By Katie Anderson
There’s a new wave of media in Licking that is like a blast from the past: comic books! Brandon Smith, 29, owner of Boondocks, has recently started selling comic books at the video store to bring different culture to the town. He has also been doing sketches of different characters, which he picked back up recently.
Born and raised in Licking, Smith bought the video store from the previous owners back in July of 2016.
“I just wanted to kind of do something for myself and not work for anybody else,” says Smith. “And I’ve worked here for so long and I love the place, that I wanted to keep the place around after the owners wanted to move on.”
He worked at Boondocks for the past six years, until he decided that it was something that he wanted to invest into.
“I wanted to add something else to the store. I know the movie industry is something that probably won’t be around forever, so I also wanted to expand into other things; and the things that I love are comic books and video games,” says Smith. “We always have had video games, but I’ve started trading and selling those as well. Comic books was something that I was pretty passionate about and I love all the characters, especially DC and Batman. I’m a big fan of Batman. We never really had anything like that in town and I wanted to try it out. Actually, around this area, there aren’t too many places that even sell comic books. I didn’t have that access growing up, so I thought that would be really cool for the community.”
Smith has just started selling the comic books a few months ago, but has already gotten a lot of positive feedback. There are more comic book fans around here than people realize. The turnout is growing steadily.
“I have customers every week; same customers every week. There’s people that are still finding out about it, and I still have room to grow. We just have brand new stuff at the moment; I don’t have any back issues, but that’s something that I’m going to be expanding on in the future.”
In addition to the comic books and video game selling/trading, he also has Funko Pop! characters. Smith has a trader now that will do those, action figures, and trading cards like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and Final Fantasy – stuff like that.
More about Smith’s drawings:
“Well, when I was a kid, I just kind of drew random things, and my biggest thing was drawing cartoons. I was a big fan of Dragon Ball Z as a kid, so I drew a lot of the characters. I didn’t get into a lot of other anime, but I also drew a lot of superheroes. I’ve been a huge Batman fan my whole life. I’ve watched it a million times, so that was just something that I began drawing as a kid.
I got pretty good in art class but I didn’t really have any teaching or training. I’m just self-taught. It is something that I’ve been off and on with my whole life, and I’ve been able to copy things over pretty well.”
Favorite medium to use?
“Well, I was always just pencil, and some charcoal; I was mostly just a sketch artist. But here recently, I’ve advanced into pen and ink and the whiteout pen. It is great for creating different effects, not just fixing mistakes. That’s something that I’ve been developing over a short period of time. It has changed my art completely.”
He has kept only a handful of his sketches. Gave some out to friends, or has lost them somewhere over the years.
Depending on what he is drawing, it can take anywhere from seven to nine hours on a couple of his more recent drawings. He also did a quick sketch that took him about two to three hours. Smith said he looks at possibly selling them in the future.
Also in the future, he wants to make an original comic book. A buddy of his wants to write it, and Smith would illustrate it.
“My goal, one day, is to work on a Batman comic. I want to do, even if it is just a one shot, or just one run, I want to do at least a cover of a Batman comic book. It may never happen, but that’s what I’m hoping for.”
“I’m still trying to develop my own style, and I’m still learning from everybody else’s style. I’m learning all the ins and outs, and really why they are drawing them a certain way.”
If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
“Well I’ve always wanted to be Batman. And it’s not necessarily because of the money, I just really like the car.”
His wife, Rachel, doesn’t really read comic books, but she supports him and does love going the movies.
“There’s a misconception around comic books, especially for newer readers, that they are for kids. There are a lot of people that don’t know they are still being made. And there is a stigma around comic book shops, and comic books that I am hoping to change. They think it’s for weird people, and most comic book shops will tell you that. I want people to be comfortable in here and it is a really cool form of art, and even reading. It helps people to learn to love to read.”
What’s your favorite comic that you’ve ever read?
Batman Hush, which first came out in 2002. And The Killing Joke, which came out in 1988.
“They make comic books about anything and everything,” says Smith. “They are so easy to get into. They are a little overwhelming at first, because there are so many, but they aren’t hard to get involved in.”
So, if you have ever wanted to relive your childhood days with comic books, or even see some of Smith’s amazing art pieces, go into Boondocks in Licking today! Tuesdays are new movie releases, and Wednesdays are new comic book releases. Trade and selling of video games are available. Smith said that he is going to participate in free comic book day, which will be held May 5 (while supplies last) at Boondocks.