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New downtown comic store opens up Multiverses

Multiverse Comics & Games is bringing much-needed comic books and “Yu-Gi-Oh!” tournaments to downtown Grinnell. The store opened on April 8 at 815 ½ 5thAve., across from Pagliai’s Pizza.

The store’s owner, Kyle Gonyea, was inspired to start Multiverse because there were no comic book stores in Grinnell, despite high demand. Gonyea, who is originally from Des Moines but has lived in Grinnell for five years, decided to fill the niche left empty by a successful store that closed around 10 years ago.

Board games, t-shirts, comics, books, graphic novels, and anime line the shelves at the Multiverse Comics and Games store. The store opened just three weeks ago and is located on 5th avenue downtown across from Pagliai's Pizza. Photograph taken by Aaron Barker.

“I’ve always been into this kind of stuff,” explained Gonyea, “the real push was when [the town] didn’t have one yet.”

Multiverse is successful so far, thanks to patronage of local high school and college students who previously had to drive to stores in Des Moines or Iowa City. Gonyea also attributes some success to his efforts to promote the store on Facebook.

“Even right at the beginning, business was pretty good,” he said, “and it’s been increasing since.”

Nearly half of the store is taken up with shelves of comic books.

“Quite a bit of our comics are DC or Marvel,” Gonyea said, “but we’ve got a lot of independents, too.”

Besides the stereotypical, average comic book, Multiverse also stocks graphic novels and Japanese manga books. For those comic fans in search of more obscure titles, Multiverse will place special orders. The store also features a bargain bin of vintage, unsorted comics sold for 25 cents each.

Beyond paper, the store sells a diverse selection of related goods. There are role-playing games such as “James Bond: Dr. No,” card games including the new, popular game based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu” and board games such as “Settlers of Catan,” along with stuffed anthropomorphic bricks and sheep, both pieces in the game.

In the near future, Multiverse plans to host game nights and tournaments for titles such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “Warhammer.” Gonyea is currently looking for qualified tournament judges for various games.

Aside from games and related paraphernalia, there are t-shirts, toys and used paperbacks, including “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels.

Now is a fortunate time for Multiverse Comics to open in Grinnell. Next Saturday, May 7, is Free Comic Book Day at stores around the country. This annual event is part of the comic book industry’s effort to support independent stores.

“We’ve got thirteen different comics we’re giving away,” said Gonyea. “Everybody gets to pick one.”

Among the titles on offer will be a “Magic: the Gathering” book and other free products like shopping bags and t-shirts.

Despite the “Thundercats” shirt he was wearing, Gonyea himself prefers DC superhero comics. His favorites include “Flash,” “Green Lantern” and “Batman.”

“I read a lot of science fiction comics like ‘Dr. Who’ or ‘Star Trek,’” he said.

Those wanting an introduction to Gonyea’s passion, the latest issue of “Wonder Woman” or a “Magic” booster deck would do well to check out Multiverse Comics and Games.

Multiverse is open Tuesday-Friday from 1 p.m. To 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.. And don’t forget—next Saturday is Free Comic Day!

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  • C

    Cool BreezeMay 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Great article, Ty Ty! Keep up the good work.

  • S

    Stephen JacobsApr 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    It’s great to have a game and comic shop back in Grinnell and I certainly wish him luck. I’ll definitely be a regular customer. I was sad to have to close my shop, The Chaos Bazaar, back in 2001, and I’m happy someone has taken up the task once again.