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"Best Comic Store" 2002-2017

Thanks San Francisco Bay Guardian readers! XOXOX

Comic Making Classes @ Isotope University

Since 2011 the Isotope has hosted a series of comic making classes designed to ensure success in the comics industry for students. Our recent focus has been on classes for kids but later this summer we will be hosting two new classes for adults, WRITING FOR COMICS and BOOKBINDING COMICS. More info on these in July.

(Current classes held for SF Girl Scouts)

Click here for more info

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Phoenix Forever Rising

The hardest part about running a (more wildly busy than we could have ever hoped for) small business with a teeny-tiny crew is all of the things you just can’t get around to like you used to be able to in the early years. The reason the Isotope exists is to put Good Comics in people’s hands, from popular titles like SAGA and AVENGERS, rarely seen delights like GIRL IN DIOR and VIOLETTE AROUND THE WORLD, upcoming books from unique creators like HEATHEN and PASHMINA, vintage and slightly obscure masterpieces like ARKWRIGHT INTEGRAL and ENIGMA, and truly obscure treasures like MUNCHIES and SMOKE & GUNS. More than anything we want to bring each person who comes through the front door a unique one-on-one experience and, no matter how knowledgable they are are or not, help them discover their next favorite graphic novel or series.

Each year the shop’s reputation grows and people from all walks of life from all over the planet visit the Isotope for just that. Truly a dream come true!

But with the shop always buzzing it makes keeping up with things like backroom alphabetizing, social media feeds, overstuffed in-boxes, and annoying things stuff like website server glitches a harder and harder proposition. Recently the shop’s site went down for 6 days when our webhost got hacked. “Well, since everyone is glued to their Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, and all the important stuff can be found there or on Google Small Business and Yelp, sadly no one really uses the Isotope site very much these days.” Imagine our surprise to find out quite the opposite! We got so many nice emails and phone calls about the site being down in those 6 days I was truly flabbergasted. Wow, okay. Thank you for letting us know!

On a personal note, if there’s one thing I really miss about the early years of shop, it’s having the time to feature cool upcoming books we’re excited about and celebrating San Francisco and writing on the store’s blog. We’ve got a bunch of cool events, and another round of Isotope University classes, we’ve been cooking up for you all coming up this summer. And have a few upcoming series we want to share with folks. Definitely looking forward to all of that. So… since the people are still out there wondering what’s going on here and what we’re into… let’s see if we can squeeze in some more of that writing on the store’s (still gorgeous) website. That’ll be a nice way to celebrate the store’s birthday.

Like Jean Grey rising from the Jamaica Bay – Phoenix Forever Rising.

Happy Small Business Week

We’re truly blessed to be a small business here in SF’s gorgeous Hayes Valley for so many years.

Come celebrate another wonderful San Francisco Small Business Week with us!

Celebrate Those You Love, San Francisco!

Check out that great Irene Koh LEGEND OF KORRA art she did on a lid recently for our Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum! What better image to get us all in the mood for sharing a little love?!

And what’s not to love about San Francisco? A city of magic and delight, dreams and dreamers, populated by passionate personalities and hard working folks with a dedication to sharing their affections with us all. We are honored to get to be a part of the amazing scene of unique cultures and small businesspeople that make San Francisco truly special. And once a year we get to celebrate all those fabulous denizens, wild visionaries, indie businesses, and awesome characters that make this city so great in the SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay reader’s poll. So don’t be shy, San Francisco… join us in embracing these amazing people and places we all love here in the greatest city on Earth. I can definitely tell you how much it means to my fellow small indie businesspeople and SF personalities. Let’s show them some love and let them know how much it means to us to have them around!

