I’ll admit it, I am a geek who doesn’t read many comics. I didn’t have too much interest in it until meeting my friend Jason Enright who works at Burbank’s Emerald Knights Comics & Games. Tucked away in the San Fernando Valley, not everyone has had a chance to visit this jewel of a store. The entire second floor is dedicated to table rentals and meeting spaces for RPG groups, Magic Tournaments and much more. Jason was my very first Game Master and he introduced me to the wide-world of role-playing and now I can’t get enough! Always looking to involve geeks of all ages, genders and sexual orientations, Jason and the rest of the Emerald Knights staff have also been working tirelessly to bring the local community together and creators in to meet fans.
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NERDS IN BABELAND: How long has Emerald Knights been open?
JASON ENRIGHT: We opened in December of 2008, so slightly over 2 ½ years
NIB: That’s pretty recent. Why Burbank?
JE: Burbank didn’t have a great community comics and gaming store. There were places to get your books and your dice, but nowhere you could play and meet new friends. We hope that we can be more than just the place you pick up your books. We want to be a destination where you go to see friends, play games, meet new people. That’s why we host meetup groups here and why we do so many events.
NIB: What kind of meetup groups do you host?
JE: We currently have our own EK meetup group and we host the Gay Board Gaymers, which is a group of LGBT gamers and their friends who love to play board games. We also have several D&D groups who first met through meetup.
NIB: That’s fantastic. Are you using other forms of social media besides meetup.com to attract new customers and to engage current customers?
JE: I run our Facebook page and our Twitter page and have been toying with the idea of doing a blog.
NIB: That could be fun. It’s always good to have an idea of what people are talking about online so you know what to focus on when stocking comics and planning events. On that note, tell me about your new Comics and Coffee program.
JE: Well, some friends and I were sitting around talking about comics one night, and his wife who we had recently gotten started on some books said, “you should do this weekly. You’re all so knowledgeable, this should be a thing.”
So now we get together every Monday night at 7 at the store and discuss comics. I realized that so many of our comic book customers come in get their stuff and go home, and never share their passion with others, so now we have a forum to do that.
We use the first Monday of the month for our book club night where discuss a new graphic novel that is chosen ahead of time. The other weeks are just for questions, discussion and to share what you have been reading and to find out what you’ve been missing and should be reading.
NIB: Sounds like an amazing program, especially for those of us that are new to comic books and graphic novels. Where can you find out about the book of the month?
JE: We have a Facebook group called Comics and Coffee. I normally tweet a lot about it and its on our website.
NIB: How is the book of the month chosen?
JE: The first two months I chose them, but now that we have a regular group we all vote.
NIB: Democracy in action. I love it. Have you thought about trying to contact any of the creative team behind your monthly selection to have them come in for the discussion?
JE: Yeah, I managed to make some good contacts at Comic Con and we actually have some special guests coming up.
Right now we have Mike Grell and Mark Ryan coming in on Sept. 26th to discuss their series Pilgrim from IDW comics, and Stephen Seagle is coming in on Oct. 3rd to discuss his graphic novel It’s a Bird!
We also are very excited to be hosting a number of writers and artists who are working on DC’s NEW 52 during the month of September
NIB: That sounds exciting! I’ll have to stop by myself. Just one last question, do you see many female customers in Emerald Knights?
JE: You know, we do see quite a lot of women, but it is my constant goal to see more and to find more ways to make the store appealing to women. My wife reads comics and she has some bad experiences at Comics stores and I want to make sure no one ever has that at my store.
NIB: Well, we always love to hear about female-friendly comic book shops. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.
JE: It was my pleasure.
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You can visit Emerald Knights at 4116 W. Burbank Blvd and online at:
Comics and Coffee FB Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/180254062029874/