Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Adventures in Boston

Friday morning we flew up to Boston, where Katrina attended the first ever NerdCon. As the event was specifically catered for a fraction of the massive YouTube community (i.e. not my cup of tea) I went to explore the historical city on my own. Boston is a really cool place with a lot of geeky places to go and things to do.
Trident Booksellers and Cafe is a two-story bookstore and cafe with a full kitchen serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After checking into the hotel it was our first stop on Friday morning. The food was amazing and the book selection was killer. Lots of public domain classics, self-help, independently published, and all kinds of books you don’t normally see at a bookstore. This is where I picked up a copy of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines, a post apocalyptic zombie novel starring superheroes. They also had great bagels.

There are over a dozen Newbury Comics in the Boston area, but we went to their first location that’s actually on Newbury Street and boy was it big. Three huge rooms filled with comics, manga, cards, toys, posters, and clothing and music for those kinds of people. We stopped by after breakfast and there wasn’t enough time to see everything, so I went back on Saturday and picked up a copy of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball prequel Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, which I finished on the plane and man is it awesome. Check out my review here.

While looking for some lunch on Saturday I popped into Muji, a Japanese home and office supply store that offers quality products at an affordable price. The had a lot of products that are common in anime but never for sale anywhere else. Notebooks, gel pens, storage bins, all kinds of stuff. And you can stamp them after you buy them! Besides Boston, they’re only in LA and New York, but luckily their online store carries a large range of their products.

One thing that was really surprising was the large Asian community in Boston. Katrina and I noticed it right away and contributed it to being a big college town. (Pittsburgh itself isn’t very Asian, but the areas near the universities are.) In addition to food and some shops, a lot of the text, like labels and instructions and mall maps, are in English and Japanese the same way they are in English and Spanish in our community. It’s no wonder Boston is Muji’s first location outside of New York and LA.

Comicopia was a bit of a walk away from where we were, but it was worth it. Space wise it was smaller than Newbury’s smallest room, but that just means the selection was JAMMED in there. Walls and walls of comics and manga and pretty much JUST comics and manga. Newbury was all about being a pop culture paradise, but Comicopia was all about comics and I honestly think they had more to offer than Newbury. It also seemed pretty inclusive and friendly, there were lots of rainbow flags and a Black History Month shelf with a huge Black Lives Matter sign above it.

Among the shelves I noticed some more eclectic stuff never see anywhere or straight up have never heard of, including books from international artists, things outside of the superhero genre. It’s small, but it’s not your average comic shop. After looking over every shelf twice I walked out with a copy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters crossover.

I checked out a few other places throughout the weekend and did shop for some more geeky things, but a lot of it wasn’t Boston specific. While I was about I stopped at a Macy’s, GameStop, etc. On my way down town I saw a bus stop ad for the new Samurai Jack series. While walking through a park I did stumble upon a game of quidditch and an amateur film crew shooting a Spongebob…. uh… something.

Boston was awesome. I had a lot of fun, but didn’t get to do as much as I wanted. I stayed mostly in the Back Bay area and relied only on my own two feet for transportation. I didn’t get to make it out to some of the gaming shops I wanted to and some of the places I went to ended up being closed or not worth sharing. I really want to go back one day and I highly recommend making the trip if you can.