Celebrate those you love, San Francisco! Vote here:
SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2017

As is tradition, here’s some of mine and the Isotope family’s personal favorites:


Best Street Fair – BYO Big Wheel
Best Hotel – SF Sleep
Best Tour – The Dashiell Hammett Tour
Best Event or Venue for Kids – Circus Center San Francisco
Best Nonprofit – Lava Mae Mobile Showers
Best Local Website – www.sfbg.com
Best Locally Produced TV Show – Check, Please!
Best Radio Station – Radio Valencia
Best Tattoo Parlor – Dream Masters Custom Tattoos
Best Local Animal Rescue – Rocket Dog Rescue
Best Pet Groomeing – All Creatures Healing Network
Best Veterinarian – Dr. Rao @ Nob Hill Cat Clinic
Best Dentist – Doctor Butler @ Eco Dental Oakland
Best Auto Mechanics – Jack Schroll @ Mostly Mustangs
Best Bicycle Repair – Matt Aimes @ Market Street Cycles
Best Salon – Hair of the Gods
Best Hairstylist – Donnelle @ Hair of the Gods
Best Massage – Justin Hall Massage
Best Local Sports Team – Bay Area Derby Girls All Stars Team


Best New Restaurant – Barcino
Best Splurge Restaurant – Pläj Scandinavian Restaurant & Bar
Best Late-Night Restaurant – Sauce
Best Romantic Restaurant – Flour + Water
Best Food/Drink Festival – Domingo de Piña @ Smuggler’s Cove
Best Farmers’ Market – Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market
Best Vegetarian – Greens Restaurant
Best Pizza – Patxi’s Pizza
Best Sandwiches – Fatted Calf
Best Burritos – Gordo Taqueria
Best Burgers – Finn Town Tavern
Best Barbecue – Rusty’s Southern BBQ
Best Bowl of Noodles – Nojo Ramen
Best Soul Food – Brenda’s French Soul Food
Best Indian – Little Delhi Restaurant
Best Mexican – Nido
Best Thai – Jitlada Thai
Best Breakfast – Brown Sugar Kitchen
Best Brunch – Straw SF
Best Lunch – Lunchpad
Best Ice Cream – Smitten Ice Cream
Best Coffee Roasters – Ritual Coffee
Best Cup of Tea – KitTea Cat Cafe
Best New Bar – Ginger’s
Best Bartender – Keli Rivers @ Whitechapel
Best Dive Bar – Molotov’s
Best Swanky Bar – Smuggler’s Cove
Best Gay Bar – The Eagle
Best Bar Staff – Smuggler’s Cove
Best Butcher Shop – Fatted Calf
Best Cheese Shop – Cheese School of San Francisco
Best Chocolatier – Christopher Elbow


Best Movie Theater – The Roxy Theater
Best Rep Film House – Castro Theatre
Best Museum – Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum
Best Art Gallery – SF MOMA
Best Dance Company – Solar Flare Fire Dancing
Best Theater Company – SF Oasis
Best Performance Space – SF Jazz
Best Film Festival – Noir City
Best Arts Festival – SF ZineFest
Best Music Festival – NoisePop
Best Book Publisher – Viz Comics
Best Record Label – Prank Records
Best Band – Chrome
Best Singer / Songwriter – Bob Mould
Best DJ – DJ Bearzbub
Best Live Music Venue – Bottom of the Hill
Best Overall Nightlife Venue – DNA Lounge
Best Overall Dance Party – Breakfast of Champions
Best Rock Club – Thee Parkside
Best Jukebox – Molotov’s
Best Overall Queer Party – SF Pride
Best Drag Show – It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere Drag King Revue
Best Drag Queen – D’Arcy Drollinger
Best Burlesque – The Devil-Ettes
Best Comedian – Drew Platt
Best Literary Night – Lunada Literary Lounge


Best Store Staff – Nancy Boy
Best Overall Bookstore – Borderlands Books
Best Used Bookstore – Green Apple Books
Best Comic Book Store – Isotope
Best Record Store – Thrillhouse Records
Best Women’s Clothing Store – Acrimony
Best Men’s Clothing Store – Jake
Best Local Designer(s) – Jake Wall
Best Shoe Store – Fluevog
Best Hardware Store – Cole Hardware
Best Toy Store – Heroes Club / Art of Toys
Best Bike Shop – Market Street Cycles
Best Gift Shop – Aloha Warehouse
Best Sporting Goods – DLX Skateboards
Best Sweets / Chocolate Shop – Christopher Elbow
Best Newsstand – Fog City News
Best Place to Buy Lingerie – Dark Garden Corset Shop

Please do feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section below, I always want to know about the amazing people and places that we might be missing out on! And check out our recommendations from previous years too for even more people and places to love in SF. Join us in showing our favorite locals some love, we’re on the final week of voting, so don’t delay on getting your voices heard! On behalf of all of the small business folks here in SF… thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping keep our city the magical and delightful place that it is!

SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2017


Isotope proudly presents the amazing Irene Koh, artist of the upcoming series of absolutely gorgeous graphic novels LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS!

We here at the Isotope were already fans of the anime, and were doubly thrilled to hear that the new trio of graphic novels weave an epic coming out love story amid the backdrop of a world where corporate greed has fueled political chaos and societal oppression. Truly a tale for our times.

And who among us hasn’t been waiting for Korra and Asami’s first date?!

Irene’s love of these characters, and martial arts, really explodes from the pages and one only has to read these great interviews with Irene to know how special this dream project written by series co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino is for her.

Let us invite you to a rare Sunday event at the Isotope, for an intimate afternoon with us and Irene. Come get your comics sketched / signed, soak up the adoration of all things LEGEND OF KORRA, be awed by Irene’s jaw-dropping artwork and be inspired by her truly wonderful breaking-into-comics story.

This is what it is all about, people.

Irene Koh @ Isotope
Sunday, July 30th 2017
Noon – 3pm
Isotope’s Harassment Policy

Ed Luce + SF Pride

Join us in celebrating SF Pride Month with one of our most favorite comic creators of all… WUVABLE OAF‘s Ed Luce!

We’ve been championing this amazing comic series since way back in 2007, and we couldn’t be happier to get to have Ed back in for another official event.

Ed will be sketching and signing his two brilliant body-positive bear-is-beautiful hardcover volumes WUVABLE OAF (back in print!) and WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL. And also the oh-so elusive brand new flipbook issue WUVABLE OAF #5 (are we still the only shop with these? We might be.)! We’ve also dug up a few copies of HENRY & GLENN FOREVER AND EVER #1 which features a fantastic Ed Luce love story featuring the cutest couple in all of comics, Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig.

And what better way to do an Ed Luce event than with a rare turn of events… we’re also stocking a bunch of variant covers featuring Ed’s art, including the Robin Hood and his band of badass queer outlaws comic MERRY MEN #1 and also Ed’s contribution to Image Comics celebrated #Pride Variant Covers, DEADLY CLASS #29 and REDNECK #3! Now we’ll admit that we’re a bit biased but objectively these are the two best ones of all of these variants, right?! Totally! Also, hey Ed, how do we get one of those great t-shirts?!

Looking forward to seeing you all!

David Petersen @ Isotope

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event at comic shops the planet over. And here at the Isotope our FCBD celebrations are the stuff of legend. As is tradition, we will once again be serving up San Francisco’s most glorious and massive smorgasboard of absolutely free comic reads for comic lovin’ kids of all ages. And this year is sure to be our best yet!

Isotope proudly presents David Petersen, author-artist the the insanely popular MOUSE GUARD series!

Each year during this annual event Mister Petersen wows the masses with the very best book on offer and this year will follow that grand tradition! An all-new MOUSE GUARD story is the jewel in the 2017 FCBD crown, with an original coming-of-age story about a pair of young furs who learn a valuable lesson from a grizzled guardmouse on what it truly means to be a hunter, featured in the BOOM! STUDIOS FCBD SUMMER BLAST. We couldn’t be more honored to have him in!

This years’ festivities will include an all-ages day-long autographing session from 11am until 4pm and also a live slideshow presentation by Mister Petersen himself at 4pm. Afterwards there may be some additional signing and 1-on-1 time with fans. And for the over-21 set we will have a casual, short cocktail hour from 8pm until 10pm.

Mister Petersen will be signing all of his amazing MOUSE GUARD comics for you, his WIND IN THE WILLOWS hardcover, as well as other cool MOUSE GUARD things like the amazing MOUSE GUARD ROLE PLAYING GAME.

This day-long celebration also features San Francisco’s very own DJ BEARZBUB, spinning his favorite blend of exotic b-sides, booty shaking nöise, and rare beats to keep your Free Comic Day shopping grooving. We love the Bearzbub!

Also returning on staff for the day will be the amazing Katie Longua author/artist of MUNCHIES, KNOW YOURSELF ANATOMY ADVENTURE SERIES, and the chiptunes LP comic HER SPACE OPERA. Josh Richardson author of Scholastic Books’ RATCHET & CLANK: OFFICIAL GUIDE BOOK. And also our latest beloved staff addition, Kate Mattingly of the Miradori Tumblr.

