MONTICELLO — Spring continues to be a super-heroic time for the city with first “Avengers: Endgame” coming out on April 25, Monticello-Union Township Public Library celebrating Comic Book Day on May 4, and the first comic shop in about 25 years opening on May 25.
Jim Rhone, owner of Creative Comics in Griffith, will be opening his second shop in Monticello at 415 E. Washington St. — by American Legion Post 81 — and is planning for the grand opening that Saturday.
The 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. event will include specials and special guests, some of which are still being confirmed — including a possible wrestling star.
Rhone said that announcements for the guests at Creative Comics 2 — as well as sales and new releases — will be made on the Creative Comics Facebook page.
The store will also carry games, figurines and other items common to comic shops and the cultures they serve, including dabbling in sports cards.
He first began visiting the Monticello area about two to three years ago when he bought a vacation house.
“It’s nice and quiet down here,” Rhone said, adding that he saw the potential for expanding his 16-year-old business from his hometown.
“There’s no other shop for about an hour away. Hopefully. we’ll find fans,” he said. “It’s something different that has not been here for a while.”
That it’s a good market seems likely given the reception his comic book giveaways and contest had at Lake Shore Drive-In when it showed the “Avengers” movie opening weekend.
“I talked to a lot of gamers,” so he knows from those at the drive-in that there’s a market for that, he said.
Rhone also talked with many local businesses to see how well they survive during winter.
He learned that people come from Logansport to patronize unique businesses.
“As soon as we open this, we’ll see people come,” he said.
He developed his philosophy about the shop at a comic convention more than 16 years ago.
A professional asked those who were intending to open shops what their marketing strategy would be and how they’d stand out to last more than a few years.
Some said a concentration on games or books or sport memorabilia, but for him it was the customers’ enjoyment.
“It’s all about having a good experience,” he said.
Creative Comics will differ a lot from the comic store in the Lafayette area because that is more of a book store that includes novelties geared to college-aged people.
He added that his first Griffith store was near a school and offered more candy, snacks and sodas.
“I think this store will be the same. It’s going to be more of a kid-oriented store,” Rhone said.
There’s already an area mapped out that will have comics geared to younger readers, and he’ll offer half off kids’ books on weekends.
The store will be open from Wednesday through Sunday.
Customers receive a 25 percent discount on new releases and 15 percent discount on toys, regardless of whether or not they “subscribe” to regular monthly titles the store will put aside for them.
For the future, Rhone plans to host gaming at the shop for people who just want to play together somewhere.
There will also be gaming tournaments.
Creative Comics owns the building it is moving into and is renovating the lower level.
However, there are water problems and a lot of work to be done to fix it up first, Rhone said.
His business is sanctioned by Wizards of the Coast and other game distributors for official events and sales, he said.
Creative Comics won’t host any conventions, but Rhone will try to bring some here.
He also has no plans for any cosplay — where fans wear elaborate costumes of comic book, movie, anime and other characters.
However, he’d be open to help sponsor something like a cosplay day at Indiana Beach, he said.
Rhone also hopes to work with the Logansport Batcon that celebrates Batman.
And he’s open to working with local artists as he has been in Griffith.
Although Rhone is considering retirement at the Monticello home, he isn’t planning to move his entire business here.
“Griffith’s home base. I’m well established. I like the customers there,” he said.
He knows many of them by name or by what they prefer to buy.