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"Best Comic Store" 12 years running!

Thanks San Francisco Bay Guardian readers!

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. This May is two new classes, WRITING FOR COMICS with Devin Grayson and MASTERING CROWDFUNDING with Alex Woolfson.

Current classes held for SF Girl Scouts

Click here for more info

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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Personality James Sime and the Isotope Staff
Brian K. Vaughan SAGA Celebration!

We’ve been quietly working on this one since last February and could not be more excited to finally get to announce it. And what an event to kick off 2015!

Brian K. Vaughan, author of SAGA, Y THE LAST MAN, PRIVATE EYE and more will be returning to the Isotope for the first time since 2004 for an epic event… two events, in fact! As SAGA is one of the most popular books in the entire industry we know his visit is going to be *very* popular and the Isotope staff wants you all to have a wonderful experience meeting him and for all to make amazing memories of Brian’s visit together. So we’ve decided on doing a duo of events to make everyone happy! First up is a daytime signing event for the under 21 crowd, and then an epic celebration later that evening for the folks who like our mix and mingle, bring-your-ID, after-dark events.

3pm – 6pm, Friday January 9th

An all-ages autographing session completely free of charge because we love you! As always the Isotope believes in crafting a unique experience with our signings, giving everyone a chance to sit down for some one-on-one time at the drafting table with your favorite creator. This is sure to be a popular signing and we definitely want everyone to get time to actually talk with Brian so we kindly ask that you bring no more than 3 items for him to sign. On behalf of all of us, thanks in advance!

8pm – Midnight, Friday January 9th

A 21+ event as only the Isotope can do! If you’ve been to an after-hours party at the Isotope before you know the great atmosphere and amazing crowd that will be turning out for this. This event has a casual backstage-after-the-show vibe and gives you all an opportunity to actually hang out and get to know Brian… the way we think an in-store appearance should truly be!

Each attendee of the SAGA AFTER-PARTY will be given, for free, our exclusive Brian K. Vaughan SAGA Cocktail Glass, an ultra-limited highball created exclusively for this event by BKV, Fiona Staples and the Isotope. We believe in making our events truly once-in-a-lifetime so these commemorative glasses the Isotope creates for attendees are truly rare, fewer than 200 are ever printed and afterwards we always destroy the screens and production is finished… available one night only and nowhere else on the entire planet ever again.

click to enlarge

This event also features some secret special guests we’re not allowed to talk about, Isotope’s entertainment alchemist Kirsten Baldock‘s original works, and San Francisco’s beloved best on the wheels of steel, DJ BEARZBUB, spinning his unique brand of SAGA-inspired exotic grooves, hot b-sides, booty shaking nöyze, and rare beats.

And, of course, our featured guest himself… Brian K. Vaughan!

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at this duo of special events and truly giving you an experience with Brian that you will never forget, let’s kick off the new year together!

Please read our Harassment Policy, thank you.

UPDATE: The SAGA AFTER-PARTY event is now at maximum capacity. Sorry to those who missed out. To the rest of you… see you there!

Expanded Holiday Hours

Happy holidays from your friends at the Isotope!

For all your sequential art pleasures this year, we’ve stocked up the shelves with goodness, expanded our hours over the holidays, all the gift certificates you could ever ask for (and yes, we can also do those over the phone, just call us), free gift wrapping and of course our one of a kind personal shopping experience to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones… or to celebrate Self Gifting Season!

And yes, next week’s new comics will be arriving here as always on Wednesday (check here on Monday for a list of what to expect). New comics on Christmas Eve? Now that’s a holiday tradition we can really get behind!

Also, in the tradition of the season, we want to show some love for people who we’re thankful for. And we’re kind of in love with this WONDER WOMAN Christmas card seen above that we discovered. It is by her wonderful (but uncredited) co-creator, Harry G. Peter, who drew every page of the iconic strip in both the monthly comics and the newspaper strips from her first appearance in December 1941 up through 1958. For those who have never read the original WONDER WOMAN comics here’s why we think you should. Thank you, Mister Peter, for your work and for co-creating one of the most enduring and truly important icons in all of comics.