With such a great day lined up, and our commitment to the most generous, no-limit, can’t-find-anywhere-else explosion of free reads in SF, we do ask that you keep in mind that here at the Isotope we believe Free Comic Book Day is all about the kids, and even the mighty Isotope’s supplies are limited, so before you over-indulge yourselves, remember… every free comic you scoop up is one the kids can’t. So please be nice to the kiddos. Thanks in advance.

And… knowing the popularity of Mister Petersen and also our FCBD extravaganzas we know some folks will want to come in from out of town to attend this event. So the Isotope will be partnering with a couple of our favorite nearby San Francisco hotels to make your stay here in San Francisco a great one. We will be posting these accommodations information in the next couple weeks.

FCBD 2017 with David Petersen. This is going to be a big one.

Book your vacations today!

Interview with ComicBook.com

It’s been awhile since I’ve agreed to do an interview but when the fine folks at ComicBook.com reached out to do a feature on the Isotope recently I jumped at the opportunity to talk to the people from one of my all-time favorite comic news sites. Columnist Chase Magnett did not disappoint and sent me some of the best questions I’ve gotten in years!

The creative juices started flowing and Chase and I ended up with a pretty extensive interview going about comics, the Isotope, and the funnybook industry. The interview ended up being pretty far beyond the scope of the intended feature… so we’re doing a team-up! You can check out the great store feature over on ComicBook.com and also the full interview Chase and I did here.

FEATURE: Isotope Store Spotlight on ComicBook.com

Once you’ve read that check out our full interview after the picture of Kirsten…

How do you characterize the goal of your shop and has that changed from when it was established?

I opened the Isotope back in 2001 (along with Isotope co-owner Kirsten Baldock) with a simple, elegant mission statement — to represent comics to the world as the revolutionary art form that it is.

16 years ago I was bartending in these gorgeous swanky bars, buying lots of comics and loving where the industry had evolved to. As a life-long comic fan I followed that evolution in the pages of the books I collected and read. I loved seeing where it was heading and thinking about where it had the potential to go in the future. I followed it all. From my early comic reading years of both the vintage stuff and the Jim Shooter era of Marvel, the early years of Fantagraphics and Slave Labor Graphics and the black and white indie comics explosion, the dawn of comics’ British Invasion and the creation of Vertigo, the birth of the graphic novel industry, the mini-comics revolution, the first Manga reprints for Americans, the creation of Image Comics and up to the creator-owned tsunami that was only just beginning back then… I thought it was glorious what American comics had become. How diverse they were. How talented the creators were. And how exciting where we might be going was. The potential was awesome.

But at the dawn of the new millennium, the place that I thought the comics industry was falling short of potential was in the stores. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of great stores already and particularly here in the San Francisco Bay Area. But they were just… stores. I wanted to see the comic store evolve into swanky lounges, sexy galleries, schools and workshops for the next generation. Why hadn’t anyone created a comic store that was specifically made to act as tour guide for all these new readers coming in? Why were the stores ignoring women customers? Why weren’t they as much art gallery and a cultural meeting place as a shop, that celebrated the artform like it was ART? That really frustrated Kirsten and I. And so we finally just decided to do it ourselves.

So representing comics to the world as the revolutionary art form that it is, that’s the mission statement. That was our goal when we first opened the front door and remains our goal five thousand, seven hundred and fifty some-odd days later.

What do you think the most interesting aspect of your store’s history is?

Over the years I guess I’m most proud of our support for new creators. For 10 years we hosted the Isotope Award For Excellence In Mini-Comics, which celebrated the art of handmade xerox comics and gave us an excuse to help promote one of the more unsung corners of the comics industry. Over that decade we helped half a dozen creators find their first publishers and also gave out the sexiest trophy the comics industry has ever seen. Eventually the project kind of ran its course with creators having so many options to get their work out to the world now since the rise of webcomics, digital publishing, and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. But who knows? maybe we’ll bring the Isotope Award back in a new form sometime.

More recently, well we started in 2011 so I guess that’s not very recent anymore, we started the Isotope University to teach new creators how to make comics. We’ve had some pretty incredible folks teaching classes here, Ed Luce (WUVABLE OAF), Alex Woolfson (YOUNG PROTECTORS) and the legendary Devin Grayson who wrote probably the best BATMAN comics of the 1990s.

