Saturday, March 26, 2011

Treasure Trove

While searching for the Adventures of Jon Fury in Japan—a collection of a previously unreprinted series by “artist’s artist” Alex Toth that was not carried by my local comic-book store—I discovered it was available online at Stuart Ng Books. Fortunately, the company’s storefront is not too far from me in the Southbay area of L.A., so I was glad to save the shipping and take a trip down to the store to pick up the issue. This also was a perfect excuse for me to visit the store for the first time.

Cover to Jon Fury in Japan
I always enjoy visiting bookstores that specialize in artbooks—I’m fortunate that there are a few local to me—so it was a real treat to visit one that specializes in artbooks, graphic albums, and cartooning. (Ng is a regular exhibitor at the San Diego Comic-Con, where he generally emphasizes hard-to-find and upscale artbooks.)

Though no longer really the norm, comic-book stores used to have the reputation of looking like a boys’ clubhouse, with comics and magazines stored haphazardly in boxes or stacked to the ceiling. (Believe me, I’m not dissing this—the first comic-book stores I frequented back in the 1970s definitely fit this profile, and I have nothing but fond memories of my weekly pilgrimmages to these stores).

In contrast, by any standard, Ng’s store is extraordinarily clean, professional, and well-maintained. Located in a newish, non-descript business park in Torrance, a Southbay community in Los Angeles, the bookstore is airy and inviting, conducive to browsing.

In addition to artbooks that feature the work of a wide range of cartoonists and illustrators, there are also plenty of European graphic albums (many imported, meaning they’re not translated), sketchbooks by fan-favorite artists, and classic comics collections. Many of the items are rare and hard to find—indeed, I was interested to discover items I personally already own for sale at prices that reflect their rarity and desirability. Along the same lines, I spotted a book available there that was out of print at Amazon.

Anyone with an interest in cartooning, comics, commercial art, and illustration definitely owe it to themselves to visit the store if they are local or the website for hard to find items and collections.  

Visit the Stuart Ng Books website for address information and directions.

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