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Comic book geeks everywhere, take note: Sapulpa now has a comic shop!
Route 66 Comics and Collectibles, located at 17 S. Park, is every bit the traditional comic shop, with plenty of new offerings.
After weeks of renovating and painting and stocking, the store had its soft opening a week ago, and as General Manager Aaron Witten puts it, it was a great response.
As Witten begins talking about the inventory on the shelves, and the products in the display cases, its obvious that he’s a seasoned pro at comic books, and has likely been reading them all his life.
“I read my first comic in 2018 or 2019,” he said.
“I was always a big Star Wars fan, and the last really big convention we had in this area was called the Tulsa Pop Culture Expo, and they had big actors and some comic book artists that they brought in for the show, so I went there and one of the artists was the main cover artist for Dr. Aphra from Star Wars.”
Witten said he went through one of the booths and saw one Dr. Aphra comics and was struck by the comic book art, and the chance to have it signed by the artist. He did so, and then he actually read the book.
“I was hooked,” he said.
“I started collecting Dr. Aphra and reading all the issues. I’m thinking, ‘okay, this is really good,'” he said.
It wasn’t long before he was reading all the Star Wars comics he could get his hands on, quickly becoming more familiar with the characters, the plots and the timelines for those stories.
Witten said when he got on social media and began interacting with like-minded comic book geeks on Facebook, he got more interested in Marvel.
“The Guardians of the Galaxy movie had just come out, and that’s supposed to be about comics,” he said. “So I’d go and read all about those. It allowed me to go deeper and really enriched things for me.”
While many of the readers had read the stories and were approaching the movies with the critical eye of whether or not they held to the source material, Witten said he thought people should look at them as separate versions of the same story.
“I kind of try to treat them separately,” he said. “I have two viewpoints when I’m going to watch a movie that’s based on some written media, whether it’s a comic book or something else. First, a movie is meant to entertain you, so if I leave the theater and I have questions or certain things that make me think, ‘Why did this happen?’ then maybe it wasn’t that good for me, But if it answers all the questions, I walk out happy, and the movie really did its job, which is to entertain you for two hours.”
“The other thing is, I like to let the writers tell their stories,” he said. I don’t like to go in with a preconceived notion that it needs to be like this because the comic was like that. I go in and I say, ‘I want to see this person’s take on this character.'”
Witten says that opening his own comic store was part of a way to enjoy his own hobbies, but he also saw that there was a need for a shop like this in the area. “I’ve lived here my whole life and as far back as I can remember, there was never a collectibles store,” he said. “There’s a place every now and again that would have some collectibles or comic, but it wasn’t really focused on that. I would have to drive to Tulsa 15 or sometimes 25 minutes into town to go pick up the books I wanted to read.”
“It’s a market that needs it,” he continued. “People here, in Sand Springs, Bristow, Kellyville, they want to have a place to go,” he said.
Witten’s partner in the business is Chris Bourget, who owns Shadow Mountain Comics near 61st and Sheridan in Tulsa. Bourget’s parents live in Sapulpa, and so he and Witten said that Sapulpa was the perfect place to open the shop. “There’s a big downtown revitalization that they’re doing and we wanted to get in on the ground floor,” Bourget said.
“We have roots here,” Witten said. “So when the opportunity came along, we just said, let’s go for it.
Rout 66 Comics and Collectibles has plenty of comics, but don’t discount the wall of action figures or the quality of the collectibles behind the display cases. The very much caters to the serious collector, but can also be a great starting point for anyone looking to get started in comics or just wants to enjoy other pop culture items.
“You may not be into comic books, but you really like Transformers. We’ve got some Transformers, toys, stuff like that. It’s really something of a pop culture haven,” he said.
Route 66 Comics and Collectibles is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 6pm, and will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for restocking the store for the new Wednesday comic releases. They’re open now but expect to have a grand opening party soon. You can sign up for email updates and single-issue subscriptions at route66comics.com