Resources Where, oh, where can a comics creator find what they need in Boston? The list below is designed to be a comprehensive guide for you, the creator, to get started on your comics. What you need and where to get it.
The best thing to do when starting a comic is to familiarize yourself with what’s out there. If you’re having trouble finding titles beyond the standard superhero fare, you’re in luck. Some of the best comics shops in the country are right here in Boston.
This comics shop located in the windy streets of Harvard Square can be tough to locate, but it’s worth the effort. Million Year Picnic has been around for over 30 years, and has the unusual boast of catering to a large female readership. Great indie selection and great staff.
Easily the largest purveyor of comics in Boston, New England Comics caters more to mainstream crowds, though they carry a decent selection of indie comics. They’re also a publishing company, best known for The Tick comics.
Their motto of “Highbrow, lowbrow… and everything in between” sums up Comicopia pretty well. They seem to specialize in trade paperbacks, which are smartly shelved with an almost library feel.
With the surge in the popularity of comics, most bookstores have gotten in on the game. All the better for us, the creators, because it means more potential outlets for your work. Of course, general bookstores tend towards a narrower selection. Most will only carry trade paperbacks, and only those available through one of their normal distributors.
The last of a dying breed of independent bookstores in the Back Bay, Trident keeps a good selection for their small size.
Another great, independent bokstore, Brookline Booksmith has a huge new and used selection (though precious few used comics). A smart, hip staff will help you track down what you need if they don’t carry it. After you get your book, there’s lots of great places to read it over a cup of coffee in the neighborhood.
One of the best book shops in the country, the Harvard Bookstore is heaped in history and accolades. The comics section has grown to an impressive collection, and comics are often made staff picks. Be sure to visit the used books section downstairs (back left corner), where an occasional gem can be found on the cheap.
With all the art schools in Boston, there are no shortage of art supply stores. Some generalize, some specialize. The stores with a good stock are usually worth the trip if you have to travel.
Probably the largest art supply store in the Boston area, Pearl has a fantastic selection for “serious” artists. The staff can come off a bit… chafing, but they’ll almost certainly carry what you need, if they can be bothered to help you find it.
The Cambridge location is a quick walk down from Pearl and Artist & Craftsman, Utrecht carries a small general stock of pens and paper, and a good selection of paper and 3D art supplies.
For the cartoonist, Utrecht has a variety of high quality inks and technical pens. However, finding other brands of brushes, bristol board or drawing paper brands besides Utrecht’s own can be difficult. This can come down to a matter of preference.
The most generalized and non-threatening art store, Dick Blick has a large selection of art supplies, along with consumer goods items like stationary and nice pens. A clean, well-lit place for paper.
Boston offers a great selection of art classes through colleges and adult education programs. Look for bulletin boards at art supply shops for other advertised classes and drawing sessions, too.