to share story either, though it is perhaps somewhat fictionalized. Lifelong “comic book people,” they’ve printed several of their own, portions of which are presently on display in the shop’s small art gallery. The current exhibit features comic book panels laden with snarky misadventures (in one, a customer cries, “Heads up! Hipsters! …Their moustaches are their most vulnerable points.”)
The gallery will showcase new pieces from local artists each month, and is slated already to host a slew of community events — drawing classes, movie screenings, performances, even some non-profit work — which O’Neill encourages Penn students to attend.
We plan on it. Plus, we’re hoping to see Quaker comics on Locust Moon’s walls someday.
Oh, and these are a few of our favorite things.