Savage Dragon Celebration w/ Erik Larsen!

Celebrating a true milestone in comics… SAVAGE DRAGON issue 200 with legendary creator and Image Comics founder Erik Larsen!

Larsen will be rocking the Isotope drafting table, signing comics and doing free sketches. We will have three varieties of SAVAGE DRAGON issue 200, including the Kirby/Larsen variant and also those awesome blank covers for him to scrawl on.

This event will also be featuring several dozen pages of Erik’s massively over-sized original art to blow everyone’s collective minds. Wait till you see these! You definitely won’t want to miss this unique once-in-a-lifetime “Storytime with Erik Larsen!”

Best Comic Store 2014

Thank you San Francisco, for once again voting Isotope as your “Best Comic Store” in the SF Bay Guardian‘s Best of the Bay readers poll each and every single year since 2002. Especially in a city so famous for innovation, arts, culture, and style it is truly an honor to be celebrated as one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best independent businesses. We will endeavor to continue to live up to the incredible reputation you folks have helped bestow upon us!

And, from the bottom of our hearts, our sincerest thank you to the entire staff of the SF Bay Guardian, San Francisco’s legendary paper with truly the nicest staff. Often imitated but never duplicated, the Guardian has been huge supporters of comics, our local cartoonists and our diverse world of indie and outsider arts since 1966. You will be missed.

20 Coolest Comic Stores in America

The folks at the hugely popular pop-culture site Green Label have compiled a carefully crafted list of The 20 Coolest Comic Shops in America. Not only is the Isotope on this list but we’re pretty excited to see a couple fantastic retailers on there that we inspired to open up stores of their own too. We couldn’t be more proud to have helped make such a positive impact on our industry’s comic stores!

Here’s what Green Label folks have to say about the Isotope:

Feel free to take a seat on one of the plush couches at Isotope to flip through the comics you’re interested in buying. The San Francisco comic book store combines a lounge, original comic art gallery, and educational environment all in one place. In addition to their wide selection of comics and graphic novels, through their Isotope Comics University, they offer comic book classes to help those trying to launch a career in the field understand how to strengthen their existing story, effectively market their product, and embark on conventioneering — all with a small budget.

Hey, thanks Green Label! It’s nice to be recognized and to have such importance placed on a program here we really love. We are actively talking to new professors for our 2015 year of classes!

Copra: The Isotope Edition

We were so excited about Michel Fiffe‘s sensational comic we thought we’d do something special to celebrate!

The COPRA ISOTOPE EDITION is a gorgeous signed, numbered, exclusive bookplate, limited edition softcover graphic novel published by our friends at Bergen Street Press. Collecting the first six issues of Michel Fiffe’s critically acclaimed indie superhero revenge comic. 160 pages of full-color art on toothy cream-colored paper for $19.99. This edition is available only at the Isotope.

This exclusive limited edition is sure to go fast, so grab it while you can!

Check out more COPRA here.

APE AFTERMATH with Paul Pope

By the most popular or popular requests, the Isotope is proud to bring Alternative Press Expo 2014 weekend to a true climax with our second-of-two APE Aftermath bashes… with the multiple Eisner Award winning cartoonist, painter, multi-media artist, fashion designer, DJ, and true America icon Paul Pope!

Pope exploded on the scene with the new comics energy indie hit THB here in the states and the crazy-cool SUPER*TROUBLE in Japan. His work also includes the stunning BATMAN YEAR 100, HEAVY LIQUID, ESCAPO, 100%, and of course, the book we will be celebrating… BATTLING BOY and the released-that-very-week BATTLING BOY: THE RISE OF AURORA WEST.

