What Does an 80 Year-Old War Veteran and a Child Who Can’t Spell Her Own Name Have in Common?
The ability to snag a 1970s mint edition of Batman vs. The Joker, hop over to T.J. Maxx to grab a pair of running shoes, and walk a few steps to get a touch-up on your nails at the salon can only begin to speak to the convenience factor in which we as modern Americans have situated ourselves comfortably. The Lakewood location of Mile High Comics is found at 98 Wadsworth Boulevard, Denver, CO 80226 in the confines of Fairfield Commons a.k.a a strip mall. The strip malls, Fairfield Commons and Lakewood Plaza, which overtake either side of the main boulevard that splits Lakewood in half offer a concentrated assortment of restaurants and stores that could be found anywhere else in America, but also a select few that are only found in Colorado namely Brothers BBQ and Black-Eyed Pea (both surprisingly southern-comfort restaurants).
Lakewood is a predominantly white, male-dominated area with the percentage of white men and women dominating virtually any other race at 88.5%. There is a near split down the middle between the sexes with males populating 50.9% of Lakewood and females at 49.1% which is a good sign for sake of having a balance between the sexes. However, even two/more races at 3.5% and Asian at 2.6% clock out above black or African-American at 1.2%. Considering the population of Lakewood, according to the U.S. Census/2013 American Community Survey, was 147,220 these percentages are even more dismal when put into such a perspective.
The area surrounding the comic book store is mostly residential. The streets end in cul-de-sacs of tended yards as far as the eye can see and none of the houses extend above the first story. The word ‘quaint’ doesn’t even begin to describe this nestling of old-fashioned American suburbia. That is until you get to Wadsworth Boulevard. At this point, a bustle that can only be described as a three-lane highway overtakes the one-story homes and yards making way for commercial chains and local businesses fishing for customers. In every driveway, at least one car can be found and rightfully so as the decision to reside in such an area calls for the use of a car. Most of the stores cannot be reached on foot unless you think yourself lucky in the popular metropolitan game of “dodging traffic” to get across the boulevard. If that doesn’t fit your idea of fun and you lack a car, there is the option of taking the bus, as there are lines that stop on either side of the boulevard and also in the neighboring cul-de-sacs behind the strip mall.
Finding respite from the burgeoning strip one can easily visit four parks in the area: O’Kane Park, Meadowlark Park, Bonvue Park, and Balsam Pond Park. All are relatively large with O’Kane Park being the largest and closest in relation to the comic book store, overshadowing the nearby residential areas with its greenery and large pond.
Mile High Comics offers the residents of Lakewood something different yet familiar at the same time. The store has been in the same location for 20 years and most reviewers note that they have been going to the store for years and have been exposing others they encounter to do the same. Comic books will, in my opinion, always have the nostalgia factor on their side, and the seed is planted in an older generation that demographically populates the Lakewood area.
What’s interesting to note is the Colorado Christian University and the South Lakewood Elementary school are only a block away from each other and reflects not only the family-centric nature of the residential suburbia but the outside influences and ideas of higher-learning minds that are emitted into the town and its businesses. What better customers for a comic book store to have than little children who love to read pictures and the university’s geek/nerd cultures that will shell out money they don’t have for collectibles? The comic book store acts, in a sense, as a bridge between the generations that populate the area. It is a space where people from all ends of the spectrum (male and female, young and old, black and white, etc.) can congregate under one roof within a culture that is shared amongst all of them and that can be fully expressed in this place specifically. When it comes to comic books, there is a kinship not often found between booklovers of say fiction or memoir in a normal bookstore. This shop offers something for everyone, no matter who the patron may be.
Mile High Comics Lakewood Store: http://www.milehighcomics.com/stores/Resources/nstored1.jpeg