Best Comic Shop

Fantom Comics
2010 P St. NW, second floor, (202) 241-6498
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Fantom Comics isn’t just a comic book shop. It’s a comic community hub where all are welcome. Esther Kim, who plays a dual role as the store’s manager and its friendly, smiling ambassador, says that’s been her mission ever since the shop moved out of Union Station and into its new Dupont Circle space last July. Though she’s not technically the store owner, it would be hard to tell otherwise. Kim is usually the one to greet each visitor as they walk through the door. Each morning, she’s one of the first employees to arrive. And at night, she’s one of the last employees to leave. To Kim, it’s a labor of love. “I’m basically building my dream comic book store,” says Kim. “I wanted to create a welcoming and safe space for anyone who’s into comic books.” To build that sense of community, the shop regularly hosts book clubs, ladies’ nights, geeky burlesque shows, meetups for local comic book collectives Square City Comics and DC Conspiracy, artist workshops, and make-your-own comic drawing sessions. The shop also carries zines, comics, and graphic novels from D.C. authors and small press publishers that aren’t found in major bookstores. “These are the best people I’ve ever met,” says Kim. “I want everyone that comes here to know that you’ve found your people, that you’ve found your world.”

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