Sure to be the talk of the weekend (who wouldn’t want to party with Paul Pope?!), our event features San Francisco’s famed spinner of tunes DJ Bearzbub and bespoke cocktails based on Paul’s comics by Kirsten Baldock. This is going to be a good one!

Paul Pope @ Isotope
Sunday, October 5th 2014
8pm – Midnight
21+ please

Harassment Policy

APE AFTERMATH 2014 also features the one and only Ed Piskor on Sunday 10/4 !

UPDATE: We’ve regretfully had to cancel this event. Paul is sick and had to fly back home. We will make this one up on another date, sorry to disappoint folks!

In the history of the Isotope we’ve never had to cancel an event before… but THIS flyer? THIS creator? It’s kind of perfect. (laugh)

APE AFTERMATH with Ed Piskor

The Isotope is honored to be kicking off our annual Alternative Press Expo APE AFTERMATH celebrations with Eisner Award nominee and New York Times best selling cartoonist Ed Piskor!

Known for his historical graphic novel explorations like the fictional look at the early world of computer hacking WIZZYWIG and also THE BEATS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY with comics legend Harvey Pekar, Piskor’s most recent works are exploding in popularity and also his most funky-fresh in the flesh boks to date… HIP HOP FAMILY TREE, documenting the birth and history of the early rap scene.

In honor of Mister Piskor we will be throwing a truly old school themed bash with SF’s own DJ Grandmaster Bearzbub getting the party jumping with the best pre-1986 bodyrocking beats and Mixologist Kirsten Baldock serving up her unique maxin’ and relaxin’ libations based on Piskor’s latest works. For your uprocking needs, be sure to prepare your crew with this great resource. And don’t be shy about to breaking out your freshest gear… we suggest your furry Kangol buckets, your favorite Puma track-suit, your Carrera Porsche 5620 shades, and your Adidas shell-toes. See you then, b-boys and b-girls!

Ed Piskor @ Isotope
Saturday, October 4th 2014
8pm – Midnight
21+ por favor

Harassment Policy

APE AFTERMATH 2014 also features the one and only Paul Pope on Sunday 10/5 !

Harassment Policy

There was a time when I didn’t think our little comic book shop needed to have a Harassment Policy. I was wrong. As a leader in the comics industry it’s up to folks just like us to step up and let our industry know what behavior is socially acceptable, and what is not. Here at the Isotope it is our goal to create an environment where everyone is treated with dignity, courtesy and respect – and I know that people who regularly attend our events, shop at the store, or know any member of our Isotope family even a little can be confident that if they tell us someone is behaving poorly we will ask that ill-mannered person to leave. But what of those people who are at the Isotope for their first time? Our industry is going through some radical changes and the Isotope wants to be part of a positive change for the better. So we’re putting this in writing.

The Isotope will not tolerate harassment of our guests of any kind. This includes unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited physical contact or attention, offensive verbal comments, inappropriate jokes or propositions, stalking, harassing photography or recording, or any other behavior which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended in regards, but not limited, to their race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, appearance, body type, color, creed, origin or simply who they are.

People who violate this policy will be given an official First Warning by either a member of our staff or any member of our community. This warning may be phrased in an official sounding capacity such as “that is a violation of Isotope’s Harassment Policy” or it may be phrased in a more casual manner such as, but not limited to, “that makes me uncomfortable” or “that is inappropriate” and even “hey not cool, man.” These too are considered an official First Warning. There will be no Second Warning. If the behavior does not change, the offending party will simply be told they need to leave and be politely escorted out.

We realize that even the best of humans are flawed, imperfect beings, and with so many of our visitors coming from different parts of the world and walks of life, that some cultural differences may occur. And different people might have conflicting definitions of what “harassment” is. So everyone here is afforded the chance to correct a social faux pas. But you won’t get two. Those who can’t muster up the decency to respect each other, our community, the Isotope and also themselves just aren’t welcome. Officially.

