As we reported a month ago, the Dragon’s Lair in Omaha, Nebraska, had occupied the same building since 1976, until a recent fire elsewhere in the building caused extensive smoke and water damage to the store.
Since then, the store has relocated five blocks west, to 2227 N. 91st Plaza on Blondo, and will reopen today at 9 AM. (It’s located behind Romeo’s Mexican Food & Pizza which has been in business as long, if not longer, than The Dragon’s Lair, so the food must be good. (I grew up in that neighborhood, and I can’t remember it NOT being there.))
Owner Bob Gellner will open the new location today, with a sale and a drawing for two $50 gift certificates.
What it is is a comics shop also selling cards and games, staffed by people who are welcoming, even if you only visit them once or twice a year from out of town. Most of his staff have been there a long time (Craig Patterson, the manager of their Millard location, was working at the Blondo store back in the 80s when I started shopping there), and some of their customers and employees have gone on to start their own stores in the metro area. (One customer even became a best-selling graphic novelist!)
From January 1985 until January 1994, Dragon’s Lair was my local comics shop. It’s where I fed my inner Marvel Zombie, and, a few years later, starved it to death as I discovered a multitude of other titles I had to read more than X-Men, Spider-Man, or She-Hulk. It’s where I discovered Tales of the Beanworld, Neil the Horse, Bone, Sandman, Concrete, Justice League International, Uncle Scrooge; and ignored hundreds of other small press titles, which I can only guess at now, as I peruse old preview copies of Amazing Heroes.
It’s where I bought my weekly copy of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, and the occasional copy of the Comics Journal.
It’s where I found cheap copies of Marvel Tales and Not Brand Echh and MAD Magazine in the back issue bins.
It’s where I spent the first ten years collecting comics, and I’m lucky it was my local comics shop. Omaha is lucky that it was the local comics shop in the 80s. They are the reason my passion for comics is so eclectic, and why Omaha has such a strong geek community now.
If you live in the Omaha metro area, heck, if you live in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa, stop by! (You should probably visit some of the other great shops in the city as well. Omaha is a nerd oasis.) It’s a quintessential Midwestern store, not unlike the dry goods variety stores once common on Main Street USA. Low key, offering great selection and service, run by nice people. I’ll be stopping by the next time I’m visiting family, and until then, I wish them a grand reopening!