Last year we started working with the San Francisco Girl Scouts with our teacher Kelly Martin (DOCTOR LOLLIPOP) and seeing those girls get so excited to be making comics of their own honestly brings a tear to my eye whenever I think about it.

So to me that’s the most interesting part. Over the years lots of famous comic creators got their start right here at the Isotope, we’ve inspired a lot of really talented people, and we’ve gotten to help a lot of new creators get started. It’s made a real impact on the landscape of the industry and that’s a legacy I’m really happy to have.

What is one thing your store does that sets it apart from others?

What sets the Isotope apart is that taking a different approach to comics retail is just in the DNA of the store. If you’ve studied chemistry you’ll know that an isotope is a element, just like any other element, but with a molecular difference that makes it much more dynamic (and we all know that radioactivity creates superheroes). That’s how we approach what we define as a “comic store.” Yes, it sounds corny, but the Isotope is different on a molecular level.

We opened the Isotope so that I, personally, could help people find the right comics to read… if you go to the Isotope you’re going to find me there doing just that. I work the shop and run the register almost every single day of the week. And I’ve worked almost every single one of those five thousand, seven hundred and fifty some-odd days we’ve been open. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been reading comics for 5 days or 50 years, I’m here to find you something that you will love. That’s what I do.

I should say that the Isotope isn’t going to be the perfect store for everybody. We don’t sell toys, Pokemon cards, t-shirts, DVDs, key chains or Doctor Who socks. I like those things, I’m wearing some Doctor Who socks at this very minute, but that’s just not what we do. And we don’t sell vintage comics or variant cover editions or books about comics.

We carry new comics, graphic novels and mini-comics. And that’s it. That is the beauty of it. We sell comics! We sell graphic novels! We sell mini-comics!

And if you come into the shop and ask, I’ll help you find the perfect comic or mini-comic or graphic novel for you.

How would you characterize your current reader base and has that changed in the past 10 years?

There’s a MASSIVE new culture for comics right now. And we’ve had some seriously explosive growth over that past decade. Probably 60% of my customers these days are people who have been reading graphic novels for less than 5 years. It’s astounding!

I think it was initially caused by creators and publishers just making great new stuff, and then new shops like mine taking a new approach to welcoming new people into our world. People will always gravitate towards things that are good, and honest, and created with true passion. And that is absolutely the kind of comics that are being made right now. Good, honest, passionate art. From there the media discovered what was happening, and then the Hollywood executives. Digital distribution has been incredible for bringing new people into the industry too, so thanks for that David and John and all the folks at Comixology, who have made standing at the point where digital and analog meet both simple and synergistic. The past 10 years have been everything the most optimistic and forward-thinking of us could have hoped for, and so much more. And as long as my industry keeps making wonderful things it will keep growing and growing.

With all these new people coming into the industry as both readers and creators… it really is the most fun thing ever to be working in comics right now.

What are the most important elements in creating a successful comic store and community to you? How do you make this happen at your store?

The most important thing in any business is you have to have a vision, endless passion, the tenacity to see it through despite all odds, and most of all you really have to LOVE IT. You have to love it so hard that your love for what you do seeps from your every pore and infects everything around you.

Look, you’re going to put everything into bringing your business to life. Every day, every dollar, every dream. So give it your all. And aim high. Make it revolutionary! Make it legendary! Make it gorgeous! Make it take people’s breath away! Set the bar for yourself insanely high and just keep jumping for it. With everything you have. Every single day. And never forget to raise everyone around you up with you. Inspire them and support them to achieve their wildest dreams.

Next, now that you’ve built your dream and you’re helping others to do the same, you have the spark of a great community. Even if you don’t know it yet, you’ve already got people talking about it and checking the scene out. And now you’ve got to *entertain* them!

Go ahead and do everything and anything that sounds fun. Give people a reason to pull themselves away from their Netflix and give them something to be excited about. Throw a launch party, start a comic store bowling league, do a comic art jam with the local artists, invite in a classroom of kids, take a busload of people to Great America with a comic creator, do a wine and cheese and comics pairing. Whatever sounds fun is worth doing. We’ve done so many of those things and so many other ridiculous ideas. Have some fun with it!