And because the Isotope is *your* community as well as ours, we deputize each and every one of you to take part in the enforcement of this policy. Which means that your Harassment Policy warning is just as official as mine is. In the event of an uncomfortable or awkward situation we still ask that all parties treat everyone at the Isotope with the kindness and respect they are due as fellow human beings. Even if they are jerks.

Our policy applies to all guests, including featured creators and also ourselves and staff. And even the music we play. Simply, if it’s gotta go, then it’s gotta go. This Harassment Policy is in effect at the Isotope always and forever. We will be adding a link to this post on every special event we announce so that this policy is clear to one and all.

Let’s work together, like Zan and Jayna, to co-activate our Wonder Twin powers for a better world of comics! The Isotope has grown over the years as people and an entity, and we will continue to evolve for the betterment of ourselves, our community and the greater comics industry. So let’s join forces… my fellow comic fans, fellow retailers and industry leaders… for a higher community standard and a greater, more welcoming comics industry for all.

Thank you to all of you for helping us build and better our amazing Isotope community.

UPDATE: I’ve had several folks ask me about this policy and a couple express dismay to hear we “need something like that.” We’ve literally only had to toss out two people in the last eight years for their rude behavior, so you folks can decide if this policy is something we needed or not. But it’s clear to me, given the current state of such things in our changing industry, that we all need to take time out to think about what each of us can do to make the entire world of comics a more welcoming place for everyone. And if the Isotope can make one tiny ripple to help contribute to the tsunami that shifts how we as an industry all treat each other? Then this is a ripple worth making. It is my hope that eventually the whole comics industry agrees such things would be helpful and decides they need to create and/or refine their own official Harassment Policies too.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

Celebrate Those You Love, San Francisco

That gorgeous Will Sliney artwork from Marvel Comics’ FEARLESS DEFENDERS above really just fills your heart with smiles, doesn’t it? (sigh) I loved that series.

Speaking of things we love, it’s time to give a little thanks to the wonderful San Francisco Bay Area and to take a moment to celebrate what makes it such a fantastic place to live… it’s time to vote in the SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay reader’s poll. As much as the city changes, it’s great knowing that there are still so many of the businesses, personalities, places to go, and unique events that continue to make SF special. Let’s show those folks we adore them, they will no doubt appreciate being told how much it means to us to have them around. So join us, dear friends, in honoring the people and places that make our home the greatest city on Earth.

Celebrate those you love, San Francisco! Vote here:

SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2014

Here’s some of mine and the Isotope family’s personal favorites:


Best Street Fair – BYO Big Wheel
Best Hotel – SF Sleep
Best Tourist Attraction – Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
Best Tour – Localite Foodie Walking Tours
Best Event or Venue for Kids – Chabot Space and Science Center
Best Overall Website – sfbg.com
Best Style Website – Curbed SF
Best Nonprofit Organization – Build SF
Best Locally Produced TV Show – Check Please!
Best Radio Station – Radio Valencia
Best Tattoo Parlor – Body Manipulations
Best Tattoo Artist – Tex
Best Local Animal Rescue – Rocket Dog Rescue
Best Pet Groomer – All Creatures Healing Network
Best Veterinarian – Dr. Rao @ Nob Hill Cat Clinic
Best Alternative Healing – Jaden Rose Holistic Bodywork
Best Motorcycle Repair – TokyoMoto
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 Gym – Live Fit Hayes Valley
Best Amateur Sports Team – Bay Area Derby Girls
Best Public Sports Facility – Trapeze Arts Oakland
Best Beach – Baker Beach
Best Public Park – Golden Gate Park
Best Campground – Point Reyes
Best Park for Dogs – SoMa West Skate Park and Dog Play Park
Best Skate Spot – SoMa West Skate Park and Dog Play Park
Best Surf Spot – Ocean Beach
Best Place to Watch the Sunset – Camera Obscura of SF


