Store Review: Alakazam Comics
Phone: (949) 854-3744
Address: 4237 Campus Drive, Suite B162, Irvine, California, 92612 USA
Nestled between a bakery and a lunch place in the strip mall across the street from the University of California at Irvine, intrepid cyclists (or slightly more intrepid SoCal motorists) will find Alakazam Comics. (If you prefer more recognizable SoCal landmarks, it’s near the Trader Joe’s and the In-N-Out.)
A small shop, this location does not have space for a game room or Gatherings. But if you are really in need of a place to sit and read, you can always take your purchases outside to the nearby picnic tables and sunshine.
The first and last thing that I noticed was an overabundance of gaming cards—used and new—for sale. Likely due to the shop’s limited size, it does not boast a particularly wide selection of comic books, manga, and graphic novels.
Something I hadn’t seen before in a comic book shop was a small shelf of book rentals, which seemed like an interesting way to cut the library out of the equation (and to get books to a range of interested readers).
Hark a Vagrant caught my eye from under the cash register and, in the spirit of Gift-mas, I took home a Batman shirt for a loved one. There was also a rather large vending machine selling those tiny figure ball toys that are the perfect size for your baby cousin to put in her mouth when you are not looking for exactly one second. Don’t worry, she’s fine now.
The shop has a range of figurines, miniatures, collectibles, apparel, and—my personal favorite—stationery available. As a non-duster living in a desert, I am consistently impressed by shops that manage to keep display items dust free, so well done there.
Those looking to acquire the board game Carcassonne will be SPOTI (stuck playing on the iPad—and has anyone figured out how to play the dragon version without ending their marriage?) or SWC (stuck with Catan—the store had a full shelf of variations on the theme).
Despite indications to the otherwise on trusty ole Yelp, 100% of my interactions with the clerk were completely reasonable. Upon entering the store, I was asked “Can I help you find anything?” After browsing for an amount of time, I was told “Just let me know if you have any questions.”
Although I failed to take the clerk up on either offer, I found out from their website that they buy all manner of pop culture paraphernalia and that Alakazam! Comics was started by Marco Davanzo in 1999. If you can’t be bothered to look at Yelp, know that their price range is two dollar signs, they take credit cards, and they claim to be wheelchair accessible (but it’s crowded in there!). So now you know.