Just last weekend I had the Marvel Studios folks in to promote the DOCTOR STRANGE movie and give out lots of free swag to my customers. I’m a lifelong fan of the character so I thought that would be a fun thing to do. But why stop there? So we also had in Devin Grayson, the author of the recently released DOCTOR STRANGE: THE FATE OF DREAMS novel, and also Mia Mardikian, the developer of the PACIFIC RIM TAROT DECK to do free tarot readings for people. Really magical, our customers loved it and I had a fun time too.

There are no limits to the kind of crazy, creative ideas you can invent to entertain your community and you shouldn’t be shy about trying all of them. You’re not working a factory line, this is the *comics* business and the comics business should be full of art and ideas and fun! If you’ve been reading comics all your life you probably have a hundred cool ideas that no one else has done yet already bouncing around in your head. Excellent! Do those! Do all of those! If you are passionate about your ideas, committed to making your community something special, and are raising the hopes and dreams of those around you, people will hear about your community and want to be part of it.

And remember… comic readers are wonderfully loyal to the books they love and the shops they frequent. So give them a shop they can be proud of. If you’re building your business remember that it’s low-class to try to build your customer base by poaching customers from other shops. Build your own customer base by targeting the customers everyone else is ignoring. And make them the greatest customer base the comics industry has ever seen.

That’s how to build the kind of successful comics community that you can truly be proud of.

What do you expect from the future of your store?

Honestly, I’m mostly just looking forward to getting to put more good comics in cool people’s hands. It’s really the best thing. And tomorrow I’ll be doing just that!

But on a more macro scale… I want to continue to do more crazy collaborations with more wildly creative comic people. I want to share more knowledge with more future comic creating superstars. I want to inspire more little kids and big kids to make amazing comics and follow their wildest dreams just like I have. I want to teach the Girl Scouts and the Retirement Homes and the Automobile Clubs and the Steel Workers Unions and the Whomever Elses how to tell their stories through comics. I want to make more friends with more people through our shared love of comics. I want to express more unique ideas and watch them grow far beyond my control until they’re something that just everyone does because that’s just how it is done now. I want to continue finding new ways to spread the love of comics with the people out there who I know would like them if they only had the right book or the right tour guide.

And I want to read more amazing comics! And then I just want to help people find the right ones for them.

Could you share a favorite story about the toilet lid art? I’m particularly fond of this great collection.

Haha! The Isotope is home to the world famous Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum, which features original art from comic creators from all over the planet. A few of our most recent additions to the museum are lids from Greg Rucka (WONDER WOMAN), Bryan Lee O’Malley (SCOTT PILGRIM), Gabriel Bá (UMBRELLA ACADEMY), Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), Brian K Vaughan (SAGA). The museum itself was started kind of by accident by Isotope pal Rick Remender (TOKYO GHOST) and a slightly alcohol-infused Brian Wood (NORTHLANDERS). Since we require the creators to come into the Isotope to get a lid, each one tends to have a great, personal story behind it. And I’ll tell you, it’s a very funny thing to see all the unexpected places that museum ends up getting featured. It’s a staple of French guidebooks, it’s been profiled by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and had a huge write-up in a recent Singapore Airlines in-flight magazine, which always cracks me up to think about!

There are way too many hilarious stories to share about this museum, but…

My personal favorite story relating to this museum is from when we first had our dear friend Darwyn Cooke (DC: THE NEW FRONTIER) in for an event. Dar and Marsha and Kirsten and I all hit it off so great. We painted the town red and closed the bars every night while they were here. And in all the madness and fun of that week I totally forgot to offer Darwyn Cooke a lid! Of course, those folks who know Dar won’t be surprised to hear this at all, he called me a couple weeks later to give me a hard time about it. (laugh)!

Later, when Darwyn was drawing PARKER: THE HUNTER, we went and stayed with them on vacation for a week. The Cookes had rented this great little bungalow near Tampa to escape the snow and to soak up some of that vintage west shore Florida vibe. You can definitely feel it in the work, that whole Don CeSar Beach House style comes through his art, especially in that first PARKER book. Anyway, one morning while we were staying there… Darwyn surprised me by presenting me with this *gorgeous* CATWOMAN art on a toilet lid! Dar laughed with a wicked grin and pointed, “Hey… have fun being the weird guy carrying a *toilet lid* on the airplane back to California!”

