Geek Out: Greenville entrepreneur Rob Young is building a haven for comics fans

Greenville's Borderlands Comics and Games is on the move. The service, long a Laurens Road fixture, will soon move into a South Pleasantburg place that will almost double the store's retail space and create approximately a dozen new jobs.It's part of a continuing success story that might have been penned by comic-book legend Stan Lee himself, except that, unlike Lee's fantastic stories, this one is true.A lifelong loveBorderlands owner Rob Young

found comics when, as a boy, a friend gifted him with a small comic-book collection. Young, a Navy brat, found he might rely on comic books for adventure and comfort anywhere the household moved."The only constant in my life was comics,"Young informed Upstate Business Journal during a current interview. The first title to catch Young's eye was a comic about Captain America, a

character created by writers Jack Kirby and Joe Simon during The Second World War. The patriotic incredibly soldier remains Young's favorite comics character. His wedding ring even features an inscription of the character's signature red, white, and blue guard. Rob Young, owner of Borderlands Comics and Games, postures with a reproduction of Captain America's signature red, white, and blue guard. Image by Will Crooks.As a teen, Young continued to read comics and started going shopping at Heroes Aren't Tough to Find in Winston-Salem, N.C. The shopping sprees, nevertheless, concerned an abrupt end when Young discovered himself with no loan or house after graduating high school.The next couple of years were rocky for Young, but he handled to land on his feet, and ultimately captured the attention of the owner of the exact same regional comic book shop he had actually frequented as a kid.Charlotte, N.C.-based Heroes Aren't Tough

to Discover, which at the time had six places throughout the area, approached Young in 1991 and asked if he would manage a store in Greenville.Opportunity knocks in the Upstate Young was 21 when he first arrived in Greenville. He

would invest several years at Heroes before carrying on to another task, however it wasn't long prior to Young's previous employer, Stan Reed, asked him to return to the world of comics.Reed needed a supervisor for the 800-square-foot shop he had actually bought from Heroes in 1995, relocated across

the street, and renamed Borderlands. Young, with his love of comics and years of retail-management experience, accepted the job and spent the better part of a year dealing with Reed to obtain the brand-new store up and running.While the store became a hit amongst residents and gathered a reputation as one of Greenville's premier retail hubs for comics, Young took a corporate job and left the industry once again; nevertheless, his passion for comics never passed away. Found in the Pleasantburg Shopping Mall off Laurens Road, Borderlands Comics and Games features more than 5,000 square feet of retail space. Picture by Will Crooks.From 1996 through 2010, Young repeatedly provided to purchase the organisation from Reed, without success. Lastly, over a supper in 2010, Reed acquiesced, and after six months of negotiations, Young took control of Borderlands on Jan. 1, 2011, and set out to put

his burgeoning shop on the map." There hasn't been much time to rest, "Young said. "It's been an insane roller rollercoaster since day one."Young said his early days as a business owner were anxious, however his store has developed a loyal following over the years thanks to its diverse stock of items and dedication to consumer service. The resurgence of comics recently hasn't harmed, either.The shop, regardless of facing a landscape progressively dominated by Amazon and other online shopping platforms, has actually ended up being a mecca for Upstate locals looking for out the very same detailed periodicals that Young delighted in as a kid and still

takes pleasure in today."A great deal of individuals enjoy having the original comics in their hands," Young stated."They are a special piece of popular culture, and collecting is a neighborhood unto itself. Folks value the history and fun of it. Plus, a few of the stories have actually never ever been collected.

" Borderlands Comics and Games specializes in old and brand-new comics, video games, garments, and more.

Image by Will Crooks.Young included that sales have actually increased in the face of digital competition. Borderlands still sells 1,400 to 1,700 physical copies each week. And lines of faithful consumers routinely form outside the shop on Wednesdays, the day new comics are released."

I do not fault anyone wishing to keep reading a digital platform. I think more individuals would take pleasure in reading

from a physical book,"Young said."I think in our existing business climate and culture, where you can buy practically anything online, you pick to purchase local for the experience. You wish to support business, due to the fact that it makes you feel great. "Young stated that his store has maintained loyal readers by providing a membership service whereby they can list the comic series they desire in order to get new issues every time they publish-- which takes place bimonthly or regular monthly-- and the store orders the copies and has them ready for subscribers before they become readily available on shelves.Comicon and more Another element that has actually helped Borderlands stay a local favorite

is outreach, according to Young. The shop has connected to the community through occasions at theaters, schools, libraries, and fundraiser. It has actually likewise held SC Comicon considering that 2014. The two-day event, which is held at the TD Convention Center, is billed as a"celebration of all things geek "and includes panels with guest celebrities, including comic book writers, artists

