20,000 comics and counting

Anthony Goodall, owner of Avalon Comics and Games, has been collecting comics since he was 5 years old. He has read “The Hulk” more than 100 times. - Andy Jones/staff photo
Anthony Goodall, owner of Avalon Comics and Games, has been collecting comics since he was 5 years old. He has read “The Hulk” more than 100 times.
— image credit: Andy Jones/staff photo

Silverdale’s Avalon Comics and Games is Central Kitsap’s latest comic book destination.

Despite collecting comic books since he was 5 years old, Anthony Goodall thinks his collection hasn’t yet reached celebrity status.

“Nicolas Cage had a collection worth about $1.6 million,” he said. “I’m not yet in that ballpark but I’m trying. I’m aspiring.”

The hundreds of comic books neatly stacked in boxes in the table at the center of Avalon Comics and Games represent just a fragment of Goodall’s collection. Overall, Goodall, 34, has more than 20,000 comic books.

Though his father never had much interest in the hobby, he grabbed the 5-year-old Goodall a copy of “The Hulk”, at a 7-Eleven in California for 60 cents. By junior high school, he considered himself both an active reader and collector.

“Back then I mostly just looked at the drawings,” he said. “The comprehension wasn’t quite all there, but then I saw how the characters had so much depth.”

For sentimental reasons, he still considers “The Hulk” his favorite comic. He’s read it more than 100 times.

Like the other comics, he has no trouble finding it in his collection, which is meticulously arranged and alphabetical.

Following a number of years working in retail, Goodall now has another mission — to inspire a new legion of comic book fans.

In August he opened Avalon Comics and Games, located at 10408 Silverdale Way NW.

Along with the new batch of comics that ship in weekly, the store offers a number of toys and games, including special tournaments twice a month. It also offers painting classes, another way Goodall hopes to excite kids about the comics’ artistry.

Bryan Hatta comes to the store at least twice a week with a group of friends to play games such as War Machine, which consists of “epic amounts” of strategy.

Kasey Walton said he enjoys coming to the shop because it consistently brings in new comics.

“I pick up a ‘Hellboy’ comic every so often but I always come in if there is a new ‘Transformers’ or ‘Deadpool,’” he said.

Most of Goodall’s customers are in their 20s and 30s, a surprising development considering the comic book genre’s lack of popularity in the 1990s, when he said, “most kids were turning to video games and the Internet.”

He said the industry has resurged during the past decade due to the mass popularity of movies based on comic book heroes, as well as its ability to rebrand itself with less violence and improved chronicles.

“The story telling is phenomenal,” he said. “Some of the best writers and artists out there work with comics. It no longer is just a kid’s thing, it really appeals to older customers.”

Dana Andrus, store manager for The Comic Keep at 3627 Wheaton Way in East Bremerton, agreed and estimated the age of the average comic book buyer as between 18 and 25.

He said the most popular titles have been favorites for generations, like “X-Men,” “Spiderman” and “Batman.”

“The classics are still doing the best,” Andrus said.

Though Goodall admits he may have a little bias, his favorite comic of the past decade is Marvel’s newest edition of “The Hulk,” featuring Rulk, the Red Hulk.

“He was more devious and cunning, a different person altogether,” he said. “But it was cool to see a different take on ‘The Hulk.’”

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