Lifelong collector runs welcoming bookstore
Customers do not need to be obsessed with superheroes to appreciate Junior’s Comics and Cards.
The Slaughter Lane shop stocks comic books, trading cards, games and memorabilia that may appeal to the first-time visitor as well as the dedicated fan.
“Everyone liked this stuff when we were kids. Everyone watched ‘Pokmon.’ Everyone played ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and ‘Super Mario Bros.’ So now we’re all older and still have that nostalgia like, ‘I used to play this game. Now I want a big pillow of it,'” owner Henry Buchanan Jr. said.
Comics have been a constant in Buchanan’s life since he was 4 years old.
His father, Henry Buchanan Sr., served in the U.S. Air Force, so the self-described military brat never lived in one place for very long before moving to Austin. The first things he considered his own were his G.I. Joe and Transformers comics.
“I would go down to the [post exchange, a general store on base] and buy them,” he said. “Sometimes, when we would only stay in a place for four months, it’s hard to make friends. But I could keep up with comics.”
Buchanan Sr. started selling merchandise at comic book conventions in 1991. He opened the store in 1993 and named it after his son. Buchanan Jr. bought the shop from his father 10 years ago.
“When we first opened the shop, it was predominantly comics and trading cards,” he said. “Since pop culture really exploded and with the Internet, we have completely diversified.”
Junior’s hosts game nights for trading card games such as “Magic the Gathering,” “Pokmon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh.”
Customer David Tovar said he has been buying cards at Junior’s for two-and-a-half years.
“[Junior’s] is about chilling out, relaxing and having a good time,” he said.
Buchanan Jr. said business is good. He said he loves talking about comics all day and sharing them with his son.
“I honestly just love to read them,” he said. “You flip through and catch up on the stories. These were characters you grew up with. You want to see what’s going on in their lives and in their world.”
About the merchandise
- “The Walking Dead” comic, Batman, the Avengers and Justice League of America are best-sellers.
- Publishers will package an entire storyline into a single collection, called a trade paperback. Trade paperbacks sell well because casual readers want to read a story from beginning to end, owner Henry Buchanan Jr. said.
- Comic books based on TV series and movies (e.g. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and TV/movies based on comic books (e.g. The Avengers) are popular, he said.
- Subscribers—Fans who follow a comic book and buy each week’s issue—are the bulk of Junior’s business, Buchanan Jr. said. New issues arrive on Wednesdays.
Female customers’ preferences
- Women and girls tend to purchase manga (Japanese comics) and comics with prominent female characters, such as the Vertigo comic “Fables,” Buchanan Jr. said.
- Buchanan Jr. has a few serious collectors he calls when he finds a high-profile collectible. He sold a copy of “Fantastic Four” Vol. 1, No. 48—the first appearance of the Silver Surfer—in a few minutes for an undisclosed sum.
Free Comic Book Day
- Junior’s plans to participate in Free Comic Book Day on May 4.
Trading card games 101
Junior’s Comics and Cards sells many types of trading card–based games, including “Magic: the Gathering” and “Yu-Gi-Oh.”
“In the ‘Magic’ game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge and conquest,” according to Wizards of the Coast, publisher of “Magic: The Gathering.” “Your deck of cards represents all of the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.”
In the “Yu-Gi-Oh” game, two players duel each other using monster, spell and trap cards to defeat their opponents’ monsters and be the first to drop the other’s life points to zero, according to its publisher, Konami.
2110 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. 147, 512-282-1302
- Mon. Tue. noon–7 p.m.
- Wed. Thu. and Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Fri. 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
- Sun. noon–6 p.m.