You would not believe the crazy looks I got going through airport security with that thing! And people stopping me to ask why I was walking around with a toilet seat in my hands! Pretty much every single employee of the Tampa airport had something to say about it. Can you imagine what it’s like to try to get lunch at the airport bar and having that thing with you?! So funny. (LAUGH) Oh man, do I miss Darwyn! ((raises a glass))

Wuvable Oaf Launch Party 2016!

We’re sure you’ll agree with us when we say there just is no comic cooler than Ed Luce‘s WUVABLE OAF. Here at the Isotope the Cult of Oaf has been championing this amazing indie comic since way back in 2007, and we couldn’t be happier to see publisher Fantagraphics Books is sending out 2016 with a message, and in high style, with the release of the all-new WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL hardcover!

Those of you who attended our previous WUVABLE OAF Launch Party know we go all-out for all things Oaf so it was inevitable we had something secret up our collective sleeves for Ed Luce’s latest release… the Isotope is going to throw the greatest party on Earth to celebrate… of course we are!

Join us for a rare December event and celebrate with us AMERICAN BEAUTY, WUVABLE OAF STYLE!

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Fellow hardcore Oaf fans may have heard that Ed Luce is sending out packs of limited-edition WUVABLE OAF GOTEBLÜD ENAMEL PINS to each of the coolest comic shops on Earth for your retailers to give to you free of charge… well, of course we have those and will be gifting them to you with every copy of WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL (while supplies last of course)!

But because the entire world knows that the greatest Oaf fans of all are here at the Isotope we have so much more for you! Just for you fine folks the WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL hardcover comes with an original ultra-limited edition, Isotope exclusive Ed Luce WUVABLE OAF GOTEBLÜD ART PRINT on acid-free/pH neutral 100% cotton rag paper. Absolutely free of charge! I’ve been calling this piece “The Goteblüd Of Oafly Delights.”

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This exclusive Oaf print is suitable for framing and can be proudly hung on the wall above your bed to impress and delight all potential suitors…

… or you can choose upgrade your copy of your hardcover book from the vanilla cover version other places carry with this as an exclusive dustjacket and your bookshelf can experience the true magnificence that is the WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL, ISOTOPE EDITION.

These Oaf prints were made exclusively for the Isotope and are available nowhere else on Earth. And they come absolutely free! Thanks Ed!

That’s all pretty amazing, right? It gets even better! Because Isotope is the home temple of all things WUVABLE OAF, Ed Luce teamed up with sculptor Erik Erspamer to create a very special gift for the Isotope’s Cult of Oaf, the ultra-limited OFFICIAL WUVABLE OAF GOTEBLÜD ISOTOPE GLOW-IN-THE-DARK OCCULT RITUAL PENDANT. Be the talk of the next party with this perfect totem for flaunting your allegiance to the Dark Oaf God and for all your Oaftanic Baptisms and Oafccult rituals!

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These pendants are *also* free of charge for Isotope customers with the WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL hardcover, as a “thank you” from creator Ed Luce for all the Isotope Faithful’s rabid support over the years. Amazing! We couldn’t be more honored to get to put this amazing Ed Luce / Erik Erspamer original artwork around your necks at this event.

The WUVABLE OAF: BLOOD & METAL Launch Party also features the Isotope’s own Kirsten Baldock crafting her original OAF-inspired beverage creations, and San Francisco icon DJ BEARZBUB spinning his unique brand of vintage metal classics, hot b-sides, rare grooves and booty shaking beats.

And, of course, our featured guest… Ed Luce!

This rare December launch party is definitely a can’t-miss event. Come and join us in raising a glass to everything WUVABLE and all things OAF, won’t you?

Ed Luce @ Isotope
Saturday, December 10th 2016
8pm – Midnight
21+ please
Isotope’s Harassment Policy

Justin Hall @ Isotope

Join us in welcoming back one of San Francisco’s most important (and nicest) comic creators, Justin Hall for the release of the long-awaited HARD TO SWALLOW graphic novel! Justin is a multiple Eisner-nominated cartoonist known for editing and collecting Fantagraphics Books’ NO STRAIGHT LINES: FOUR DECADES OF QUEER COMICS, the industry’s only historical collection of LGBTQ comics, curating the world’s first museum show devoted to LGBTQ cartooning, No Straight Lines: Queer Culture and the Comics at the Cartoon Art Museum, and for his role as one of the associate professors spearheading the MFA in Comics program at the California College of the Arts.

