BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET)— “I feel like comics are for everyone,” Cards, Games & More/Comic Realms Store Manager Wes Anderson said.
From X-Men to Iron Man, they and numerous board games can be found inside two stores in one: Cards Games & More and Comic Realms in Bismarck. Wes Anderson is originally from Oregon and has been living in North Dakota for about 12 years. He’s driven trucks, worked at a hotel, as well as in sanitation. Like anyone who comes home from a hard day’s work, he needed something to take his mind off things.
“Me and my buddy, I just moved him out here as well from Oregon, we were just trying to find something to do. We were cruising around town and we saw a little sign that said Cards Games in the window of a basement. And we started just hanging out and one thing led to another. I mean these are some of my best friends, some great people here. I can’t imagine spending time with anyone else,” Anderson said.
It’s not just his co-workers and customers he spends time with, he also leaps in a single bound from tale to tale of superheroes and villains. Anderson says his craving for comic books comes from his uncle. “Growing up, he would show up with a stack of books that he’d give me. If I read them all, he would bring me another stack. So, it gave me this passion for stories and reading as a child that’s followed me through today,” Anderson said.
Anderson admits managing a comic book store isn’t about wanting to earn as much money as there is in Gotham City Bank. “It’s a career of passion more than anything. I love my customers.
They walk in and it’s like an old friend,” Anderson explained.
“I just said to my mom: ‘We might be coming here a lot,'” 12-year-old comic book collector Ethan Nichols said. He’s not an old friend, but the Arkansas native is a friend of the store.
A lifelong Marvel fan, he says he started collecting comic books when he moved to North Dakota three years ago. “I suppose I always liked their origin stories and what gave them their super abilities if it’s either, you know, super strength or laser vision or whatever,” Nichols said.
Nichols comes to the store about once a week and says he never leaves empty-handed, using the money he earns from doing chores. KX News asked Nicholas to tell us about one comic book he’d love to have if he could have any. It took him a moment, but Nichols replied, “A first appearance of the Penguin.”
Lo and behold, like two birds of a feather, two comic book fans made a discovery together, finding a facsimile edition of the first appearance of the Penguin, complete with all the ads, which brought joy to Nichols’ face. “Anything for you, Ethan,” Anderson said. Though an original of the 82-year-old comic in similar condition would be worth $35,000, for a mere $6.99, Wes Anderson does business again with a satisfied customer.