LA's Secret Headquarters up for "best comic store"

When I moved to LA in summer 2006, I discovered that my neighborhood sported the best comics store I'd ever shopped: Secret Headquarters, a small, neat, welcoming boutique that focuses more on art and comics than vinyl toys. The staff picks were always perfect for me -- every time I walked in that place, I left with three or four graphic novels that knocked my socks off.

Now, Caroline sez, "Secret Headquarters is my favorite comic book store too! They've been nominated on MyFox Los Angeles' 2007 hot list--let's give them our support!" Link

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  1. I don’t want slam a perfectly good boutique comic shop, but I think this one’s being oversold. I trekked out to Secret HQ from Westwood on the strength of some of the recommendations I’d seen, and while it was nice, I was underwhelmed with the selection. My standard for what a comic book shop should be is Comic Relief up in Berkeley. Secred Headquarters had, at best, about a fifth of the selection that Comic Relief had. Many fewer monthy titles, and the graphic novel, manga, and general artbook selection at Comic Relief is much, much better.

    That said, I’ve been really disappointed in LA comic shops overall. Secret Stash has a miserable selection of independent comics, and the other local shops I’ve been able to find in the westwood area are even worse. Compared to those, Secret HQ is elegant, has a really well chosen (if small) selection of titles. It’s also beautifully laid out, and I like the shopping in the neighborhood. (The cheese place across the street is delicious.) If it weren’t such a long drive, I would happily go there more often.

  2. They’re okay. Good selection, but I’ve always found the place to be a bit too cool. My heart belongs to Hi-De-Ho in Santa Monica.

  3. If anyone is ever stuck in St. Louis I’d recommend checking out “Starclipper” on the Delmar Loop. My husband and I know better than to go in there without about $120 worth of disposable income because we each end up with 3 or 4 different comics. Clean, well lit, nice magazine selection (including art magazines), soothing music and “un-rude” staff.

  4. I like the look of the interior and signage at Secret Headquarters, but it lacks soul. Hi-De-Ho (and Meltdown) have soul up the wazoo.

  5. I’ve gotta say, this shop, though quaint, is VERY overrated. I’ve been to the store on several occasions and it really didn’t have much. They seemed more interested in their “minimalist” design in the super-hip Silverlake area than really being a comic shop.

    For a REAL quality comic shop in Los Angeles with lots of selection and TERRIFIC employees who are NOT pretentious and more than happy to help you with anything you’d like, I suggest Comics Ink in Culver City. I’ve tried many shops, including Hi-De-Ho, and must stay Comics Ink is the best in my book! :-)

  6. #6 posted by shpanky September 28, 2007 12:14 PM:For a REAL quality comic shop in Los Angeles with lots of selection and TERRIFIC employees who are NOT pretentious and more than happy to help you

    SPANKY, It doesn’t sound like you went into the Secret Headquarters that I’ve been shopping at since they opened. Maybe it was a bizarro universe version? Maybe it was Circus of Books down the street? Was there a plethora of gay porn?

    I was ecstatic when Cory starting giving these guys a shout out. After almost a decade of living in LA and suffering through the crappy shops this town has, they have made all the difference in my comic enjoyment. Lack of the very pretension you speak of is one of the things that makes their shop great – especially if you are looking for tips and recommendations. If the people praising Meltdown think they can get an actual good recommendation out of the goofs at that shop more power to them.

    With the cheap access to graphic novels via the intertubes there’s got to be a real reason to go to a shop nowadays. According to all the fellow comic fans I’ve directed to SH, that shop gives you that reason: good books in stock and a staff that knows their stuff.

  7. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but Hi De Ho in Santa Monica beats Secret Headquarters hands down. SH doesn’t even have back issues, and their selection, while cool and eclectic, is fairly laughable. It took me all of 15 minutes to skim over their entire inventory. I can spend a whole afternoon perusing the stock at Hi De Ho, and the geeks working there are almost maniacal in their knowledge of the medium. But Secret Headquarters is oh so hip.

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