“As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to have my own comic book store,” Rust said. “It took long enough, but it’s a reality now.”
His store, Red Fox Comics, opened last week (the name being an in-joke with his wife referring to a gag on “Trigger Happy TV,” a British “Candid Camera”-style show). It anchors the west end of the local comic book store scene; it joins Hollow Mountain Comics in East Lansing and Clem’s Comics, Stephen’s Way and Fun 4 All in Lansing.
Rust, 39, has no employees, but said he will be hiring as the business grows.
Rust doesn’t fit the “Comic Book Guy” stereotype —he’s not condescending to neophytes, and no, he doesn’t have a basement full of boxes of comic books.
“I had to sell most of my stuff in my earlier years, so my personal collection only goes back to mid-‘90s,” he said. “I kind of got out of it, but when I started going to Comic Cons in recent years, it reignited an old flame.”
The 1,400-square-foot store is on Lansing’s west side, just west of the Lansing Mall. Red Fox Comics will start with all new releases, but Rust said as time goes on, he hopes to supplement his stock with older books. His store also specializes in an array of comics-related merchandise, as well as paperbacks and graphic novels.
“(Comics) used to be only for the nerdy guys like myself, but now they’re chic because of the movies,” Rust said. “If you’re a fan of the movie, you’re a fan of the character. I doubt if most girls would know about Green Arrow if not for the ‘Arrow’ TV show, but they wear shirts with him on it. (This business) is more than just about comics.”
He’s not going to be stocking any gaming materials, and hasn’t started carrying busts or figurines (yet). He said his personal favorite is Aquaman, but that a lot of people have an inherent misconception about what the comics world encompasses.
“Comic books aren’t just cloaks and capes,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that ‘Walking Dead’ is a graphic novel. The popularity of (comics) is just so huge right now.”
But he has mixed emotions about the industry he loves going mainstream.
“When you used to go to a Comic Con, you used to be able to just show up and walk right in,” he said. “”Now you’re waiting three-and-a-half hours to get in.”
It’s a good problem to have.
Red Fox Comics 723 Brookside Drive, Lansing Noon-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday; noon- 5 p.m. Sunday (517) 574-4974, redfoxcomics. co, facebook.com/ redfoxcomics