, and television and

film actors.Last year's occasion brought in more than 20,000 visitors and consisted of celebs like Cary Elwes, who starred in"The Princess Bride-to-be"and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights,"and Kyle Starks, the award-winning writer presently penning the comics variation of"Rick and Morty,"an animated science-fiction experience funny series on Animation Network.< img src = alt width=1020 height=680 > SC Comicon is billed as a"event of all things geek "and includes panels with visitor celebrities, including comic book writers, artists, and television and movie stars. It also features thousands of costumed residents depicting their favorite characters from movies and comic books. Photo by Will Crooks.Young said that the 2019 event, which is scheduled for March 9-10, will consist of a special panel with the best-selling

team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, who are best understood for penning a five-year series of Batman comics.The exclusive panel discussion will be limited to about 200 individuals and cost $100 per ticket, inning accordance with Young. Customers will get 5 autographs and have the opportunity to snap photos with Snyder and Capullo after the panel.On the move Company has continued to be

strong enough to call for Borderland's move to new digs, which Young stated has actually been an objective for 2 years.The brand-new store will remain in the previous Tony's Fabrics structure at 401 S. Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. It will include 7,000 square feet of storage facility space

and 9,000 square feet of retail area, inning accordance with Young.Another advantage is that the new location features a bigger parking area, which will make it much easier for consumers, specifically those attending events that draw a crowd, such as Free Comic Book Day, Ladies'Night, Geek Trivia

, and book signings.The expansion might also improve the store's warehouse efficiency. "Our warehouse is off-site right now, so we're losing time going back and forth when we need to recover a book that's not on the shelves, "Young discussed."I think this expansion will assist us be more organized and efficient. Freight shipments, for example, will come directly to the shop and discharge comics directly in the storage facility."< img src= alt width =983 height=680 > Borderlands Comics and Games will be transferring to the former Tony's Fabrics structure at 401 S. Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville.

Photo by Will Crooks.While the area has actually altered, Young stated his goal is to keep the shop's ambiance, with customers able to leisurely peruse the thousands of comics, video games, toys, posters, models, and Tee shirts that Borderlands stocks.Young said the new shop, which is a$2 million investment, will require a brand-new roofing and some interior enhancements, however it will likely open throughout the fourth quarter of this year. Hiring is expected to begin later this year."This move is the conclusion of a lifelong dream for me,"he stated."I still cannot think it's taking place. "Superheroes traditionally provide for billion-dollar market A brand-new report from, a site that tracks yearly comic book and graphic unique sales

, and ICv2, an online trade publication, shows that North American comics shops purchased$1.015 billion worth of comics and graphic novels in 2017. Print sales comprised$925 countless that overall, while digital

sales represented the remainder." After a multiyear development run, the comics shop market returned a few of its gains in 2017, with uninspired action to new periodical offerings and, consequently, graphic unique sales," said market expert and creator John Jackson Miller."The 3rd quarter of 2017 saw the worst of the year-over-year declines, leading into exactly what has turned out to be a more powerful spring for shops in 2018."

Miller emphasized that while the marketplace experienced a$ 70 million reduction in sales from 2016, it still stays$370 million ahead of sales in 2011. It's a far cry from the financial slumps the industry has dealt with over the years.While. the format came from in 1933, comic books first got appeal in 1938, when National Allied Publications (now DC Comics)released

"Action Comics"No. 1, including Superman. This was followed by a boom that lasted till the end of The second world war and led to an explosion of comic-book characters.After the war, the comics industry quickly broadened with categories such as scary, love, and criminal offense. The market, nevertheless, experienced a progressive decline in the 1950s as increasingly more households traded print media for tv, according to Miller."When every house had a tv; the comic book was no longer the most inexpensive babysitter around, "he said."It was no longer as important." Comics were also impacted by the introduction, in 1954, of the Comics

Code Authority, a managing body established by the industry in response to the Senate subcommittee hearings into the supposed impact of comics on juvenile delinquency.To endure the market's brand-new regulations, publishers began introducing superhero stories once again, a change that started with the 1956 publication of DC Comics '"Showcase"

No. 4 featuring the modern-day variation of the Flash.As demand increased, DC Comics chose to release more superhero stories, consisting of the"Justice League of America"series, which follows Superman, Batman, Wonder Female, and other characters as they collaborate versus evildoers.Marvel Comics followed suit in 1961 with The Fantastic Four, a group of 4 civilian astronauts who acquire powers after being exposed to cosmic rays during an unapproved outer area test flight.The series ended up being a hit and prompted Marvel authors Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to develop some of the industry's most popular and lasting characters and teams including the Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, and Spider-Man, according to Miller.As need for comics continued to grow in the 1970s, business comics publishers moved far from selling through newsstands and other mass market locations and started selling through the "direct market,"which allowed readers to buy comics straight from the publishers.Miller said numerous of today's comics shops have made it through market downturns by developing subscription services, updating circulation systems, and using a varied choice of productions.