Issues abound: Kalispell Comics opens on Main Street

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Joe Knowles sorts through some of the comics he has collected over 22 years at the new location of Kalispell Comics on Tuesday, May 27, in Kalispell. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

Joe Knowles has issues.

Knowles, 41, has been collecting comic books for over 22 years and has amassed a collection of over 18,000 comics. Knowles and his wife, Christi, are opening Kalispell Comics at 445 S. Main St. in Kalispell.

The store’s motto: “We’ve got issues.”

“The dream has always been there,” Knowles said. “I’ve always collected comics, but the dream has turned into something in the last two months.”

DC Comics’ “Death of Superman” storyline in 1992 — where Superman dies — started the fire for Knowles.

“I started with the ‘Death of Superman.’ It was a huge storyline in 1991-92.

“What I remember about it is that I was watching ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and they said that Superman No. 75 was selling in the secondary market for $75 and I thought, ‘That’s a $3 comic selling for $75.’ So that’s what got me into it. I never would have dreamed that it would have led to this. I’ve been collecting ever since.”

Knowles will sell 4,000 comics from his personal collection. He said if a customer comes in looking for something specific that he doesn’t have in the store but has at home, he will delve further into his collection.

However, there are a few with which he won’t part, including the “Ultimate Spiderman” collection and a “Death of Superman” copy autographed by writer Dan Jurgens.

Along with new comics and back issues, Kalispell Comics will sell cards, including Magic cards, graphic novels, toys and collectibles from brands such as Marvel, DC and Image. Eventually, Kalispell Comics also will buy comics from people looking to sell.

Current comic book prices range from about $2.99 to $10. At Kalispell Comics, prices will range from $1 up to a couple of hundred dollars, with older issues being more expensive.

THE KNOWLES FAMILY moved to Kalispell in 2009. Since then, Joe said, he’s discovered there is a market for comic books in town. A former co-worker boasts a collection of over 12,000 comics and he’s met other collectors in town. So far, Knowles said he has received a positive reaction from community members he’s spoken to while working at Walmart.  

“Everyone that I’ve talked to at the cash register has said, ‘Oh yeah, that would be great; that would be so fun,’” Knowles said of opening the store. “I think with all the new movies that are coming out, it will play right into that as well.”     

Prior to Kalispell Comics’ opening, the nearest comic-books store was in Missoula.

Joe and Christi, originally from Helena, plan to make Kalispell Comics as family friendly as possible. They have four children ranging from 3 to 21. The store will feature a children’s corner where children can watch TV and play.

What Joe is looking forward to most is seeing and meeting the people who come into his store.

“I’m very much a people person. I love meeting all kinds of new people. I’m hoping it does well. That’s probably what scares me the most is failing. It’s so scary but so cool at the same time.”

Find Kalispell Comics on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KalispellMTComics. Call 406-533-5499.

Reporter Brittany Brevik may be reached at 758-4459 or by email at bbrevik@dailyinterlake.com.

More than 4,000 comics begin to line the shelves at the new location of Kalispell Comics on Tuesday, May 27, in Kalispell. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

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