Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome to Cult Classics, where our resident Miami expert Patricia Guarch Wise delves into our city's oh-so-fashionable history. Take out your notebooks, ladies and gents, because you're about to be schooled, Miami style.Images via Karli Evans
On the corner of 40th street and Bird Road is a strip mall containing a lingerie boutique, a psychic, Miami Twice and a petite comic book store anchoring the very end. A&M Comics is a tiny storefront with images of all your favorite superheroes faded from the sun in the windows. The store has been serving the comic book and collectibles community since 1974 and Jorge Perez, the current owner, has been there for just about as long.
Before we get to more about Jorge I should tell you what the store looks like. I've driven by the corner my whole life, and my whole, life I've said that I want to go in there to explore – but I guess I'd never thought much about what it would look like. In short, it looks exactly as it should. The small, windowless space is positively packed with comic books and collector's items, literally to the ceiling. There are piles and piles of books and figurines hanging everywhere with stacks and stacks of comics along the edges of two aisles, both so narrow you have to brush against someone to pass them. Familiar faces like Godzilla, Sailor Moon and Batman stare at you from all over the store. It's wonderful.
A&M is exactly the experience I want out of a collectibles store— to feel like I'm discovering some great find and tapping into some underground culture. Even though nowadays, comic books feel like mainstream pop culture, the real comic book world is a deep, dark hole filled with endless reading options.
There to guide you through the underworld is Jorge, who's been working there since he was nineteen and saw the store go through a whole bunch of owners before finally taking the helm himself. He talks about how he found an amazing pink vinyl box with a wig in it, about how he feels bad for Alan Moore because Frank Miller always trumps him, about buying a box of Olympic bobsled medals. He talks and talks and is generally a great kind of independent storeowner – the kind that you can always go in and chat with and he'll remember you and have a recommendation ready. He started working in the comic book store as a summer job, however it's become his life.
If you're looking to take a deep dive beyond the comic book blockbusters, come into A&M Comics. If you're just looking for a good chat and a cool, weird place to explore, definitely come into A&M Comics.
· All Cult Classics Posts [Racked Miami]