The HARD TO SWALLOW anthology series was created by Justin Hall and Dave Davenport in 2006 with a mission statement to feature fellow upcoming queer artists like BiL Sherman, Steve MacIsaac, Brad Rader, Drub, Jon Macy, and Victor Hodge and to feature erotic comics that were great stories as well as being sexy reads. Featuring hardcore pirates, naughty werewolves, exotic locales, and all the randy studs you could ask for.

Back in 2008 the Isotope did the launch party for issue #3 of the series (we still stifle a small laugh at the folks leaving comments on this Beat article) and not long afterwards this series went out of print and was potentially lost in the sands of time. But thanks to a fantastic Kickstarter campaign last year we can put it on our collective bookshelves at last!

Join us, the amazing DJ Bearzbub, our featured guest Justin Hall and a whole bunch of our friends (of a multitude of lifestyles and persuasions) in celebrating this great day for LGBTQ creators and the San Francisco comics scene!

Justin Hall @ Isotope
Featuring DJ Bearzbub
Saturday, July 30th
6pm – 8pm. 21+ por favor!

If you haven’t already, please read our Harassment Policy

Are You Ready for FCBD 2016?

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event at comic shops the planet over. And here at the Isotope our FCBD celebrations are truly the stuff of legend. Feast your eyes once again on San Francisco’s most glorious and massive smorgasboard of absolutely free comic reads for comic lovin’ kids of all ages!

For 2016 the Isotope is beyond proud to feature the incredibly talented brothers-in-arms team of Andrew Robertson (11 year old pixel artist) and Owen Robertson (14 year old pencil/ink artist)… sons of the incredible Darick Robertson of TRANSMETROPOLITAN and THE BOYS fame… and to get to host the world wide debut of the Robertson Brothers first ever books!

There’s not a doubt in our minds these guys are going to be taking the world of comics and video games by storm in the coming years, and we are sure you will agree. Check out the greatness:

From Andrew Robertson’s MY BOOK OF PIXEL ART sketchbook.

From Owen Robertson’s THERAPY FOR SATAN sketchbook.

Owen and Andrew will be selling their respective books, doing original sketches for the masses, and hanging out being the future rockstars that they are. We couldn’t be more excited to have them in this year for FCBD!

And because Free Comic Book Day has just gotten *so* busy here at the Isotope over the last few years we’ve actually had to bring in some additional help. We have some surprise “security” every year and we will be keeping up our annual secret “shop boy” tradition (2014 was SANDMAN OVERTURE artist JH Williams III and 2015 was EAST OF WEST artist Nick Dragotta). Every year there’s a lot of wild speculation as to who we could be bringing in to help us run the register and drop your collective jaws. Yep, I’m sure you’re scratching your head already, because this year is a real stumper (laugh)… just who could it possibly be?!

Keep your eyes on our Twitter accounts and Instagram for more details on our mystery staffers on the day of the event.

We are also featuring on staff the amazing Katie Longua author/artist of MUNCHIES, KNOW YOURSELF ANATOMY ADVENTURE SERIES, RÖK and the anthologies 1001 KNIGHTS and CHAINMAIL BIKINI. And also Josh Richardson author of the recently released RATCHET & CLANK: OFFICIAL GUIDE BOOK. And also our latest beloved staff addition, Kate Mattingly of the Miradori Tumblr.

With such a great day lined up for all of you, let me leave you with a final parting thought about what we think really makes FCBD so special…

We do indeed continue to have the most generous, high-stakes, no-limit, can’t-find-anywhere-else explosion of free reads in SF but we do ask that you keep in mind that here at the Isotope we believe Free Comic Book Day is all about the kids, and even the mighty Isotope’s supplies are limited, so before you over-indulge yourselves, remember… every free comic you scoop up is one the kids can’t. So please be sweet to the kiddos. Thank you kindly!


Here’s a list of the official releases: FCBD 2016 website
And please take a moment to read our Harassment Policy

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Saturday through Sunday

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