Modern Myths gets creative

NORTHAMPTON – Comic books tend to have a childish stigma attached to them, but to some, they are the defining mythological stories of our culture. And the appropriately named Modern Myths, a comic book store in Northampton, clearly conveys that idea.
Modern Myths is an independent comic book and graphic novel store first opened by Jim Crocker, who handed the reigns over to Mike Gendreau in July of 2011.
The store is unique in that it not only provides a welcoming environment for customers and employees from various backgrounds, but the staff actually takes the time to help encourage the creative talents of its customers.
Case in point: during the weekend of April 13, renowned comic book writer J.M DeMatteis (whose credits include Spider-Man, Captain America and The Spectre) will be appearing for a writer’s workshop.
This is not the first instance, nor will it be the last. Just recently, Scott Allie, the Senior Managing Director of Dark Horse Comics, also made an appearance at the store, talking about how he manages story ideas and breaks the down the scripts.
Even without regular visits from professional writers & editors, Modern Myths still finds ways to help aspiring creators improve their talents.
“We have a Comic Creators Group that meets the first Tuesday of every month from 7-9 p.m. “says Gendreau. “We have an entire ‘event space’ above the store reserved for things like that.”
And it’s not just the nurturing of creative talent that makes Modern Myths innovative either. A quick look at their website shows that they have three female staff members who are avid comic book and game geeks. This is quite impressive for a hobby that consistently has a “boys only” stigma.
Unfortunately, despite the new influx of creative talent, some people believe comics are slowly dying out as a medium.
One development that met with mixed reactions from fans was a decision by DC Comics in September to cancel their entire line of books and release just 52 titles,  new volumes featuring familiar characters, with “#1” stamped in big bold letters on the cover.
When asked if he felt the comic book industry was in its death throes, Gendreau had a much more positive outlook than most cynics.
“I think it’s still prospering,” he said. “The new company wide re-launches for DC and Image especially have helped us bring in new customers:”
It seems that despite what some of the naysayers and cynics have said on various internet blogs,  comic mythology is alive and well. With new fans and potential creators discovering the medium everyday, comic’s brightest days may lie ahead.
For more information on Modern Myths, visit their website at modern-myths.com.

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