The main room is almost empty — the only signs of life are some scattered planks and tools. The interior walls are a vibrant blue, shining with a luster that only recently painted surfaces have.
Walking further, there are some empty rooms and lifeless alcoves among more signs of construction and painting. It’s almost impossible to tell that this place used to be a hair salon, save for the occasional poster or framed picture left behind in the empty building.
It’s hard to imagine that, by May, this will be the first comic store Oxford has had in years – but that’s exactly the case.
Future Great Comics, a comic book and gaming store currently located in Hamilton, is moving to Oxford’s Uptown business district this spring. The store sells products ranging from comic books, to card and board games to Dungeons and Dragons products. It is expected to open May 1.
Bryan LeVick, owner of Future Great Comics, explained the move was due to customers he already had at the store and available space in Oxford.
“[At the Hamilton store], there were a lot of good customers from Oxford, including professors and students,” LeVick said. “So when I saw this ‘for rent’ sign in Oxford, it looked like the right deal, and I decided I had to jump on it.”
The shop is replacing the Madison Lee Hair Salon, a business that closed last year in the midst of the pandemic. LeVick said the shop could bring many benefits to the city.
“[When the Hamilton store opened], Hamilton had never had a comic store, so it was nice to give people interested in gaming and comics another outlet,” LeVick said. “Oxford hasn’t really had a store like this either, so I’m hoping to give residents another outlet as well. The shop lets people get away from the norm of their everyday lives.”
JS Bragg is the assistant director of Student Activities at Miami University and an advisor to the League of Geeks, a collection of student organizations devoted to gaming, comics and roleplaying games. As a board game and comic enthusiast, he said he’s excited to see another gaming store open in Oxford.
“There was [one other gaming store] in the past ten years — the location wasn’t great, and it wasn’t really an easily accessible or known place to students,” Bragg said. “[Future Great Comics] has a great location that’s really accessible for students — I’m thrilled for both the Oxford and Miami community and the people that like this type of thing.”
Bragg also said the shop will give students interested in ‘geeky’ things a place in town to pursue their interests.
“The community has a desire for a place like this,” Bragg said. “Anything that can help build community amongst a group of people who historically have struggled to find that community or have been treated poorly is a welcome addition to Oxford.”
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
Junior computer science major Isaac Nelson, president of Miami’s Strategy Gaming Club and president-elect of the League of Geeks, is one of the students who will be frequenting the store in the future. The Warhammer fan is looking forward to having something new to do in Oxford.
“I really wanted a gaming store ever since I moved here — I’m from Florida, so I don’t have a way to drive to other gaming stores in the area,” Nelson said. “There’s nothing in Oxford, so it’s nice to have an actual store for something like this.”
Students from Talawanda High School (THS) are excited as well. Nathan Hall is a senior at THS and frequently reads comics and plays “Dungeons and Dragons.”
“Oxford doesn’t really have anything you can do in it, and [the store] adds something else other than just walking around Walmart,” he said. “I’m excited for it.”
The store is expected to benefit more than just students, however.
Glenn Ellerbe is on Oxford’s City Council and serves on multiple commissions focused on student–community relations and community improvement. He is a former competitive “Magic: the Gathering” (a collectible card game) player and believes the store will help both the town and the university.
“Coming from the viewpoint of just economic development in Oxford, I want as many different opportunities as a resident or visitor of Oxford can have,” Ellerbe said. “One of those big holes is board games, graphic novel type things, card games or role-playing games. Most of the time in other college towns, there’s going to be a store that caters to that crowd, so I think [Future Great Comics] would do quite well here.”
Ellerbe said the store could create a sense of community for one that can sometimes not have one.
“The [gaming/comic] population is sorely underrepresented in town – the store might foster a community because Oxford can be a cliquey place,” he said. “Overall, it’s a good thing that a hole in Oxford’s community can be filled to create a community hub.”