Best New Restaurant – Papito West Mexican Restaurant
Best Splurge Restaurant – Opaque
Best Late-Night Restaurant – Sauce
Best Romantic Restaurant – First Crush
Best Food/Drink Festival – Domingo de Piña @ Smuggler’s Cove
Best Food Truck – Cosmic American Voodoo Van
Best Farmers Market – Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market
Best Pizza – Patxi’s Pizza
Best Sandwiches – Fatted Calf
Best Burritos – Gordo Taqueria
Best Burgers – Jardiniere (shhh… it’s a secret!)
Best Barbecue – T-Rex
Best Sushi – Nojo Sushi
Best Seafood – Oyster Happy Hour @ Waterbar
Best Soul Food – Brenda’s French Soul Food
Best Indian – Chutney
Best Mexican – Nido
Best Thai – Jitlada Thai
Best Vegetarian – Greens Restaurant
Best Breakfast – Lunchpad
Best Brunch – Straw SF
Best Lunch – B Restaurant @ Yerba Buena
Best Appetizers – Alligator Tail @ Boxing Room
Best Dessert – PB&J @ Sauce
Best Food/Drinks Website – EaterSF.com
Best Cup of Coffee – Blue Bottle Coffee
Best Cup of Tea – Samovar Tea Lounge on Page
Best New Bar – Muka Hayes Valley
Best Dive Bar – Molotov’s
Best Swanky Bar – Smuggler’s Cove
Best Wine Bar – Rosebowl Florist & Wine Bar
Best Brewery – Speakeasy
Best Creative Cocktails – Kirsten Baldock @ Isotope
Best Butcher Shop – Fatted Calf
Best Cheese Shop – Gourmet & More Store
Best Chocolatier – Christopher Elbow


Best Movie Theater – Kabuki Theater
Best Rep Film House – Vortex Room
Best Performance Space – SF Jazz
Best Film or Arts Festival – Noir City Film Fest
Best Museum – The Exploratorium
Best Art Gallery – Cartoon Art Museum
Best Artist or Collective – Comic Strip Club
Best Filmmaker – Jesse Kerman
Best Author – Jason McNamara
Best Zine – Wuvable Oaf
Best Publishing House – Image Comics
Best Arts or Music Website – brokeassstuart.com/sf
Best Record Label – Prank Records
Best Band – Deathtrap America
Best Singer-Songwriter – Bob Mould
Best DJ – DJ Bearzbub
Best Music Festival – San Francisco F*ckFest
Best Overall Dance Party – Breakfast of Champions
Best Rock Club – Thee Parkside
Best Jukebox – Tosca Cafe
Best Overall Queer Party – Pride Week
Best Gay Bar or Club – The Eagle
Best Lesbian Bar or Club – Lexington Club
Best Club for Trans People – Divas Nightclub
Best Drag Show – Daytime Realness
Best Drag King or Queen – Art Kahn
Best Burlesque Act or Show – Pickles Kintaro & the Hubba Hubba Review
Best Magician – Victor Van Scoit
Best Open Mic Night – The Riptide
Best Literary Night – Writers With Drinks


Best Overall Bookstore – Borderlands Books
Best Used Bookstore – Green Apple Books
Best Comic Book Store – Isotope
Best Magazine Selection – Kayo Books
Best Record Store – Grooves Inspiralled Vinyl
Best Clothing Store (Women) – Acrimony
Best Clothing Store (Men) – Artful Gentleman
Best Local Designer – Autumn Adamme
Best Shoe Store – Gimme Shoes
Best Furniture Store – Zonal Home Interiors
Best Toy Store – JPN Toys
Best Bike Shop – Market Street Cycles
Best Gift Shop – True Sake
Best Staff – Pirates Press
Best Quirky Specialty Store – Costumes on Haight
Best Sporting Goods – Purple Skunk Skate Shop
Best Flower Shop – Rosebowl Florist & Wine Bar
Best Place to Buy Fetish Gear – 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. Don’t delay on making your voice heard, voting ends on Wednesday, September 24th.

SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2014

UPDATE: I added a couple more great businesses to this list on 9/23

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