Present: Place & People – Mile High Comics – A Haven For Nerds
Mile High Comics Glendale is a lively bookstore in the middle of Colorado. For customers used to Barnes & Noble, though, this store is going to come as a surprise. Although some people might not consider comics “real books”, to me, the store certainly adds to the variety the literary world has to offer. The Glendale branch is one out of four of the chain’s locations in the larger Denver metro area. Its location is also where its name, fitting to the “Mile-High City”, came from. The chain was founded in 1969 by Chuck Rozanski and has been thriving in its store locations and internet presence ever since (Mile High Comics). Located in Skyline Center, a strip mall connected to Belcaro Shopping center, the store is mainly, though not exclusively, accessible by car (Map).
In spite of its location almost directly inside of Denver, the Town of Glendale was formed to establish independence from the city. Though it is recognized as a town, it functions a lot like a neighborhood that has a great number of commuters who inhabit apartments there and work in the city (City of Glendale). Contrary to this, the selection of businesses available makes Glendale seem almost suburban. Many of the businesses directly surrounding the comic store focus on home decor and beauty and there is also a fair share of chain restaurants and some hotels (Map). The predominantly white population of the area is likely to have promoted this movement (Glendale Population and Demographics). In the map below, you can see the Denver area. If you zoom into where you can see a lot of green pins, you’ll be able to observe Glendale more closely.
Because of the bookstore’s fortunate location close to larger traffic routes, it is easily accessible for people from the area and further. With the University of Denver only 10 minutes and the University of Colorado – Denver only 15 minutes away, the comic bookstore that sells both books as well as action figures and other related supplies is often, according to the owner’s own accounts, very busy (Map, Mile High Comics).
Within the town of Glendale, there are vast recreational sites and the community-owned Infinity Park for sports and entertainment dominates its Internet presence (City of Glendale). In spite of this emphasis on sports, Mile High Comics is not the only available bookstore (Map). Firstly, there is the independent The Bookies that is bound to charm with its community centered scope. It is exactly what Linda Miller, the author of “Reluctant Capitalists” looks for in place of communal encounters: knowledgeable staff, events and a homey atmosphere (The Bookies, Miller). The town’s third bookstore is, as it could have been expected, a Barnes & Noble (Map). The area’s variety of bookstores is quite interesting to observe. There is Mile High Comics, a specified store belonging to a smaller, regional chain. Then there is The Bookies, which in many ways can be seen as the traditional, independent bookseller. Lastly, there is Barnes & Noble, the bookshop everyone knows from every other town in the United States. The fact that when I searched “Barnes & Noble Glendale” in Google, the search engine offered me a store in Glendale, WI, Glendale, CA, and one in Glendale, CO, says enough about the omnipresent status the chain has.
Still, the comic store is able to compete against these other stores in its neighborhood. Perhaps, one of the reasons for this is its specialization. According to a list online that, though it may look unofficial, claims to base its results on research, Denver is among the nerdiest cities in the United States (Nelson) . What the actual scientific grounds for these claims are remains questionable, but the facts speak for themselves: in a city with a population of around 750,000, there are four Mile High Comics stores, as well as several bookstores that either focus on other literary genres or that address a more general audience. Citizens with an associate’s degree or higher account for around 56% of Glendale’s population and the two aforementioned universities alone add another 15,000 young, temporary residents to the area, many of which would, due to their occupation, be expected to be thirsty for knowledge and gathering places to exchange their passions (Princeton Review – University of Denver, Princeton Review – University of Colorado at Denver, Point2Homes – Denver, Map). Most importantly, Denver is home to its very own annual comic convention. 2014, in its third year, the convention drew 86,500 visitors to Denver (Alverson). The fact that the city that Glendale is directly connected to has so many aspects that make it “nerdy” makes it a prime spot for Mile High Comics and from its online presence, it looks like a generally great bookstore to go to.
From the map of the surroundings of Glendale and Denver, we can see that the area seems to have a large interest in education and reading. The specific scope of the store and its selection really makes the store, to put it in Tim Cresswell’s words, a place and not a mere space (Cresswell). According to the chain’s website, on Wednesdays the store is like a magnet for the comic community. That’s the day when the new books come in and the store is at its busiest (Mile High Comics). It’s community events like this that distinguish the store and allow it to survive in a city full of other bookstores and in a town that seems to put a huge focus its sports.
Google Maps: Mile High Comics Glendale (https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/1/edit?hl=en&authuser=1&mid=z-QrZKvOWClE.ki7L80EPscx4)
Google Street View: Mile High Comics Glendale (https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-104.940233,3a,75y,42.86h,93.28t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sfKjECKOwO9YAAAQW-b84SQ!2e0!3e2?hl=de-DE)
Miller, Laura J. Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
Cresswell, Tim. Place . Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Print.
Mile High Comics http://www.milehighcomics.com/
City of Glendale http://www.glendale.co.us/
Glendale Colorado Population and Demographics Resources http://glendale.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm
The Bookies http://www.thebookies.com/
Nelson, Randy. “The 10 Nerdiest Cities in America.” The 10 Nerdiest Cities in America Comments. Movoto Blog, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
Point2Homes – Denver, CO http://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CO/Denver-Demographics.html
Princeton Review – University of Denver http://www.princetonreview.com/UniversityofDenver.aspx
Princeton Review – University of Colorado at Denver http://www.princetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeBasics.aspxiid=1022758
Alverson, Brigid. “Comics A.M. | Denver Comic Con Attendance Grows to 86,500 – Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources.” Robot 6 Comic Book Resources RSS. CBR Comic Book Resources, 16 June 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.